Modern humans are concerned with topics such as to what extent tongkat ali facilitates the female orgasm. In medieval times, people had more serious problems.... such as staying clear of a judiciary that considered skinning alive an appropriate punishment for self-induced ejaculation. Tailors volunteered as executioners as there was a ready market for garments made of human hides.
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It is appropriate to the call given to this tree as Tongkat Ali proved to cure various diseases.
Need a new body part? Tissue engineers are now growing human bladders, lungs, and other organs in the lab with the hope that, someday soon, such organs may replace diseased organs in people. Transplant surgeons, for their part, routinely place donated kidneys, hearts, and other organs into patients whose own organs are failing. They have transplanted hands, arms, even, famously, a face.
This has left me wondering, where does the brain come into all this? Will we someday grow replacement brains or do whole-brain transplants? Three questions leap to mind: Why would we? Could we? And should we?
I must admit to feeling a bit squeamish with the whole idea, which you might agree has a sizeable "yuck" factor. And I felt a little sheepish when I called experts to ask them about it. Would they dismiss me out of hand, beseeching me not to waste their time with a subject best left to science-fiction writers? But with science and medicine advancing at a dizzying pace, and with questionable medical procedures of the past as cautionary tales, it seemed like a subject worth addressing, if only perhaps to reject it as untenable, unconscionable, or simply too ghastly to contemplate.
WHY WOULD WE?
First of all, why? What medical justification could exist for growing a new brain, or part of one, and placing it in someone whose own brain, or part of it, was removed?
"Certainly there are situations where people have tumors and have to have areas resected or situations where people are brain-dead," says Doris Taylor, whose tissue-engineering lab at the University of Minnesota's Stem Cell Institute is experimenting with growing entire replacement organs, including 70 livers last year alone. "Certainly there are situations where somebody has an accident that leaves their brain stem injured. Would it be nice to be able to regrow the appropriate regions? Absolutely. Talk to any paraplegic or quadriplegic out there. They would love to have new cervical neurons or brain-stem regions."
Other researchers echoed Taylor's sentiments—that the future of brain tissue engineering likely concerns small pieces, not the whole enchilada.
"We're not going to make whole brains in a dish and then just transplant them," says Evan Snyder, head of Stem Cells and Regenerative Biology at the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in California. "But what people are playing with is, is it possible to do little bits of tissue engineering in a dish and then put these tissues into small areas [of the body] and see whether you can make some connections?" Perhaps help a patient with Parkinson's disease regain some lost neural functionality, say, or buy a quadriplegic another segment of spinal cord function such that she can breath a little better on her own or can now move her thumbs—that's the hope, Snyder says.
What about transplanting existing brains from one individual to another, like we do with donated hearts or kidneys? Under what scenario would we consider that? About a decade ago, Dr. Robert White, a neurosurgeon at Case Western Reserve University, received a burst of media attention by advocating what he called "whole-body transplants" for quadriplegics. (Because the brain can't function without the head's wiring and plumbing, White noted, a brain transplant, at least initially, would be a head transplant. And, perhaps because of the yuck factor, he preferred to call such an operation a whole-body transplant.)
Quadriplegics often die prematurely of multiple-organ failure, White said. If surgeons could transfer the healthy body of a donor, such as a brain-dead individual or someone who has just died of a brain disease, to the healthy head of a quadriplegic, they could prolong that patient's life. Brain-dead patients already serve as multiple-organ donors, so a whole-body transplant is not as macabre as it might at first sound, White argued.
I tracked down Dr. White, who is now retired after 60 years as a brain surgeon but is still active as a writer and consultant. "I think this is an operation of the future," he told me on the phone. "But it is certainly out there, and under these circumstances [of quadriplegia], the concept of giving somebody who is important or quite young a new body is not beyond comprehension." And it should be discussed now, White feels, because it may well be coming. "We're still within just the first 100 years of transplantation," he said. "Who knows where we'll be after another 100 years?"
