Don’t think too positive

New York 1956 – Eve Arnold – Image Edited By Web Investigator 

Fantasies about the future have a troubling effect on achieving actual goals. If positive thinking doesn’t work, what does?

By Gabriele Oettingen is a professor of psychology at New York University and the University of Hamburg. Her latest book is Rethinking Positive Thinking: Inside the New Science of Motivation (2014)

Do you believe that positive thinking can help you achieve your goals? Many people today do. Pop psychology and the $12 billion self-help industry reinforce a widespread belief that positive thinking can improve our moods and lead to beneficial life changes. In her book The Secret Daily Teachings (2008), the self-help author Rhonda Byrne suggested that: ‘Whatever big thing you are asking for, consider having the celebration nowas though you have received it.’

Yet research in psychology reveals a more complicated picture. Indulging in undirected positive flights of fancy isn’t always in our interest. Positive thinking can make us feel better in the short term, but over the long term it saps our motivation, preventing us from achieving our wishes and goals, and leaving us feeling frustrated, stymied and stuck. If we really want to move ahead in our lives, engage with the world and feel energised, we need to go beyond positive thinking and connect as well with the obstacles that stand in our way. By bringing our dreams into contact with reality, we can unleash our greatest energies and make the most progress in our lives.

Now, you might wonder if positive thinking is really as harmful as I’m suggesting. In fact, it is. In a number of studies over two decades, my colleagues and I have discovered a powerful link between positive thinking and poor performance. In one study, we asked college students who had a crush on someone from afar to tell us how likely they would be to strike up a relationship with that person. Then we asked them to complete some open-ended scenarios related to dating. ‘You are at a party,’ one scenario read. ‘While you are talking to [your crush], you see a girl/boy, whom you believe [your crush] might like, come into the room. As she/he approaches the two of you, you imagine…’

Some of the students completed the scenarios by spinning a tale of romantic success. ‘The two of us leave the party, everyone watches, especially the other girl.’ Others offered negative fantasies about love thwarted: ‘My crush and the other girl begin to converse about things which I know nothing. They seem to be much more comfortable with each other than he and I….’

We checked back with the students after five months to see if they had initiated a relationship with their crush. The more students had engaged in positive fantasies about the future, the less likely they were actually to have started up a romantic relationship.

My colleagues and I performed such studies with participants in a number of demographic groups, in different countries, and with a range of personal wishes, including health goals, academic and professional goals, and relationship goals. Consistently, we found a correlation between positive fantasies and poor performance. The more that people ‘think positive’ and imagine themselves achieving their goals, the less they actually achieve.

Positive thinking impedes performance because it relaxes us and drains the energy we need to take action. After having participants in one studypositively fantasise about the future for as little as a few minutes, we observed declines in systolic blood pressure, a standard measure of a person’s energy level. These declines were significant: whereas smoking a cigarette will typically raise a person’s blood pressure by five or 10 points, engaging in positive fantasies lowers it by about half as much.

Such relaxation occurs because positive fantasies fool our minds into thinking that we’ve already achieved our goals – what psychologists call ‘mental attainment’. We achieve our goals virtually and thus feel less need to take action in the real world. As a result, we don’t do what it takes to actually succeed in achieving our goals. In multiple experiments, we found that people who positively fantasise about the future don’t, in fact, work as hard as those with more negative, questioning or factual thoughts, and this leaves them to struggle with poorer performance…

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https://aeon.co/essays/thinking-positive-is-a-surprisingly-risky-manoeuvre

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The Invisible Spectrum of Darkness: Phantasmacabre by Camille Rose Garcia

Camille Rose Garcia at opening night for her 'Phantasmacabre' exhibition at Corey Helford Gallery in Downtown Los Angeles on July 16, 2016 #2

One of the principle elements in classic children storytelling, such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, is to throw order into chaos. Childhood is not only a biological state in a person’s life, it is an intellectual rites of passage. A child is expected to live by the conditioning of family and society. They live by rules placed around them for their protection and growth. It is law that a child cultivates an identity. In this regard a child represents order, despite how chaotic their behavior and logic is in reality. But that is why displacing them out of the laws of their governing society into a fantasy world is every child’s dream. Wonderland is a place where one can project their whims and express their self without fear of crossing the borders of morals and ethics.  J.M. Barrie’s Neverland is the projection of the “innocence” or the subconscious state that children still have one foot in before they fully step into the conscious adult world.

