Elephant scientist Caitlin O'Connell has been studying elephant behavior for nearly thirty years, and has written dozens of scientific papers along with many feature magazine articles about elephants. Her new book, Wild Rituals: 10 Lessons Animals Can Teach Us About Connection, Community, and Ourselvesexplores our connection to animal rituals and how understanding them can help us improve our connections with others. She kindly let us run the following storyboarding narrative, which details one of the beautiful elephant rituals she has witnessed:
The air was still in the late afternoon as I waited for elephants to appear on the horizon. From the vantage of our research tower in the middle of the Namibian scrub desert, it often felt as if I were perched on the observation deck of an old three-masted schooner, looking for whale spouts in an empty expanse. Just as it was for a mariner, the horizon was visible in all directions. The only thing different was the color palette of drab grey rather than a rolling deep blue.
As a field scientist and science writer, I often take the opportunity to step outside the moment and ask myself what exactly it is that I'm seeing and feeling, and how my actions might appear to a outside observer, in order to better convey my experience to readers. These sensations in the moment help create a virtual reality experience for the reader. And my goal is to feed as much sensation as possible, without overloading the senses with too much information that would be confusing. Storyboarding each moment in my head as I write helps shape a narrative to be most effective.
There I was, hanging in the equivalent of a crow's nest on a great mast, feeling like Captain Ahab, commanding my crew to get set up for an encounter with a mighty beast. Only, for Ahab, the end goal was a treacherous whale hunt—and for me, it was the opportunity to collect detailed observations of a group of elephants.
In wet years, when elephant traffic tended to be low in the dry season, the only thing to breach the horizon were dust devils, like waterspouts spiraling across the flat bleak savannah after all the water had dried in ephemeral pools. There were several trees on the horizon that always tricked me into thinking that they were elephants having a dust bath. The illusion of dust being flung into the air by a grey elephant tree caught me every time, even though I told myself not to be fooled again, I couldn't help myself.
In dry years, however, the elephant traffic just before sunset was like clockwork, particularly after a very windy day, and this late afternoon was no different. Just as the sun hung low on the horizon, breaking the heat, the landscape softened from a harsh whitish grey to pastel pink and blue.
My arms spasmed from holding up my heavy binoculars just a little too long without a break, knowing the elephants could show up any minute. But my eyes were tired. And the dusting elephant trees were playing tricks on me again. Worse, due to the cooler air rolling in, the landscape had literally just turned on its head—a superior mirage at the edge of the horizon creating the illusion of trees floating upside down above the real ones. It was very disorienting.
I relaxed my shoulders and dropped my arms. I looked down at my chapped hands. And in that moment, I sensed movement out of the corner of my eye and lifted my binoculars again. There they were, grey boulders appearing on the edge of the clearing to the south, waiting for the opportune moment to break cover and head into the waterhole for a much-needed drink. Oftentimes there are too many families trying to come in for a drink, scrambling to be the first ones in.
For now, however, there was only one—a very small group. I could see from a large left upcurved tusk jutting sideways from one of the adult females that it was Left Hook, matriarch of the Boxers. I hadn't seen her since she split from her daughter's family the week before.
Families had been in splinters all season due to the high number of births from good rains two years prior. Given a gestation of twenty-two months, an increased birth rate tended to correlate with higher rainfall and more food a year or two before calves were born.
When it came time to give birth, pregnant family members had trouble keeping up with the rest of the family. They often broke into two or three smaller groups, where the immediate family would wait for their mother to give birth before rejoining the larger family that was led by the grandmother or great grandmother, or aunt.
When Left Hook and her small family group reached the middle of the clearing, there was a loud bellowing sound coming from the east. Suddenly, the forest erupted with elephants running into the clearing, causing Left Hook to momentarily pause, halfway to their much-needed drink.
Her family stood in a cluster rumbling and flapping their ears. This was strange as Left Hook was a dominant female in this region—why would she behave this way at the approach of another family, I wondered.
Then, I saw her daughter's inherited left hook, and it all started to make sense. Million Dollar Baby, Left Hook's daughter, and her family was poised to reunite with her mother. There was an added treat. Left Hook had a new baby that slipped my attention with all of the commotions. We were about to witness a christening ceremony, elephant-style. With much fanfare of ears waving back and forth, secreting from all orifices—temporal glands, bladders, and bowels—everything was flowing as the two families reunited with the presentation of the matriarch's new baby. It was one of those treasured moments in the bush—a storyboard panel to remember. But without the descriptions, the uninitiated would have no idea of what they were witnessing. My camera also helped reconstruct the moment and I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time to immortalize the momentous occasion.
Vampira is an icon of horror, fashion, and drama—but the woman behind the make-up was far more interesting. Maila Nurmi, the beautiful and sheltered daughter of Finnish immigrants, stepped off a bus in 1941 Los Angeles intent on finding fame and fortune. She found men eager to take advantage of her innocence and beauty but was determined to find success and love. A talented seamstress, she created a provocative Halloween costume that paved the way to a small role on the Red Skelton Show that then grew into a persona that brought her the notoriety she desired yet trapped her in a character she could never truly escape. This is Maila's story. Her diaries, notes, and ephemera, and family stories bring new insights into her relationships with Orson Welles, James Dean, and Marlon Brando. Sandra Nurmi—Malia's niece—fills in the nuances of her life before fame and her struggles after the limelight faded, as she found a new community within the burgeoning Los Angeles punk scene who embraced her as their own. Includes rare family photographs and revelations that will alter our understanding of Hollywood's legendary playboys.
The following excerpt contains the origin of Vampira.
He had to have her.
The station [KABC-TV in Los Angeles] had a slew of third-rate movies they wanted to package up for late-night viewing but were challenged as to how to present it. [Hunt] Stromberg [program director for KABC-TV] believed the cadaver girl who rocked the house at the Bal Caribe would be the perfect host to present the recycled horror flicks. So effusive were Stromberg's efforts to get the studio execs on board with his idea, they agreed to give the girl a shot—if they could find her. And that task fell to Stromberg.
Weeks, then months passed, and the girl's identity remained a mystery. Stromberg's superiors were on his tail with increasing urgency.