COULD WE GROW NEW BRAINS?
Let's say for the sake of argument that we had sound medical reasons for doing such procedures. Could we, technically speaking? Could we grow a whole human brain, or even part of one, in a laboratory?
"There is now data showing that if you put stem cells in an area of brain injury that the cells actually home into the injured brain area, and they can take up residence there and exhibit some sort of functionality," says Tony Atala, director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and head of one of the premier tissue-engineering labs in the country. "But building a whole brain? That's kind of out there." How about a single lobe? "That would be extremely complex to do," he said. "As a scientist, you never say never, because you never know what will be within the realm of possibility several centuries from now. But certainly to replace a lobe today, that would be science fiction with current technology."
Doris Taylor was more willing to speculate but was also cautious. "We can decellularize the brain," she told me, referring to her lab's technique to chemically strip all cells from donor organs, leaving a kind of cell-less scaffold that can be seeded with stem cells and "regrown." "But whether it's possible to restore brain cells appropriately, who knows?" She paused. "And in the case of the brain, how would you know? There's such a wide spectrum of behavior and functioning. I'm not sure we'd ever have an end point to know how to measure." She paused again. "I have no doubt that we can rebuild at least some neural pathways. The question is, will that rebuild a brain, including everything you need for mind-brain function, or even a piece thereof? I really don't know."
Taylor envisions more modest steps forward, such as rebuilding small parts of the brain to decrease the size or frequency of seizures in an epileptic or to help restore some functionality in a stroke victim who had suffered severe neurologic loss. "I could imagine considering growing regions of brains to graft in," she says. "But are we within five to ten years of that? That's hard to imagine."
Research with neural stem cells has shown that it's extremely hard to make even the simplest neuronal connections, much less regenerate neurons, as had been hoped early on. "The vision of the stem cell field 20 years ago was you have a patient in a wheelchair and you stick a stem cell into his brain or spinal cord, and he'll come bounding out of his wheelchair and run the Boston Marathon," Snyder says. "We know now that's not the way it's going to happen."
COULD WE TRANSPLANT EXISTING BRAINS?
What about a head transplant—or, if you prefer, a whole-body transplant? Doable? White thinks it is, even as he acknowledges that the financial costs would be prohibitive.
"I've had plenty of time to think about it, and the operation itself, although complex, really involves structures in and about the neck," White told me. "You're not cutting into the brain, and you're not cutting into the body, just severing everything at the neck. It's a very complex operation, because you have to make sure that the body's kept alive and the head's kept alive. But this has all been worked out in smaller animals."
Forty years ago, in studies that to some commentators smacked of Dr. Frankenstein, White and his team experimented with transplanting the newly detached head of a live rhesus monkey onto the body of another monkey that had just had its head removed. The longest-lived such hybrid, which reportedly showed unmistakable signs of consciousness, lasted eight days.
"With the significant improvements in surgical techniques and postoperative management since then," White wrote in a 1999 Scientific American article, "it is now possible to consider adapting the head-transplant technique to humans." White acknowledges that a quadriplegic who got a new body today would remain paralyzed below the neck, because successfully reconnecting the brain to the spinal column remains beyond our reach.
"That's a very interesting scenario," Taylor said when I brought up White's idea. But would it work? "Well, technically, people can do almost anything," she said. "You can sew something the size of or smaller than a human hair, so technically I could imagine that working. But there are huge things we still don't know and have to learn. That doesn't mean that I can't imagine doing all of this. It does mean that I'm going to ask some difficult questions before I say it's ready for prime time or even clinical utility."
Snyder was also willing to consider possibilities, though for him the yuck factor loomed large. The first step, he felt, would have to be the ability to sustain a head independent of a body, even for a short period. "Could you keep an isolated human head alive such that it's thinking and talking and all we need to do is perfuse it with the right chemicals and the right nutrients and keep the acid-base balance fine?" he said. "That's creepy. Very creepy." Agreed, but how soon? "I can't say it's absolutely impossible," he said. "But I don't see that happening in the next 100 years."