In stories like Wonderland and Oz the children do not act whimsically, they act quite orderly. This position allows for the child to reverse roles, where the adults in the fantasy world are the children and the child is the dominating authority of reason. The effect is the adult characters and institutions come off juvenile and irrational. We are left to identify with the one reasonable character in the story who happens to be a child. We are forced to see the world through the eyes of a child.

Camille Rose Garcia

What Are You Looking at Pussy Face, acrylic and watercolor on paper

ACCIDENTAL NIGHTMARE FUEL

Cartoons, especially circa 1930s, painted a world for children that sometimes masked the reality of true American culture. While Dick and Jane were watching rubber hose limb cartoon characters bouncing and bending, black Americans were getting lynched by white mobs. Of course, that statement isn’t entirely true. In the 30s some cartoons did not wear a mask and portrayed black Americans through gross stereotypes such as mammy, pickaninny, and sambo to name a few. Children were conditioned through cartoons to learn the cultural norms of their community, namely to think of black people as second-class citizens. We still see similar versions of this in cinema and television today through the portrayal of Latinos, especially the Latinized version of mammy, the maternal and submissive house servant.

You might have not all had this experience but many people in America experience a sort of waking up when they look back at their childhood and realize how many things the adult world used to condition their young mind, from sugar laced cereal to toys that came with their fast food meals. There is a word for how a commercial economy treats children- exploitation. The purpose of this exploitation is to condition viable consumers to perpetuate the commercial industry that supports this nation’s economy. This is the law that conditions us in America and this is the order that children are raised to imbibe.

Camille Rose Garcia

Sooo Good, acrylic and watercolor on paper

Lowbrow and Pop Surrealist artists create punk wonderlands in which they take the consumer and displace them into an absurd world of surreal consumerism. The audience identifies with the products of consumerism, but the roles have been reversed. These products of pop culture no longer serve our hungers, but serve as transcendent bridges that help us see the absurdity and true intention behind commercial and pop culture.

Camile Rose Garcia’s paintings carry this Lowbrow spirit with images reminiscent of Fleischer cartoons, classic fairy tale characters such as wolves and witches, poison apples, and haunting forests that are familiar visual motifs to American audiences. In Garcia’s Phantasmacabre a recurrent motif is the female in the venomous throes of an anthropomorphic male, often in the figure of a snake or a wolf. But unlike Little Red Riding Hood, the women in the paintings are not helpless creatures, but rather forces that challenge the male figures for control, in some cases literally by having a grip around them. The classic fairy tale places the feminine out of the hands of one oppressive male figure into the hands of another controlling male figure, albeit the latter is usually a knight in shiny armor. The feminine in Phantasmacabre stand alone against the threat of such social toxins and dependency.

Camille Rose Garcia

Lolita Phantasma, acrylic and glitter on wood panel

I’M MELTING! I’M MELTING! OH, WHAT A WORLD!

In Lowbrow and Pop Surrealist art, such as in the works of Camille Rose Garcia, there is a similar principle of throwing order into chaos that is executed on the canvas. In Garcia’s work specifically the fantasy world we enter might be what one would imagine Walt Disney seeing on a bad, or really good, acid trip. Many of her works are playful macabre scenes filled with birds of prey, curious insects, anthropomorphic villains, oozing landscapes, and melting skies.

Like an isolation chamber these dramas are without time and horizon. We are unaware of night or day, nor are we aware of a geographical location, we are isolated in one scenario. But we know we are in a complete space, an ecosystem that does not reason with our perception, similar to a fairy tale world. We need to step out of structures, such as time, to allow ourselves to indulge in fantasy…

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http://disinfo.com/2016/07/invisible-spectrum-darkness-phantasmacabre-camille-rose-garcia/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+disinfo%2FoMPh+%28Disinformation%29

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DECLASSIFIED DOCUMENT: THE U.S. ARMY HAS WEAPONIZED A POKEMON EPISODE

OURCE: ANON HQ

While the Pokemon Go craze continues to spread across the world, a number of troublesome stories about the app and its GPS features are coming to light. While drivers crash into the back of police cars and teenagers mindlessly cross busy highways – whilst searching for their favorite virtual 90s creatures – others are delving into the darker mysteries surrounding the app and Pokemon franchise as a whole.