Stromberg was nervous. The name Stromberg was well known in town, thanks to his father, Hunt Stromberg, Sr., one of the most prolific producers in Hollywood history. At 23, Jr. had produced several plays on Broadway to a modicum of success. But now in Hollywood, even with the advantage of his pedigree, Stromberg Junior's quest proved difficult. Because the girl had been in costume, he wouldn't recognize her even if he were standing next to her on the street.
Still, Stromberg didn't give up, and finally, five months into his intensive search, he asked the right person: Rudi Gernreich.
"Do I know her? Of course I do," Gernreich said. "She's Maila Nurmi, the first woman in Southern California to wear backless shoes. She's in the phone book under Mrs. Dean Riesner."
On a blustery Ides of March in 1954, Maila rode the Red Car to meet with Stromberg at KABC on Prospect and Talmadge. Her haircut was short and blonde, and she'd dressed in black from head to toe: sweater, capris, flats, and cape.
Inside, she heard the secretaries' whispers. "That's Hunt's vampire girl."
Stromberg took a look at his girl ghoul sans makeup and was pleased. She was a beauty.
He explained that the studio was looking for a host to introduce a lineup of late-night horror films. They were interested in the Charles Addams character she'd portrayed at the Bal Caribe.
Here it was. The break Maila long worked for. Excited as she was, she was also curious as to who would portray the rest of Addams' cartoon family.
Stromberg's answer came as a shock. "We only want you." The proposed program was really just an experiment tethered to a skimpy budget. Maila asked if Addams would receive credit.
Stromberg's answer was clear. "No need to. These are horror films, not cartoons."
"Well then, I can't possibly do it," Maila said. "I can't infringe upon Charles Addams' creation."
Stromberg wanted Maila. Badly. He asked her if she could change up the character. "You could make her a vampire instead of a zombie." Maila asked for two weeks. Stromberg gave her four days.
The clock was ticking on her future as she rode the railway home. Ninety-six hours to come up with something so fantastical that, when the studio heads saw it, their eyeballs would pop out and roll across the floor. Nothing less would do.
I started by thinking what people said was inevitable, that being sex, death & taxes. Hunt wanted a vampire. So then I thought what about a sexy vampire. Addams' flat-chested, barefoot mute certainly wasn't that. I could be a sexy vampire pondering death in all sorts of crazy and urbane ways. The taxes? I'd leave those up to the Republicans.
The dress needed major work. Maila turned the dress backward so what had been the zippered, low-cut back of the ball costume was now the front of the vampire dress. For structure, she stitched a wire hanger into the bodice to support the plunging neckline. She shortened the sleeves and reattached them with tatters intact, then slit the skirt as far as modesty allowed. Finally, she adjusted the seams to accommodate her waist cincher, push-up bra, and bust and hip pads.
With a four-day time frame to make it all happen, Maila was relieved that she already owned a fetish wardrobe. She had only to shop her own closet to acquire the foundation pieces needed for the look.
The fingernails were a problem. Even Woolworth's didn't stock three-inch fingernails, so Maila cut pieces from a plastic food container, which required boiling to soften them up, and shaped them to fit over her own nails. Then she wrapped them around pencils and secured them with rubber bands. Finally, they were cooled in ice cube trays. The process was time-consuming and didn't end even after the nails were glued on and polished. Their length caused them to pop off at the slightest bump. Maila had to carry spares. Later, she bought pairs of mesh gloves and glued the nails to its fingertips. Maila would describe the recipe for her look as "one part Greta Garbo, two parts each of the Dragon Lady, Evil Queen and Theda Bara, three parts Norma Desmond, and four parts Bizarre magazine." All the cutting, sewing, and polishing was simply the window dressing. The bigger task was how Maila would breathe life into her brand-new baby and animate her, as she was no longer the silent, one-dimensional cartoon character who attended the Bal Caribe.
Per Stromberg's request, Maila arrived at KABC in full costume. In the pocket of her black cape was a list of names that she and Dink had concocted for her vampire girl. It was the most fun they'd had together in months.
Just before Dink dropped me off at KABC, I asked him how I looked. He said, 'Looking at you is like drinking a shot of hundred- proof whiskey. After you recover from the shock of it going down, you want more.' I was unnerved by his response & so I said 'Oh, so you have to be drunk to find me appealing?' He said 'It sure as hell wouldn't hurt.' He laughed at my expense. I thought he was being callous but he said it was my own fault for setting up the punchline. I was often his unwitting straight man. Maybe he should go get drunk. Maybe then he would find me sexy.
Maila walked into Stromberg's office, her black wig in sharp contrast against her pale skin. With the flourish of a magician, she threw off her cape to expose a figure that provoked a double take. Stromberg could scarcely believe his eyes. The evidence of Maila starving, exercising, and swathing her waist in meat tenderizer was still in evidence. A black patent-leather belt cinched Maila's waist down several inches smaller than the circumference of a 45rpm record. She pulled a long black cigarette holder from her cleavage and positioned it between two lacquered three-inch talons, painted a color she would later call "hemorrhage red."
"Cigarette?" she commanded in a low, sultry voice.
Although the specifics of Maila's audition remain a mystery, it can be assumed with certainty that she created a sensation, because before she left, a deal was hammered out.
A Boing Boing exclusive: Sage Vaughn interviewed Grammy-nominated DJ, music producer, composer and music/film director Sam i (formerly known as Sam Spiegel)'s about the recording of the track "To Whom It May Concern" feat CeeLo Green, Theophilus London & Alex Ebert), which hails from the same record (Random Shit from the Internet Era) as "Don't Give Up" feat Sia, Busta Rhymes & Vic Mensa, the track featured in this short film Heaven.
A note from Sam i:
"To Whom It May Concern" feat Ceelo Green, Theophilus London, and Alex Ebert is the longest time from conception to completion that it's ever taken me to create a song. I started the track with my partner in my old music project, N.A.S.A. DJ Zegon in 2003! @CeeLoGreen came through in 2006 after I met him in a sneaker shop in Tokyo and spent a year trying to get him to the studio. He came to my studio, and we had a very surreal afternoon. Ceelo got in the booth and freestyled some bits and pieces, which I turned into a chorus.