SHOULD WE TRANSPLANT EXISTING BRAINS?
One expert who has given a lot of thought to the notion of head transplants—and was not a bit hesitant to talk about them—is Paul Root Wolpe, a bioethicist at the Emory Center for Ethics at Emory University. (In fact, he once debated White on the subject on radio.)
Wolpe has several problems with the concept, he told me. One concerns use of resources. Referring to a putative head transplant, he said, "The desperate attempt to keep individuals alive using more and more resources seems to me to be extraordinarily misguided when you're talking about a world where people are dying for lack of resources, very preventable kinds of diseases and issues like malnutrition." The idea that it could prolong the life of someone deemed important did not sit well with him. "I'm always wary of the valuable-people argument—'Forget keeping not-valuable people alive, that's kind of a waste, but what if we could keep valuable people alive?' I have a lot of trouble when I put the argument that way." Wolpe would consider a whole-body transplant, he says, "a fundamental ethical transgression."
Another concerns a person's bodily integrity. "You are talking about a fundamental kind of change whereby a body becomes simply a means of supporting a head, where your sense of what it means to be a whole human being has been compromised in a very new way," he says. Wolpe believes this change to be intrinsically different than that brought about by heart transplants, which, when such operations first started taking place, did raise a host of questions in people's minds about what it would mean for a recipient's sense of wholeness.
One's very sense of selfhood would be at stake, Wolpe argues. In the West we tend to think of the brain as the locus of self, but culturally that is a very new idea, and it's still not shared in many cultures, he says. Consider Japan, where the locus of self is thoracic and abdominal. "That's why when you commit seppuku you disembowel yourself, you don't cut your head off, because you're attacking yourself at the seat of selfhood," he told me.
The notion that if you put his head on someone else's body that the resulting individual would be him and not the other person simply because the hybrid had his brain is, Wolpe says, "theory not fact, a philosophical position rather than a scientific reality. What you may end up finding is that when you transfer a brain from one body to another, the resulting organism is not solely what one would think of as the person whose brain it was but also has enormous components of the person into whose body it goes."
Altogether, the ethical issues surrounding head transplantation are insurmountable, Wolpe feels.
SHOULD WE GROW NEW BRAINS?
As for growing brains, Wolpe has a hard time seeing how you could justify it medically. "Who do we grow a new brain for? Do we grow it for someone with Alzheimer's? Do we grow it for someone with a severe brain tumor?" I didn't need to ask him to speculate. "Say you had a severe brain tumor, and I took a stem cell from you and I grew a new brain for you and got rid of your old brain and put in your new brain, none of you would be there. Your memories, your ideas, your thoughts, your thinking of your wife as your wife and your kids as your kids—it's all gone, unless we can also transfer all your memories, thoughts, and ideas to a new brain.
"So I'm not even sure what a brain transplant means in that context," he continued. "It means wiping the slate clean and now having a pre-birth-level brain in a 60-year-old person or whatever? I'm not sure of the medical problem that that solves."
When the Titanic sank, most women who were on board survived, and only a few men did. A few dogs also survived, taken along by their female owners. Such is the character of women.
Iran Chamber Society
Researcher on women’s issues and criminologist Shahla Moazami interviewed 220 killers: 131 men and 89 women. All were in jail at the time of the interview. Moazami found gender differences in the murder cases. 100% of the men killed their wife themselves, while 67% of the women were assisted by another man in the murder of their husband. Men kill of jealousy; the women want to get out of the marriage.
Iranian laws are based on the shari’ah-laws, which in turn is founded on Islamic holy writings. According to Iranian law a man can kill his wife without punishment if he catches her with another man. But there must be witnesses to the incident – four men. If these criteria are not fulfilled, the man will be punished and might face death sentence. However, when a woman finds solid proof of her husband’s unfaithfulness, she has no right to kill, but can go to court and ask for divorce.