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An activist discovered a declassified document from the Army’s National Ground Intelligence Center, after filing a Freedom of Information Act request. Shockingly, the report revealed that the U.S. Army intended to weaponise an episode of the popular 90s children’s program, Pokemon.

On December 16, 1997 thousands of children across Japan sat in front of their televisions, eagerly awaiting the latest episode of Pokemon. However, upon watching the episode, as many as 700 children experience seizures and were rushed to hospital.

The episode, called ‘Electric Soldier Porygon’, featured a scene in which Pikachu uses his lightning powers to blow up missiles. The flashing pulses within this scene caused the children to experience the unusual seizures. As a result, the episode was banned from airing, even in edited form. The effects of the episode were so damning, the entire show was removed from the air for four months.

While the world began to speculate what had caused the children’s reaction to the episode, the U.S. Army researched the episode in an attempt to weaponize it. Imagine it: The U.S. Army in possession of a visual weapon that could overload the viewers brain and cause them to convulse.

According to the Army’s findings, the application of “electromagnetic pulses” could force neurons to fire at once, causing a “disruption of voluntary muscle control,” reads a description of the ominous “seizure” weapon, contained with the declassified files.

It is thought by using a method that would actually trigger nerve synapses directly with an electrical field, essentially 100% of individuals would be susceptible to seizure induction.

As reported by Wired Author Spencer Ackerman, the military was in need of a similar weapon, as the TV News had restricted the military’s ability to kill its way to victory. “You don’t win unless CNN says you win,” highlights the report.

So, if all this evidence is true, why are U.S. soldiers not running around with seizure guns? Simple: if anchors around the world began reporting that the U.S. were using invisible pain rays, the news would not be well received.

Despite this, the U.S. military’s revolutionary Pokemon Weapon is able to disrupt chemicals in the brain and induce an immediate seizure in 100 percent of the population.

The onset of synchony and disruption of muscular control is said to be near instantaneous,” the 1997 Army report reads.Excitation is directly on the brain.” And “100% of the population” is supposed to be susceptible to the effects — from distances of “up to hundreds of meters” — “[r]ecovery times are expected to be consistent with, or more rapid than, that which is observed in epileptic seizures.

While many would likely assume other seizure inducing studies played a primary role in the weapons development, the report itself contains extracts that will expel this theory.

“The photic-induced seizure phenomenon was borne out demonstrably on December 16, 1997 on Japanese television when hundreds of viewers of a popular cartoon were treated, inadvertently, to photic seizure induction,” the analysis noted.

Although the Army has denied any such weapon exists, history shows us the Army is not always forthcoming with the truth.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Declassified_Document%3A_The_U.S._Army_has_Weaponized_a_Pokemon_Episode/52936/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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Look up! 5 planets will align in the night sky next month

Eliot Herman/Flickr

Last time until 2018.

by JACINTA BOWLER

Stargazers, get ready for an awesome natural phenomenon next month – five bright planets in our Solar System will align in the night sky, and will all be visible with the naked eye.

If you find a dark enough vantage point, you’ll be able to check out Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn tracing a glorious line away from the setting sun.

“The fainter planets that lie closer to the Sun, such as Mercury and Venus, will be difficult to see so it is best to wait until after sunset for the twilight to fully fade, but before the planets set,” said Alan Duffy, an astronomer with Swinburne University of Technology in Australia.

“The planets stretch across the sky, anchored to the horizon following the setting Sun,” he added.

“This is because the entire Solar System is flat like an old vinyl record with the planets moving along these grooves of the record. Looking out from the Earth we will see this as a straight line, known as the ecliptic plane, tracing across the sky.”

Depending on where you are in the world, the best date and time to watch the skies will be different, but Duffy says that the challenge is to ensure that you don’t end up missing Venus or Mercury as they move below the horizon.