I would reimagine the track a few times before @theophiluslondon blessed the song with his verse in 2015. In 2017 @alex_ebert delivered his cosmic Prince vibes, and then CeeLo redid his chorus and added a crazy amount of beautiful backup harmonies, and the song finally came out on my album Random Shit from the Internet Era this year. This is Sage Vaughn's interpretation of what my cat Wu-Tang thought of the creative process.
Transmissions from the Eighth Circuit Channeling Timothy Leary on the Centennial of his Birth, Oct, 22, 2020
His first posthumous interview since his death 24 years ago, channeled by his Archivist, Michael Horowitz and his Digital Librarian, Lisa Rein.
Michael: Where are you?
Tim: I'm guessing this is the waiting room of the 8th circuit. I blew through the 7th while my ashes were sailing around Earth in High Orbit.
M: You were conscious of your ashes orbiting the planet in a spacecraft?
T: I visualized it often during my last weeks in a human body, usually after breathing from a nitrous oxide balloon.
M: It was preferable to having your head removed and kept frozen in a storage container for a hundred years, right?
T: I was worried about waking up in a room full of lab techs holding clipboards. Worse yet, I might have been brought back and re-attached to a body during a Republican Administration!
M: Don't ask.
M: There have been two since you were here. America has no memory. But there was also a black president.
T: About time. And a woman?
M: Almost! Long story. We might have a woman of color as VP soon.
T: That's long overdue.
M: Well, the country's in big trouble.
T: The Huxley kind or the Orwell kind?
M: Actually, the Hitler kind.
T: Oh no! Will America survive?
M: The Resistance is growing. Young Progressives are gaining power.
People are voting in droves. I think we'll squeak by.
T: You know, I really loved the United States. The whole tradition of individual freedom: Thinking for yourself. Questioning authority. But it was going off the tracks…
M: It feels like a slow-motion train wreck.
T: I tried to fix it.
M: You kind of did, for a while. But recognition has been a little slow in places.
T: Doesn't surprise me. The Right Wing? Left Wing?
M: Actually, it's some influencers of the Psychedelic Renaissance who blame you for ruining research.
T: Still? They don't blame the government?
M: There's no shortage of controversy but you're still the boogeyman.
Someone just wrote a book about how your ghost is haunting it called "Acid Revival."
T: Oh no! The last thing I would want to do is haunt a psychedelic renaissance.
But I'm delighted to hear there is one. That's beautiful. I love the idea of an "Acid Revival." What year are you in?
T: It took that long? I thought the techno rave pc surge was going to blow the gates wide open soon after my death. So LSD is legal now?
M: Not yet, but it's getting closer. Back in the '70s, you said that in 20 or 30 years LSD would be sold over the counter like aspirin. It might not be sold over-the-counter quite yet, but it looks like it could be only a couple of years away from being prescribed as an all-purpose therapeutic.
T: That was a good call. Why not push the envelope when you're making predictions?
M: What's the set and setting like where you are?
T: Have you read Finnegan's Wake? It's an ever-changing dreamscape. Right now it's like the lobby of a fancy Las Vegas hotel designed like Andy Warhol's Electric Circus. There are an infinite number of outposts. Of course that's only my current hallucination.
M: Is it like being on multiple hits of orange sunshine? A McKenna dose of DMT? A Lilly megashot of ketamine?
T: It's way past that. It's an eternal plateau. You wander around the lobby not quite bumping into people. More like moving through them. I'm working on my advanced navigational skills. Hey, you know who just got here? Ram Dass and Ralph Metzner!
M: That's great! They both died with grace and dignity. You must be happy to see them.
T: I designed my death differently, I suppose. But yes, I missed them both.
M: What about Baudelaire? Ludlow? Crowley? Are they hanging out in the 8th circuit?
T: You won't believe this, but they run a trafficking ring in hashish and opium.
M: And you score from them? You're putting me on!
T: Must have been having an acid flashback. OK, now can I ask some questions? What year did you say it was?
T: The roaring 2020s!
M: So… Happy 100th Birthday!
T: Thanks! If I was alive I would be 100 years old. But my seventy-five years felt like a thousand.
M: 2020 is making us all feel 100 years old.
T: Tell me, what happened with the Internet?
M: It taken over most of the world, Tim.
T: I got that one right. It's the ultimate information processing machine.
M: Everyone's addicted.
T: Of course. It's the Age of Information.
M: And an equal amount of disinformation.
T: It's all information, Michael.
M: It's pretty chaotic in the matrix.
T: Remember? We called it Millennium Madness. Bob Wilson said it was ruled by Eris, Goddess of Chaos and Discord. I want to hear more about this new wave of psychedelia.
M: It's like a low key, low dose version of the '60s, without the flamboyant cultural revolution. It's very science-oriented. Therapeutics are being transformed with psilocybin, LSD, MDMA, and ketamine. Medicalization is the goal. The country's been traumatized by endless wars, political stupidity, and economic despair.
Oh—and there are sophisticated brain-measuring machines you would have loved.
T: I've always wanted to see the psychedelicized brain in day-glo colors.
Our Experiential Typewriter for communicating during DMT trips was pretty far out for its time. I hope it's in a museum.
M: There are photographs and a lot of notes about it at the NYPL at least!
T: Are people still tripping like back in the day?
M: Yes, but it's more like Huxley's Soma. There's a new trend called microdosing. It took root with the techies in Silicon Valley as a performance enhancer and anti-depressant.
T: Every high tech genius who came around up here thanked me. Steve Jobs told me about his life-changing LSD trips.
M: Acid is losing a bit of its mystique, but more and more people are finding a level of inner peace that's really needed right now. Ayahuasca, iboga, and of course the Shulgin pharmacopeia—they're all in the mix nowadays. The research is on a fast track.
T: Is the government funding it? That worries me.
M: The government is mostly staying out of it. They're too busy screwing up everything else. Money is coming from Wall Street. Big Pharma is moving in. They had great success with marijuana—now called cannabis except by some die-hard Boomers. It's legal in more than half the US. Pot emporiums are springing up in big cities, mom & pop shops in small towns. It's a 14-billion dollar industry and growing fast.
T: And it's being taxed of course.
M: Through the roof!
T: That was the keynote of my political platform for my run against Reagan.
M: I remember. He ordered the judge to take away your bail because he was afraid of debating you.
T: Oh Michael! Let's not re-fight the Civil War of the 1960s.