If a woman can prove her husband’s violence by, for example, getting statements from a doctor, she can be granted divorce. But a man cannot be sentenced for violence against his wife, and the police seldom act when a woman complains about her husband beating her. Both the police and the courts will send the woman back to her violent husband. Moazami tells that there is little knowledge among most women about their rights and they are not aware that violence can be a valid reason for divorce – however, this process is long and it can take up to five years before divorce is granted.
Divorce is also difficult for women in Iran, Moazami says, because most women are economically dependent on their husband and besides the father automatically gets parental custody and she looses her children. Moazami tells that the new generation of educated women divorces their husbands more often when they face violence in their marriage. They manage better on their own.
Women who kill
From her interviews Moazami found a clear and common pattern in the stories of the female killers. The women married young, often 12-14 years old, and they had from 5 to 7 children. At the time of the murder their average age was 29 years old. Many of them tell that their husband had lost interest in them, and they felt that their beauty was fading. When a new man takes an interest in them, they fall easily for him. The law gives women few possibilities to get a divorce, and the murder of the husband is planned and done together with the new boyfriend. Only 33% of the women did the killing on their own. Moazami also found cases where women, sometimes with the assistance of their daughters, killed a violent husband.
Moazami thinks there are several structural causes to spouse killing. She mentions poverty, illiteracy, traditional opinions and Iranian women’s position in marriage and society. Young marriage age is also important. Moazami thinks that the women were too young to understand marriage when they married at 12-14 years old, and it was difficult for them make their own demands.
Islam has two traditions, Sunni and Shi’a. Iran is mainly Shi’a, but some areas of the country have large groups of Sunni Muslims. In these areas there are fewer spouse killings, which Moazami relates to the fact that divorce is more easily obtained in the Sunni tradition, for both sexes.
Men who kill
The men’s average age was 40 when the murder was performed. The men had married when they were 22-24 years old with women ten years their junior. Polygamy is practiced in Iran, and 14% of the men had two wives, of which one was killed. 2% of the men had three wives, and killed one of them. 32% of the men were married for the second time. All the men Moazami interviewed had done the murder by themselves. The men gave their wives unfaithfulness as motive for the murder, but often it was more suspicion of adultery than actual events.
Moazami tells that murder of wives is more common in Southern Iran, where many people of Arabic descendant live. There the age difference between the spouses is larger, and jealousy killings are more common there than in the rest of Iran. When Moazami interviewed female killers in the south, the women told that they did not want to be released from prison. They were afraid that their family would kill them. Many women asked the prison authorities of transfer to prisons in other parts of Iran, something which they usually were granted.
Blood price, punishment and the responsibility of the children
In murder cases blood money is used at punishment in Iran. If a man is killed, he has to pay the victim’s family RLS 180.000.000 in compensation. But the blood price of a woman is half of a man’s. Murder has a dual respect in criminal law in Iran that is private and public. The State has a minimum of two years jail verdict. The victim’s family can either demand the death penalty or blood money. If the family demands death penalty, they have to pay the relevant blood money to the executed person’s family. In cases of spouse killing, when there are children in the marriage, the children are the ones who determine the faith of their living parent. The logic of the court is that the children own the family’s blood. The parent will stay in prison until the daughters become nine years old and the sons 15.
When asked how a nine-year-old child can decide on the execution of their father or mother, Moazami answers dryly that according to Islam, a girl can marry when she is 9 years old, and thus make adult decisions. But she adds that there is a proposal to change the law and the age limit in these cases to 13 years for girls. Moazami tells that in most cases the children set their parent free, but the children have to agree on this matter. Often the adults of the victim’s family make the decision for the children.
Many killers cannot afford the blood price. Then they have to remain in jail until they come up with the money, but this might take many years. Moazami cited cases where people stayed in prison until they died because of lack of money.