“For Australia it’s best to look west by 7pm towards the end of August,” he said.“If you’re in Europe or North America you need to wait later for the Sun to set around 9pm. Even then, the further you are from the equator the less time you’ll have before the planets appear to vanish beneath the horizon.”

So, in other words, it will be a quick dash between the time the Sun sets enough to see the planets, but before they get too low on the horizon. You can minimise any issues you might encounter though, by finding a flat plane and a dark unobstructed view.

“The best time to look is either side of the full Moon on 18 August as the light from the Moon washes out the fainter planets,” Duffy says. “The most difficult planets to spot will be those fainter ones close to the horizon, so make sure to find somewhere dark with as clear a view as possible to the west where the Sun has set, meaning no low lying buildings or trees.”

But seriously, you guys have got this! Getting out into darkness and nature have other benefits as well, so who’s keen on a camping trip at the end of August? If you time it right, you might be able to see the tail end of the Perseids meteor shower, too.

 “The event this year is your last chance to see all the visible planets together in the same night sky until 2018. It’s a reminder of the size of the Solar System that these giant planets stretching over enormous distances appear to us no more than delicate lights strung across the sky,” said Duffy.

Count us in.

 http://www.sciencealert.com/look-up-5-planets-will-align-in-the-night-sky-next-month
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Why Exhaustion and Burnout Are So Common

(Credit: Alamy)

Author: David Robson

More and more people are suffering ‘burnout’ – but is this the fault of modern life or is physical, mental and spiritual exhaustion a far older condition? BBC Future investigates.

A few years ago, Anna Katharina Schaffner became the latest victim of the exhaustion ‘epidemic’. It began with a kind of mental and physical inertia – as she put it, a “sense of heaviness” in all that she did. Even the most mundane tasks would sap her of all her energy, and concentrating on her work became increasingly difficult.

Yet when she tried to relax, she would find herself obsessively checking her emails at all hours, as if relief for her ennui would suddenly ping into her inbox. Alongside the weariness came feelings of emotional despondency: “I was disenchanted, disillusioned and hopeless.”

All the commentators represented our age as the most terrible one out there – that it’s the absolute apocalypse for our energy reserves

These feelings will be familiar to countless others, from Pope Benedict XVI to Mariah Carey, who have been diagnosed with exhaustion. If the media are to be believed, it is a purely modern ailment; almost every time Schaffner turned on the TV, she would see a debate on the trials we face in our 24/7 culture. “All the commentators represented our age as the most terrible one out there – that it’s the absolute apocalypse for our energy reserves,” she says.

But can that really be true? Or are periods of lethargy and detachment as inevitable a part of human life as head colds and broken limbs?

A literary critic and medical historian at the University of Kent in the UK, Schaffner decided to investigate further. The result is her new book Exhaustion: A History, a fascinating study of the ways in which doctors and philosophers have understood the limits of the human mind, body – and energy.

German doctors found that nearly 50% of physicians appeared to be suffering ‘burnout’, reporting, for instance, that they feel tired during every single hour of the day and that the mere thought of work in the morning left them feeling exhausted. Interestingly, men and women seem to deal with burnout in different ways: one recent Finnish survey found that male employees reporting exhaustion were far more likely to take extended sick leave than burned out women, for instance.

Given that depression also tends to involve lethargy and detachment, some have argued that burnout is just a stigma-free label for the same condition. In her book, Schaffner quotes one German newspaper article that claimed burnout is just a “luxury version” of depression for high-flying professionals. “Only losers become depressive,” the article continued. “Burnout is a diagnosis for winners, or, more specifically, for former winners.”

In general, however, the two conditions are generally considered to be distinct. “Theorists generally agree that depression entails a loss of self-confidence, or even self-hatred or self-contempt, which is not the case for burnout, where the image of the self often remains intact,” Schaffner says. “Anger in burnout is generally not turned against the self but rather against the organisation for which one works, or the clients with whom one works, or the wider socio-political or economic system.” Nor should burnout be confused with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), which involves prolonged periods of excruciating physical and mental exhaustion for at least six months, with many patients reporting physical pain at the slightest activity…

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http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20160721-the-reasons-why-exhaustion-and-burnout-are-so-common

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Engineer finds a huge physics discovery in da Vinci’s ‘irrelevant scribbles’

DaVinci

V&A Museum, London

It was right in front of us all along.

by ALI SUNDERMIER,

Until now, art historians dismissed some doodles in da Vinci’s notebooks as “irrelevant.”