M: The 1860s is more in vogue now.
T: At least it's not the 1560s. Tell me, where are my archives?
M: I'll let Lisa tell you. Remember her? She did the final text and graphics edits on your final masterpiece: Surfing the Conscious Nets.
Lisa: Hi Tim!
T: Hi Lisa! That was my favorite of all my books. I couldn't have finished it without you.
L: The pleasure was all mine. Nothing like learning desktop publishing on what might be Dr. Timothy Leary's last published work — and not showing him until you are done. No pressure there! Ha ha. Those colorful pages were so intense —- somehow you had layered Photoshop ".psd" files in Pagemaker 4 —- that it took me 15 minutes just to print one page out, and then my whole system would crash every four pages or so. But it was all worth it when you left that wonderful phone message thanking me. I'll never forget it.
T: I remember when you came to visit me at my house. That was the day I made you my Digital Librarian. You know, surfing the conscious nets is what I've been doing ever since I got here! The 8th Circuit is an infinite cluster of conscious nets.
T: But tell me, what happened to my archives?
L: You'll love it! They found a home in the New York Public Library.
Their final resting place is in the eight-level underground vault beneath 5th Ave. and 42nd St.
M: They're sitting in 600 gray boxes on long shelves one aisle away from the archives of Hawthorne, Melville, Poe and your favorite writer, Mark Twain. A first draft of Jefferson's handwritten Declaration of Independence is a few steps away.
T: I'm ecstatic! Tell me more.
M: Next to that is George Washington's personal planting diary, where he describes separating the female hemp seeds from the male.
T: The discovery of sinsemilla by our first president! Two hundred years later I was imprisoned four years for possession of two half-smoked joints.
Now our archives are neighbors. Don't you love the irony?
L: The curator gave us a tour. It's all beautifully organized and there's a guide book, The Timothy Leary Project: Inside the Great Countercultural Experiment.
L: After everything was organized the library directors held a formal opening that turned into a very cool party. Barbara and Zach and all the grandkids came. Denis was there, of course. Allyson and Alex Grey, and Winona and her boyfriend Scott.
Michael gave a talk on the incredible history of the archives when you were in prison and a fugitive, the FBI raid and everything. There was also an awesome exhibit of your digital archives and a wall of computer monitors that people could interact with.
M: My complete collection of your books — you'll never guess — went to Harvard!
T: Harvard! Imagine that! I knew they'd eventually welcome me back.
M: The millennial librarians there are thrilled.
M: Your archives are getting lots of scrutiny by historians and students. We also managed to digitize much of them – thanks to the Internet Archive.
L: We've been writing up our "Timothy Leary Archives" blog for eight years now – using archival materials to tell stories about your life. We've documented your interactions with Vaclav Havel, Marshall McLuhan, Carl Sagan, and even John Lennon and Yoko Ono. We've had almost two million hits so far.
M: Lisa interviewed me on the history of the archives — and a Hollywood studio recently optioned the interviews for a television movie.
L: I did what you asked me to: I found Michael Horowitz and Denis Berry and helped find a safe home for the archives.
T: Right! I remember.
L: Well, it took about 15 years; as you predicted, but they are now living at the New York Public Library — since September of 2013.
T: Good work! I knew I could count on you!
L: Well I had a lot of help! Denis and Michael actually sealed the deal — as you knew they would.
T: I knew you'd love them. Thanks for helping make that happen. And… were you able to scan them all and create a museum in virtual reality for them?
L: Yes. I am in the process of creating a VR museum and art gallery to display your archives and explain your history. I kinda had to wait for Virtual Reality to actually exist before I could get started on that — but now it totally exists and it's amazing! We currently have a little prototype going in a world called "VR Chat" — and soon, we'll have another one in "AltSpaceVR" too, if all goes well!
M: What's next, Tim? Is the 8th circuit the final stop? Is there re-birth after circuit 8? Consciousness doesn't die, does it? We meet ourselves in the future, don't we? We were seeded here by our future selves, weren't we?
L: Maybe this was our hallucination, Michael. Haven't you noticed? He's gone. Let's publish this and call it a night.
Biden Sort of Decides On Marijuana Legalization: He Is Sort of Still Against It
The great thing about voting machines is that you can vote with one hand and hold your nose with the other one. Believe me, I have had a lot of practice with that, and I will do it again this year.
After Biden cinched the Democratic nomination, his campaign focused on getting the support for Bernie Sanders young supporters. Biden was greatly relieved that Sanders was willing to help, so they launched what they called a "Unity Task Force, and one of the major topics was Federal marijuana prohibition.
Frankly, I absolutely reject that formulation. Marijuana legalization has been supported by the Libertarian right far longer than by the Left. The late Milton Friedman and William F. Buckley Jr. and many other conservatives have long opposed prohibition. Obama, Holder, Biden, Shalala, Clinton, Feinstein and Schumer all supported arresting millions of Americans. Until they opposed it…
However, in a meeting with Biden, Sanders is definitely on the Left. Given Biden's long support for the Drug War, even coining the term "Drug Czar", the real world results were not too terrible.
The key points:
"Democrats will decriminalize marijuana use and reschedule it through executive action on the federal level." That will automatically clear the way for banks to do business with cannabis companies. Now they are forced to do business with cash only.
"We will support legalization of medical marijuana (federally), and believe states should be able to make their own decisions about recreational use." It should be noted that even if the Federal government legalized marijuana, state laws will still apply.
"The Justice Department should not launch federal prosecutions of conduct that is legal at the state level." This provision is seen as a slap at Attorney General Barr, who has been accused of an abuse of his power by ordering an investigation of legal marijuana companies without probable cause.
"Lift budget rider blocking DC from taxing and regulating legal marijuana." The Nation's capital is effectively controlled by the Congress. So the Feds would be legalizing marijuana in the Federal Capital, but not Federally.
"All past criminal convictions for cannabis use should be automatically expunged.
In short, as long as we don't call it "Legalization", Biden is in favor of it.
So, what is Trump's position? When he was running for President, he has said that he is in favor of medical marijuana, but since being elected he has allowed prohibitionists, notably his Attorneys Generals, (Sessions, and Barr) to attack state medical marijuana laws.