Moazami claims she sees a new trend in that the courts themselves have started to rule out the death penalty. Moazami tells about a case in the city of Efsahan. The husband was unemployed and went to Tehran to find work. When he came home, the neighbour told him that his wife had a lover. The husband confronted the wife and beat her. The wife told him angrily that four of the seven children had other fathers. The husband killed both the wife and these four children. He was sent to jail, and awaits the decision of the three living children whether he will be executed or not.
Moazami knows the case of Fadime in Sweden and the discussion on honorary killings. In her opinion there are few honorary killings in Iran. She thinks this is not a part of Iranian culture, but she says it has happened in areas with Arabic influence. She also thinks it was more common before, but that girls of today run away before they are killed. Young women no longer stay in the villages when they face unwanted marriages or threats of revenge from their family when they have been disobedient. They leave or run away. Honorary killings were more common ten years ago. But Moazami also adds that she has less knowledge of honorary killings, because the court will set the killer free.
About Shahla Moazemi
Shahla Moazami was born in 1947 in Efsfahan province. She completed her master’s degree in criminal law taking prostitution as her thesis with her PHD in criminology at the University of Tehran.
Moazami is an associate professor at the Faculty of Law and Institute of Criminology at the University of Tehran. She has done research on violence against women, run away girls, violence against women in work and alternative punishment for women and spouse killings. Presently she is working on a research project about the effects of death penalty on the women in the family.
Last year Moazami published a book on family law for young girls. The book was published with support from the Presidential Office for Women’s Participation. After six months the Ministry of Education banned the book. A female religious clergy thought that the book was not ”suitable” and the official reason was that a book on family law should be for both sexes, a not only girl. But Moazami thinks that the issue was more; that it should be the exclusive right of the clergy to teach family law. However, it was decided that the book be used as a teacher’s guide and be thought for both girls and boy student.
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!
A self-confessed sadomasochist accused of strapping a woman to a 'torture board' and sending 240 volts through her vagina has been cleared of sexual assault.
Road worker Keiren Batten, 43, was "obsessed with sadomasochistic sexual practices", a jury was told.
Prosecutor Simon Wilshire told them he "used" a 27-year-old woman "to satisfy his physical, dangerous sexual desires re bondage, sadism and restraint."
Batten stood trial on one count of sexual assault which related to the incident involving his homemade electric torture board.
The complainant claimed he attached crocodile clips to her labia while she was strapped to the restraint board he had made from plywood and pet collars and belts.
In his defence, Batten, from Hitchin, Herts, told a jury in fact it was he who had submitted to painful sexual practices.
He denied having electrocuted the complainant via her vagina.
He also claimed his own genitals had been left scarred after the woman used a blowtorch on them and that she also carved her name into his thigh with a Stanley knife.
A jury cleared Batten of sexual assault and another count of assault relating to an accusation he had pushed the woman during an argument.
Jurors could not come to a verdict on a charge of assault relating to a head butt.
Prosecutors have a week to decide whether to retry Batten on the matter.
During the trial at Cambridge Crown Court, the jury of seven woman and five men were asked to join the judge and barristers to examine to homemade torture board.
Defence barrister Neil Fitzgibbon asked Batten to lie down on the board in court and strap himself to it using the head, body, arm and leg collars, belts and chain.
Judge Farrell came down from his bench to stand with barristers and jurors to examine Batten's demonstration on the floor of the court.
Jurors were also shown explicit photographs of Batten's genitals bearing the branding and burn marks.
The complainant told the court she went along with some of the kinky sex because Batten said she was "boring" in bed.
Twice she was electrocuted through her nipples.
But, she claimed Batten on another occasion connected the lead to her vagina although she had said he must not.
"He put the crocodile clips inside, attached to my labia, and shocked me," she said.
"He turned it on and I just caught my breath because you think you are going to die.
"I have never experienced anything so hideous in my life.
"I never went on the board again.
"After that 'I was rubbish in bed' and 'everybody else was better', 'I was just a prude'."
The witness said: "He calls it a torture and it is torture really.
"As I got a bit braver I said no and that's when he got bored and went elsewhere."