But a new study from Ian Hutchings, a professor at the University of Cambridge, showed that one page of these scribbles from 1493 actually contained something groundbreaking: The first written records demonstrating the laws of friction.

Although it has been common knowledge that da Vinci conducted the first systematic study of friction (which underpins the modern science of tribology, or the study of friction, lubrication, and wear), we didn’t know how and when he came up with these ideas.

Hutchings was able to put together a detailed chronology, pinpointing da Vinci’s “Aha!” moment to a single page of scribbles penned in red chalk in 1493.

According to Gizmodo, the page drew attraction towards the beginning of the 20th century because of a faint etching of a woman near the top, followed by the statement “cosa bella mortal passa e non dura”, which translates to “mortal beauty passes and does not last”.

But a 1920s museum director dismissed the page as “irrelevant notes and diagrams in red chalk”.

Almost a century later, Hutchings thought this page was worth a second look. He discovered that the rough geometrical figures drawn underneath the red notes show rows of blocks being pulled by a weight hanging over a pulley – in exactly the same kind of experiment students might do today to demonstrate the laws of friction.

“The sketches and text show Leonardo understood the fundamentals of friction in 1493,” said Hutchings in a University of Cambridge press release.

“He knew that the force of friction acting between two sliding surfaces is proportional to the load pressing the surfaces together and that friction is independent of the apparent area of contact between the two surfaces. These are the ‘laws of friction’ that we nowadays usually credit to a French scientist, Guillaume Amontons, working two hundred years later.”

Centuries ahead of his time

Hutchings was also able to show how da Vinci went on to use his understanding of friction to sketch designs for complex machines over the next two decades. Da Vinci recognised the usefulness and effectiveness of friction and worked the concept into the behaviour of wheels, axles, and pulleys – integral components of his complicated machines.

“Leonardo’s 20-year study of friction, which incorporated his empirical understanding into models for several mechanical systems, confirms his position as a remarkable and inspirational pioneer of tribology,” Hutchings said.

 http://www.sciencealert.com/engineer-finds-a-huge-physics-discovery-in-da-vinci-s-irrelevant-scribbles
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12 Miraculous Beauty Treatments That Are Complete Bunk

image edited by Web Investigator

You might want to read this before signing up for your sheep placenta facial.

The perfect storm of aging Baby Boomers desperate to reclaim their youth, Gen-Xers anxious to retain it, a well-funded industry happy to sell them products, and a celebrity-obsessed media allowing claims of efficacy with little or no scrutiny, has resulted in a glut of beauty products whose legitimacy is questionable at best. We hear that Kate Middleton uses a bee venom facial to keep her face young and wrinkle-free, with no evidence as to how that might be so. Ditto when we read about Demi Moore using leeches, or Katie Holmes using snails. And there is the poster child of celebrity beauty tips, Gwyneth Paltrow, founder of alt-beauty and health website Goop.com and famous proponent of master cleanses, detoxs and vaginal steams. Paltrow reportedly spends $21,000 a month to keep up her beauty regimen.

Big Beauty is a master of using pseudoscientific terms and clinical “studies” to validate its products. The truth is, there is next to no meaningful research out there on beauty products. The studies that are cited are usually from researchers funded by the industry itself. In place of real science we get testimonies and assurances from celebrities and paid spokesmodels, often reported by magazines that have a vested interest in distributing “tips” to their readers. Meanwhile, a recent study found that only 18% of all the claims made in commercials by cosmetic companies were accurate, and that fully half of the brands the researchers looked at made claims that were either false or entirely subjective.

But the weird thing about beauty is that most people know this and still buy the products. The University of Guelph in Canada did a study in 2010 in which women were asked about anti-aging products. The majority of the participants were skeptical of the effectiveness of the products, yet it made no difference. “So many of the women we spoke with were aware of the gimmicks and doubted the level of effectiveness of the products, but they still used them,” said Amy Muise, the study’s co-author.