Mark Meadows, his fourth Chief of Staff, who represented North Carolina's 11th District until he resigned on March 30, to become President Trump's has consistently opposed any easing of Federal marijuana laws.
Meadows even voted against amendments to let military veterans get medical cannabis recommendations from their doctors at the Department of Veterans Affairs. In other words, he puts the Drug Warriors ahead of the Americans who fought to keep Meadows free. Ironically, Meadows, who has not been in the military, was born in a US Army hospital in France.
Meadows even opposed a 2015 amendment to protect children and families relying on very limited CBD-only state laws from the DEA. He says he is protecting American children, but who is protecting the children from Meadows?
Given there is a global pandemic, ways to boost the immune system are even more sought after than usual. Having a strong immune system is the base for staying healthy, and though there are a lot of products people use to aid in immune wellness, CBD is on the rise as a top choice in boosting immune health. So how can this ever-growing in popularity compound help you with health and wellness, specifically boosting your immune system? Here is a breakdown of what you need to know.
What Is The Immune System?
Our bodies have a built-in system that keeps invaders at bay. On a daily basis we are exposed to streams of diseases, infections, viruses and bacteria. Our immune systems, a network of cells, organs and tissues that work together to destroy these foreign cells or particles, keeping us healthy and alive. The heroes of our immune system are the white blood cells, which fall into two categories. There are the lymphocytes and phagocytes. Lymphocytes are also known as B or T-cells, and are responsible for destroying toxins and identifying foreign substances within the body. Phagocytes help to absorb these invaders, neutralizing and preventing further spread of toxins. Out immune system also works to eliminate dead or non-functioning cells, preventing multiplication and tumor growth.
Although scientific studies surrounding CBD are still new and many more are needed to solidify results, the naturally derived compound has been shown to work as an immunosuppressant and immunomodulator. This means CBD's anti-inflammatory properties can reduce the immune system's inflammatory response, which can have both positive and negative impacts. When it comes to a virus, such as COVID-19, for a generally healthy person, inflammation is a vital response needed to isolate infected areas and block spread.
That being said, CBD has been shown to strengthen the immune system when it weakens, becomes hyperactive or is impacted by an autoimmune disease caused by inflammation. There are studies showing cannabis compounds and CBD can suppress the immune system in healthy people, and likewise studies that suggest the opposite, when the immune system is weakened, cannabinoids can strengthen it. Cancer and HIV/AIDS are one example in this area. CBD is widely known to treat pain, nausea and fatigue – all of which are common symptoms of HIV and AIDS. The compounds within cannabis and CBD have also been found to alter immune responses, stimulating CB1 and CB2 receptors to normalize bodily reactions. Because of this interaction, CBD can aid in immune response generally and especially when centered on autoimmune disorders and diseases.
Forms Of CBD For Immune Boost
Oils and Tinctures: sublingual application enters the bloodstream immediately for fast effectiveness. Oils and tinctures are best for pain relief and mental clarity or stress reduction.
Edibles: edibles, drinks and gummies are a great option for someone not looking to taste anything CBD. Typically edibles are perfectly dosed for the consumer, meaning you can determine how much you want for your needs and ailments.
Capsules: CBD capsules are another great option for anyone not looking to have a "hempy" aftertaste, but receive the benefits of CBD through fast activation.
Vaping: CBD can be found in the form of a vape pen that is inhaled. This method is an ideal alternative for smoking that provides quick relief.
When purchasing CBD products, always turn to a product and company that is fully transparent. Label claims are not always as reliable as we hope, so be sure to utilize the results of third-party labs, such as Real Tested CBD. Not only are you able to ensure the potency of your CBD product, you can be positive you are getting only what you want with cannabinoid compounds as well as solvent and pesticide test passes or fails. To compare Real Tested CBD's full list of tested products, click here.
Second, the published information is limited because the research is based on proprietary strains of cannabis, plus the researchers do not yet seem certain about which ingredients and which ratios are key.
They do say, "Cannabis sativa, especially one high in the anti-inflammatory cannabinoid cannabidiol (CBD), has been proposed to modulate gene expression and inflammation and harbour anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties… Working under the Health Canada research license, we have developed over 800 new Cannabis sativa lines and extracts and hypothesized that high-CBD C. sativa extracts may be used to modulate ACE2 expression in COVID-19 target tissues."
They add, "The extracts of our most successful and novel high CBD C. sativa lines, pending further investigation, may become a useful and safe addition to the treatment of COVID-19 as an adjunct therapy… They can be used to develop easy-to-use preventative treatments in the form of mouthwash and throat gargle products for both clinical and at-home use. Such products ought to be tested for their potential to decrease viral entry via the oral mucosa. Given the current dire and rapidly evolving epidemiological situation, every possible therapeutic opportunity and avenue must be considered."
It would appear that CBD plays an important part of their research.
Cannabidiol is the second most prevalent compound in these plants. Pot plants and hemp both contain cannabidiol. In other words, hemp contains cannabidiol and no tetrahydrocannabinol. Pot plants contain both.
Some strains of pot have been developed to be high in cannabidiol. For example, the AC/DC strain has a hemp-like profile because it contains less than 1% tetrahydrocannabinol and 14% cannabidiol. Using a strain such as that won't get you high.
Other strains, such as the harlequin strain, do contain more tetrahydrocannabinol than hemp. Harlequin has 5% tetrahydrocannabinol and 8% cannabinol. That might make you feel a little different than a product that contains only cannabidiol as the primary active ingredient.
Although cannabidiol can make you feel relaxed and relieve anxiety, it doesn't intoxicate you. It acts on different cannabinoid receptors than tetrahydrocannabinol and produces distinct effects.
Cannabidiol also has many health benefits. Many people have heard about it because it was found to help control seizures in rare cases of epilepsy. The Charlottes Web strain was bred with high levels of cannabidiol and low levels of tetrahydrocannabinol and is known for reducing epileptic seizures in a young epileptic girl named Charlotte Figi. The FDA approved Epidiolex, a cannabidiol-based drug, for these conditions in 2018.
Now, experts are finding out that cannabidiol can help with a lot of other health issues, including:
Psychological conditions, such as panic disorders, generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD
Pain, including headaches, nerve pain and arthritis
Inflammatory bowel disease
Cannabidiol is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Whereas many pharmaceuticals mask symptoms of medical conditions but don't get to the source, cannabidiol is healing. With inflammation being cited as a primary source of modern diseases, learning that cannabidiol can reduce it is promising.