In cross-examination, she accepted she carved her name with a Stanley knife into his inner thigh, but denied she used a blowtorch or the shocker on him.
Batten had earlier pleaded guilty to criminally damaging a mobile phone and taking a hammer to a wall at the complainant's home and has been remanded in custody to be sentenced for those offences on 2 May.
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.
A number of three LC–MS/MS hybrid systems (QTof, TripleTof and QTrap) has been used to profile small metabolites (m/z 100–1000) and to detect the targeted metabolites such as quassinoids, alkaloids, triterpene and biphenylneolignans from the aqueous extracts of Eurycoma longifolia. The metabolite profiles of small molecules showed four significant clusters in the principle component analysis for the aqueous extracts of E. longifolia, which had been collected from different geographical terrains (Perak and Pahang) and processed at different extraction temperatures (35 °C and 100 °C). A small peptide of leucine (m/z 679) and a new hydroxyl methyl β-carboline propionic acid have been identified to differentiate E. longifolia extracts that prepared at 35 °C and 100 °C, respectively. From the targeted metabolites identification, it was found that 3,4ɛ-dihydroeurycomanone (quassinoids) and eurylene (squalene-type triterpene) could only be detected in the Pahang extract, whereas canthin-6-one-3N-oxide could only be detected in the Perak extract. Overall, quassinoids were present in the highest concentration, particularly eurycomanone and its derivatives compared to the other groups of metabolites. However, the concentration of canthin-6-one and β-carboline alkaloids was significantly increased when the roots of the plant samples were extracted at 100 °C.
▶ Eurycoma longifolia has different metabolite profiles dependent on the geographical origin. ▶ Leucine based peptide has been identified as marker in the room temperature extracts. ▶ A new hydroxyl methyl β-carboline propionic acid has been identified in the 100 °C extracts. ▶ Eurycomanone and its derivatives present in the highest amount compared to other groups. ▶ The concentration of alkaloids was higher than quassinoids in the 100 °C extracts.
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."
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.
The record number of migrants arriving in Greece had a direct knock-on effect on the Western Balkan route, as the people who entered the EU in Greece tried to make their way via the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia into Hungary and Croatia and then towards western Europe. This led to unprecedented numbers of migrants seeking to re-enter the EU through Hungary’s borders with Serbia. After Hungary completed the construction of a fence on its border with Serbia in September, the flow of migrants shifted to Croatia. In all of 2015, the region recorded 764 000 detections of illegal border crossings by migrants, a 16-fold rise from 2014. The top-ranking nationality was Syrian, followed by Iraqis and Afghans. Earlier in the year, unprecedented numbers of Kosovo* nationals crossed the Serbian-Hungarian border illegally.
*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.
Trends prior to 2015 The route became a popular passageway into the EU in 2012 when Schengen visa restrictions were relaxed for five Balkan countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia and former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
In 2013, some 20,000 people crossed the Hungarian border illegally. Nearly all of them applied for asylum after crossing. They were encouraged by a change to Hungarian law that allowed asylum seekers to be transferred to open holding centres, which they absconded soon after. In July, the Hungarian authorities further amended asylum legislation and strengthened their border controls. Migrant flows from Greece tailed off, but overall numbers rose dramatically again in 2014.
Feminism, by creating artificial scarcity of sexual resources, is responsible for much of the deadly infighting among men, as well as male suicides.
Pubblicato il 1 dicembre 2014 17.00 | Ultimo aggiornamento: 28 novembre 2014 15.18
ROMA – Il viagra naturale esiste. Anzi, ne esistono ben sei varianti. Si chiamano griffonia, seronea repens, horny goat weed, maca, tribulus e butea superba. Sono sei piante che forniscono, sugli uomini, gli stessi effetti della pillola blu, ma costa di meno e ha meno controindicazioni.
Vediamole un po’.