Because cannabidiol relaxes the nervous system, it has calming effects. Some small studies have been conducted on animals and people. They've found that cannabidiol produces changes in hormones and neurotransmitters that are responsible for memory, learning and expressing emotions. Therefore, it holds enormous promise for helping people with mood disorders.
Of course, you can smoke tetrahydrocannabinol flower. That's how many people used to consume it. Today, tetrahydrocannabinol is available in tincture, extract and edible form. But it's not legal everywhere.
You can also smoke cannabidiol flower or vape cannabidiol, but some people don't want to inhale any substances. More commonly, individuals drop it under their tongues, swallow it in a capsule or consume edible products that contain the compound. Cannabidiol is even available in bath bombs and lotions, which may soothe skin problems and relieve sore muscles.
Vaping cannabidiol is one of the fastest ways to feel the effects. It takes longer to produce effects when you use it in tincture or edible form. But because cannabidiol doesn't make you high, you may not have an obvious indication that it's working. If you suffer from health problems that are caused by general or chronic inflammation, cannabidiol can take time to make you feel better.
Cannabinoid products are not the remedy for everything. Nor are they a miracle cure. However, tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol have healing properties and fewer side effects than many pharmaceuticals. They're gaining traction as natural remedies that have the potential for improving people's health in a way that addresses the root of the problem.
Boing Boing's own Ruben Bolling has a book coming out this summer, Tom the Dancing Bug: Into the Trumpverse, published by Clover Press.
It compiles every Tom the Dancing Bug comic from 2016-2019, covering, among other things, the rise (and fall? or continued rise?) of the Trump phenomenon.
During that time, in the course of his cartoonist satirist duties, Ruben has depicted alternate-reality versions of Trump, such as a James Bond super-spy, Homer Simpson, Calvin and Hobbes, Frankenstein (actually, Frankenstein's monster), and countless others.
Ruben says, "I wanted these collected in book form so that there is a blueprint for the next time America comes under the existential threat of a deranged, racist, authoritarian con man. Such as November, 2020."
Also coming from Clover Press is The Super-Fun-Pak Comix Reader, collecting every one of Ruben's Super-Fun-Pak Comix installments through 2019.
Super-Fun-Pak Comix are those tiny daily-style comics Ruben anachronistically uses to simulate a surreal version of that relic of a bygone era, the newspaper comics page.
Real Tested CBD shares the following essay by their co-founder, Richard Cowan.
It's Time for Silicon Valley To Finish Its Job of Disrupting the Racist Drug War
It Has Been Racist From The Beginning and Racism Cannot End Until It Does
By — Richard Cowan
Mark Zuckerberg, the Icarus of the Internet, is debating his own employees about whether Facebook should be responsible for correcting the lies of certain high ranking politicians. The answer seems obvious, but are they really prepared to choose which lies require their personal attention?
Icarus was undone by trying to fly too high and to be above it all, but there is another Greek myth that is more ¨down to Earth¨ literally.
As I watch the seemingly inexhaustible torrent of prohibitionist propaganda, I am reminded of the Greek myth about Hercules and the stables of King Augeas.
The term "Augean stables" means a huge mess, because King Augeas had a vast number of cattle, which were herded into the stables every night, but no one cleaned up after them. (Governments always expect other people to do their dirty work.)
As a consequence, the stables overflowed with what the Greeks called "drug education."
As in Hercules' time, the government provides the fodder at one end, and the other end –the Greeks called it the "media" – produced the inevitable product. It stank to high heaven, but it seemed impossible to do anything about it.
Most people said it was beneath their dignity even to think about it, although not thinking did not stop them from writing about it. They said that the only reason that it stank was because some people complained about the smell. You couldn't smell it from the better neighborhoods, and besides, if everyone who lived near the stables would just stop breathing, it wouldn't be a problem. Perhaps the king could send in troops to put their knees on the people's throats, but that was rejected as bad PR.
However, as the story goes, Hercules was given the task of cleaning the stables, but he had to do it all in only one day. Clearly not even he could shovel that fast, and I know just how he must have felt.
Being a superhero, Hercules managed the feat, and the way he did it gives me hope. He diverted a couple of rivers to flow through the stables and flushed them out.
Meanwhile back in the real world, what does this have to do with the war on us? What are the "rivers" that we can divert?
One clue actually comes from the myth. When King Augeas refused to pay Hercules, as he had promised he would, the king's son told the truth, and was exiled for doing so.
(He was sent to a place the Greeks called "rehab", which he said reminded him of his father's stables.)
Of course, not all BS is mythical, nor is it localized. Fortunately, we have something more universal than the Greek rivers: the Internet. So, meanwhile back in the real world, the American people are getting fed up with the stench of the lies that are being told to them – supposedly to protect them.
For obvious reasons, the current crisis in the "criminal justice system¨ is focused on race, but it should also be obvious that these problems are inextricably linked to what we call the Drug War. Second, the Drug War is a "legacy" of the world that Silicon Valley, aka the Internet, has partially disrupted and now it must finish the job.
Also, the 2019 Budget for the National Institute for Drug Abuse was $1,419,844,000. None of this money was for actual ¨law enforcement". And how would we account for the $3.4 billion to pay for housing federal drug war prisoners?
But the greatest economic cost of the Drug War would have to be counted in the damage done to the lives of its targets.
In the 2002 study "The Impact of Incarceration on Wage Mobility and Inequality," researcher Bruce Western "found that incarceration can permanently alter an individual's life course, disrupt key life transitions, and destroy access to steady employment. Incarceration can also hugely impact future economic stability and wage earning. The study looked at young men who were incarcerated in prison or jail between 1979 and 1998.
According to Western's study, the loss of earnings occurs partially because wages increase at a slower rate following incarceration. Not only are wages essentially frozen when someone is put in jail, incarceration causes a reduction in the rate of wage growth over the course of a lifetime by about 30%. Western also found that a criminal record — regardless of the crime related to the record — reduces callbacks from prospective employers by around 50%."
And guess what… Blacks are almost four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana as whites, even though marijuana use rates are very similar. And the history of marijuana prohibition is absurdly racist.