EPIDEMIUM, noto anche come HORNY GOAT WEED (erba della capra appassionata): è un vasodilatatore naturale che permette di ottenere effetti rapidi e che durano a lungo. Il suo nome deriva dall’essere stato scoperto per il suo effetto sulle capre.
GRIFFONIA SIMPLICIFOLIA: questa pianta originaria dell’Africa viene usata anche come antidepressivo naturale: è, infatti, un precursore naturale della serotonina, neurotrasmettitore che ha riflessi su funzioni fisiologiche come sonno, umore, appetito e desiderio sessuale. I semi permettono agli uomini con eiaculazione precoce di controllare di più l’orgasmo, e quindi di proseguire il rapporto sessuale più a lungo
BUTEA SUPERBA: questa pianta originaria della Thailandia è usata da secoli come afrodisiaco naturale. Come nel caso dell’Epidemium, ha un effetti vasodilatatore ma non fa aumentare le frequenze cardiache. Può essere presa in capsule orali o in gel.
MACA: è una pianta originaria delle Ande. Le sue foglie vengono masticate per mantenere un fisico più prestante ad alta quota. Meglio assumerla di mattina, dal momento che è un eccitante come la caffeina. Oltre a favorire il desiderio sessuale stimola la produzione di spermatozoi e la loro mobilità, favorendo la fertilità maschile.
SERONEA REPENS: conosciuta anche come palmetto rosso, questa pianta aiuta nel caso di ipertrofia prostatica, problema che affligge molti uomini dopo i 40 anni, e che consiste nell’ingrossamento della prostata e nella difficoltà a mantenere l’erezione.
TRIBULUS: questa pianta indiana è in grado di attivare il testosterone, utile per ravvivare il desiderio sessuale e contrastare la stanchezza, anche negli sportivi. Il Tribulus è efficace anche come anabolizzante e stimolante sessuale maschile. Va però consumato puro per evitare effetti collatterali.
There has been significant public outcry in Japan following the kidnapping and murder of an elementary school girl in Nara, Japan and the arrest of a suspected lolicon for the crimes.
CASPAR, a Japanese non-profit-organization founded in 1989, is campaigning for regulation regarding the depiction of of minors in pornographic magazines and adult video games. Caspar states that it has been collecting sample material for several years.
Caspar founder Kondo Mitsue states, "For 5 or 6 years we have been collecting material, and the so called bishoujo adult anime magazines and bishoujo adult anime simulation games are terrible. Grown men manipulate childlike little girls, themes of turning them into slaves to have one's own sexual desires fulfilled being very common. "
According to Kondo the characters of these games and magazines are often clearly meant to be elementary aged school-children.
Producers of the lolicon and bishoujo material often argue that the Japanese constitution guarantees their freedom of expression in this matter and that laws restricting these materials would be unconstitutional. Kondo however counters this stating that "The utmost priority of the constitution is to guarantee fundamental human rights. I believe the freedom of expression does not allow for the depiction of little girls being violently raped, depriving them of their basic human rights."
She states that there is no country in the world that pays as little attention to Child Pornography as Japan.
CASPAR has collected 7,000 signatures on a petition to have the Japanese legal code revised in respect to virtual child pornography. In addition, 16 member of the Diet and several members of congress have pledged to support such measures.
Kondo founded CASPAR in 1989 after learning of the child prostitution issues in Thailand. The organization has built around 20 schools for children in Thailand and the Philippines. It was officially recognized as a legal non-profit-organization in 2003 and has 770 members nationwide. CASPAR believes that child prostitution and child pornography have common roots and that by regulating child pornography, the fight against child prostitution will be aided.
In 2002 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a 6-year-old law banning virtual child pornography. The subsequent "Child Obscenity and Pornography Prevention Act of 2002 banned only virtual images that are indistinguishable from real child porn, and prohibits all obscene pornographic images of prepubescent children.
Erectile dysfunction is mostly a vascular disease. Shockwave therapy, as commonly applied by Thai urologists, causes total neovascularization of the vital organ. The result: super erections, even at age 75.
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