Anyone who talks about defunding the police and defending minority communities without addressing the Drug War, starting with marijuana prohibition, is simply avoiding the difficult decisions that have to be made. Silicon Valley is all about data so please just look at the numbers. Equal Justice for All must be equal for all, or it will not compute.
There is no group in the world that has greater actual power over the public discourse than the tech community. It disrupted the old journalism and the old political order. Now it cannot pretend to be against racism and yet ignore the way the world actually works. If Zuckerberg and Dorsey are in the headlines, then everyone else must be on the frontlines, or they are AWOL.
Speak, shout, scream, text, Tweet and email but make yourself heard. It is literally at your fingertips.
The new buzz word in all things health related is certainly CBD, less known as cannabidiol, one of the compounds found in a cannabis plant. Consuming CBD has become more and more mainstream, and the methods of consumption are changing with the times. Many people are interested in the much talked about health benefits CBD are thought to have, but they haven't found the best way to take it without getting a hemp aftertaste. Well, remember those handy Listerine strips that always saved your breath but didn't do much more? Now you can get the same minty freshness, and with the added benefits of CBD from Blue Ribbon Hemp.
Blue Ribbon Hemp is a new CBD company specializing in products for seniors. Founded by Richard Cowan, a long-time CBD and cannabis advocate, and Dr. Igor Bussel, M.D., M.S., M.H.A is a clinician-scientist and ophthalmic surgeon. The two have crafted a range of high quality CBD products from oral strips to capsules and lotions.
One of the fastest and easiest ways to consume hemp-based products with an immediate effect is through oral consumption. An oral strip, made of an incredibly thin layer of "paper," is water soluble. Because of this, the amazing plant benefits packed into the small strip instantly get absorbed sublingually to your bloodstream. Instead of eating something and waiting for it to pass the digestive system, oral strips instantly dissolve upon contact with water or saliva. With the active ingredients being absorbed so quickly the beneficial effects can be felt almost right away. Not to mention, now your breath smells great too!
Not only do oral strips offer fast acting relief, they deliver the perfect dose of CBD in each strip. Each containing 15mg of cannabidiol isolate, and zero THC, they can sometimes aid in maintaining healthy sleep patterns, recovering from inflammation and restoring a sense of calm or focus.
If you have struggled to find the best way to consume CBD for your lifestyle, Blue Ribbon Hemp Menthol Oral Strips could be the golden ticket for you. Conveniently packed, easily storable, tasty and most importantly effective. With 15mg of CBD per strip, residual solvent and pesticide free, they deliver a fast acting relief you can count on.
If you're looking into an online purchase, nine out of ten times you go to Amazon, right? For many of us, Amazon has almost become part of daily life. It's undeniably convenient; you can get anything from the latest in technology to toilet paper delivered, to a pre-manufactured house in a shipping container. Just about whatever you want to buy, Amazon has you covered. But have you ever tried searching for CBD on Amazon? The results might not be what you expected.
The short answer is no. The long answer is: yes, but let us help you read between the lines and ensure you are getting the real deal with your online purchase. Basing your purchases on lab-based test results is the best way to shop smart for CBD online. Customer reviews and product descriptions can be misleading, so stick to the facts from experts who test independently for your safety and security. The moral of the story is that you can't trust everything you read online, even if others have already made the mistake of trusting it!
Related: Are you a senior looking to learn more about the benefits of CBD and shop reliable products? Click here.
First off, Amazon has a strict policy on what can and cannot be sold on their online retail platform. If you are a verified seller's account, this information is available to you, but for the general public it's more of a guessing game as to what Amazon is able to offer online. According to Amazon's list of items not allowed, "Products offered for sale on Amazon must comply with all laws and regulations." They expand further with, "Supplements must not contain controlled substances."
So what does this mean? Generally, it means that you have to pay very close attention to the label, fine print, ingredients and all things "listing" for the product you are interested in. Many of the CBD products sold on Amazon actually don't contain any CBD. More than likely, sellers on Amazon are using just hemp seed oil instead of anything CBD, the naturally occurring cannabinoids you are trying to find. The difference is these compounds aren't found abundantly in the seeds of the plant, but in the flowers and leaves. Hemp seeds and hemp seed oil are also believed to have health benefits and are allowed to be sold on Amazon, but they don't contain CBD and they certainly should reflect that in the price.
Here are four products tested independently through Earth Labs and Real Tested CBD, with failing numbers all around, that are still sold to mislead customers on Amazon:
Not only are CBD products sold on Amazon likely counterfeit, they also might be making unreasonable claims when it comes to potency. Along with that, it's hard to verify and trust the purity and quality of these products, especially backed by real test lab results as should be the standard. The importance of testing for quality control is critical for CBD products. Third-party and independent lab testing results are the most unbiased and reliable source of information when it comes to the quality, purity and potency of a CBD product. Not only can you find better products from better sources than Amazon, there are a lot of other beneficial compounds found in lab-tested products.
Related: Interested in quality CBD products with a high potency that passed the test? Click here.
Knowing if the product you are purchasing is quality based on lab results and not ripped off customer reviews is the only way to shop for CBD. For many sellers on Amazon, the less you know about CBD products and what to look for when you buy, the better their products can fare. Always be sure to trust the lab results over the label claims.
When considering your purchase of CBD online, Amazon should not be your first choice for a reliable product. Even though you can count on just about anything being delivered to your door accompanied by satisfaction through Amazon, CBD products are a different ball game. Turn to a trusted and unbiased platform that gives you real lab results. Not only can you verify the products you are buying have the potency, quality and concentration you are looking for, you can also compare products and see real customer reviews. As CBD continues to expand worldwide and its popularity grows, RealTestedCBD.com is here to debunk the good from the bad, the real from the fake and the quality over the quantity.
Boing Boing welcomes Real Tested CBD as a sponsor!
We at Real Tested CBD are continually striving to bring you information about the best CBD brands and their respective products available in the market. The CBD industry is thriving due to new-found awareness amongst the consumers. Thanks to the Internet and the laws allowing legal use of CBD and hemp-based products.
At Real Tested CBD, we run thorough lab tests on each brand and product on our platform, and it includes checking the authenticity of their claim to be a CBD product. Plus, we also test these products for any traces of industrial pesticides and solvents. Today, we bring you another review of one of the most popular brands in the CBD industry.
CBDfx is a manufacturer of CBD products and oils from Chatsworth, California. They carry a wide variety of CBD products extracted from full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate hemp plants.
These products include CBD oils, CBD vape juice, CBD capsules, CBD products for pets, and more. Here are our reviews of six of their products. It's always better to review before you buy!
Our top choice to review a CBDfx product is their Mixed Berry Hemp Gummies. It is an excellent CBD product that comes from broad-spectrum hemp extract. It is a non-GMO product that is 100 percent vegan and gluten-free.
These yummy gummies contain 40 mg of hemp-based cannabinoids, and our lab results found this claim to be spot on – kudos to CBDfx. Plus, these hemp gummies had no traces of any pesticides or solvents in the mix.
Second, on our list is CBD Tincture oil by CBDfx. This CBD oil tested to be accurate to its claim of containing 500 mg CBD. But other additional beneficial cannabinoids such as CBC, CBD, and CBN were missing. However, it does have 30 ml of hemp and MCT oil.
CBDfx produces all its products within the USA at its cGMP certified facilities, so this is an authentic home-produced product and contains 519.71 mg of CBD per bottle. It has 65 mg of hemp oil and 16.5 mg of CBD goodness per drop, and there are no pesticides or solvents in this useful product.
Next are CBDfx's hemp capsules; these are one of their full-spectrum CBD products. These capsules are non-GMO and gluten-free. The packet claims to contain 200 mg of CBD per pack and provides 25 mg CBD per capsule. However, we found the CBD levels in the product to be lower than what the label claims.
Our lab tests revealed the actual level to be at 140.31 per packet. However, because it is a full-spectrum CBD product, it does contain other beneficial cannabinoids, including CBC at 6.72 mg, CBN at 1.6 mg, CBG, and 1.3 mg and THC at 4.98 mg per packet.
The Deep Tissue formula by CBDfx is the next product on our list. It is a remedy for any deep tissue muscle aches and pains. A good rub can give you a CBD fix that will help you neutralize the pain in no time, and it has zero percent THC in it.
Although this formula claims to contain 150 mg of hemp-based cannabinoids, our tests found the CBD levels to be way lower than what the label says. Our lab results found the CBD level to be 3.43 per pack with no pesticides or solvents in the mix.
The last CBDfx product we reviewed is their Calming Balm Sensitive Skin that claims to come with 150 mg of hemp-based cannabinoids. This cream sounds like it is full of relaxing and calming goodness; however, we are not sure about it. We found the CBD levels in this balm to be at 256.38 mg per pack, which is higher than what label claims.
Unfortunately, we at Real Tested CBD found this product to contain "coumaphos," a pesticide used for killing insects and mites. Therefore, we would recommend you to stay away from this product.
Real Tested CBD is known for efforts in bringing information about the CBD products for not only established brands, but the budding brands in the niche. We fuel our passion through the zest of our clients, asking us for updates on what is happening in the CBD universe. Thanks to the laws in the US that allow legal production of CBD products for health and research, there are some premier products on the market, but it's important to know what you are shopping for to ensure the best purchase.
We at Real Tested CBD run all the products through lab tests and present everything in black and white for our readers. This way, our consumers get to find out what product they are getting and if it is worth getting at all. Today, we review Charlotte's Web and its CBD products that include balms, creams, tincture, edibles, and capsules.
Here is a review of all the nine products of Charlotte's Web that we tested.
Image Source: Real Tested CBD
This hemp-infused balm by Charlotte's web comes with 150 mg of botanical blend hemp extract. It has a soothing scent, and we found no traces of pesticides and solvents in the mix. Moreover, it contains all the goodness of CBD at 107.2 mg per pack. It also contains THC at 4.69 mg and CBC at 4.48 mg per package. However, our test results indicate that the total CBD levels were lower than those claimed on the label.
Image Source: Real Tested CBD
This Canine hemp-infused balm is for adult dogs with 450 mg of hemp extract. However, our test results show the CBD levels are half the quantity of what the label claims. It does contain a decent CBD quantity still along with other beneficial cannabinoids. The CBC and THC levels are at 8.67 mg and 5.53 mg per package; whereas, CBD levels are at 224.28 mg per package with no sign of pesticides or solvents.
Image Source: Real Tested CBD
This hemp-infused skin cream comes with 750 mg of hemp extract. It does contain some CBD goodness, but our test results indicate these levels to be lower than the label's claims. It has 19.1 mg of CBC and 14.63 mg of THC, which can be very useful to relax. Plus, there is 328.74 of CBD packed in this product.
Image Source: Real Tested CBD
Wow, this CBD isolate tincture by Charlotte's web is one of our favorites. It delivers 20 mg of CBD per drop, and our test results indicate that this tincture contains more CBD than the label claims, which is a good thing as it increases the effectiveness of this product. The CBD levels are a whopping 782.81 mg per package. However, there are no traces of any other cannabinoids in the tincture, and there are no solvents or pesticides.
Image Source: Real Tested CBD
This Web Hemp extract tincture is an excellent CBD product that is true to its label claims. We would say a great job! It offers 12 mg of pure CBD extract that offers other beneficial cannabinoids present in all-natural hemp extract used in this product. It contains THC, CBC, and CBG at 17.87 mg, 17.65 mg, and 3.11 mg per package, respectively. The total quantity of CBD per package is 533.8 mg, with no trace of pesticides or solvents.
These Raspberry flavored Hemp Extract-Infused Gummies are the first edible product on our list from Charlotte's Web. Our lab tests found an acceptable range of CBD per canister at below 25%. However, it appears to be full-spectrum CBD and contains CBC and THC in the mix, which makes it spot on with its whole hemp extract claim. The CBD, THC, and CBC quantities are at 449.14 mg, 15.51 mg, and 38.77 mg per package.
The Torch L1 by EST Gear is the world's most versatile flashlight. It features a unique L-shaped design so you can use it hands free as a headlamp or stand-it up with it's ultra-handy, flat, magnetic bottom. Stick it, clip it, carry it or wear it. This super-bright, waterproof, rechargeable flashlight is capable enough for every adventure and small enough for everyday use.