The breadth and variety of bogus beauty treatments is impressive. Here are 12 of the most dubious.

1. Dry shampoo

Touted as a way to save time in the morning by skipping washing and drying your hair, while at the same time preventing overwashing, dry shampoos have been gaining in popularity. Just spray it on (most dry shampoos are rice or oat starch) and it soaks up the excess oil in your hair, leaves a pleasant just-washed smell, and out the door you go. One tiny problem: dry shampoo can cause your hair to fall out.

Sonia Batra, a Los Angeles dermatologist, told the Atlantic that dry shampoo, “deposits substances to coat the follicle that can build up. The resulting inflammation can weaken the follicles and increase shedding. These products can also cause hair follicles to stick together, so that a hair that would normally shed during brushing may take two or three strands along with it.” Then again, having no hair rids you of the problem of needing to wash it.

2. Semen facial aka the man moisturizer.

OK, so even Big Beauty isn’t touching this one, but actress Heather Locklear apparently swears by spreading a little man-juice on the face to rejuvenate the skin and eliminate wrinkles. Maybe this is how porn stars retain their youthful looks, either that or just being young. Popular beauty blogger Tracy Kiss concurs, and her YouTube video on the topic of semen facials has been viewed over a million times, veering into online porn viewership numbers. There is, you should know, no basis for this treatment.

“There is no evidence-based medicine behind it. No science at all,” Lisa Kellett, a Toronto dermatologist told the Toronto Star. It turns out that the molecular structure of semen prevents it from actually being absorbed by the skin. Stick to regular moisturizers, which are molecularly formulated to be absorbed.

3. Vampire facial.

First pump up the face with a dermal filler called hyaluronic acid. Then take some of your own blood, usually from the arm, use a centrifuge to extract platelet rich plasma (PRP), and in a series of injections, return that PRP back into your face. The theory is that the blood platelets contain growth factors that will repair your skin and restore your youthful glow. The treatment has been used in the past to accelerate the healing of burns and wounds, and athletes like Kobe Bryant and Rafael Nadal have undergone it to help recover from injuries. However, there is zero science behind its efficacy as a facial. Still, Kim Kardashian swears by it, so it must be true…

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http://www.alternet.org/culture/12-miraculous-beauty-treatments-are-complete-bunk

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THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN IS A GOOD THING (IF YOU’RE A DRUG-DEALER)

SOURCE: MNAR MUHAWESH VIA MINTPRESSNEWS.COM

The “War on Drugs” and the “War on Terror” are more intertwined than that media and our elected officials would like us to think.

And this became full front and center when the U.S.-led global crusades overlapped in Afghanistan, leaving in their wake a legacy of death, addiction and government corruption tainting Afghan and American soil.

In the U.S., the War in Afghanistan is among the major contributing factors to the country’s devastating heroin epidemic.

Over 10,000 people in America died of heroin-related overdoses in 2014 alone– an epidemic fuelled partly by the low cost and availability of one of the world’s most addictive, and most deadly, drugs.

Despite our promises to eradicate the black market, the U.S. actually enables the illegal drug trade. As journalist Abby Martin writes, the U.S. government has had a long history of facilitating the global drug trade: In the 1950s, it allowed opium to be moved, processed and trafficked throughout the Golden Triangle in Southeast Asia while it trained Taiwanese troops to fight Communist China. In the 80s, the CIA provided logistical and financial support to anti-Communist Contras in Nicaragua who were also known international drug traffickers.

Since the DEA got the boot from the Bolivian government in 2008, cocaine production in that country has steadily fallen year after year.

And in 2012, a Mexican government official claimed that rather than fighting drug traffickers, youthe CIA and other international security forces are actually trying to “manage the drug trade.”

“It’s like pest control companies, they only control,” Guillermo Terrazas Villanueva, the Chihuahua spokesman, told Al Jazeera. “If you finish off the pests, you are out of a job. If they finish the drug business, they finish their jobs.”

While there is no conclusive proof that the CIA is physically running opium out of Afghanistan,  Martin notes:

“[I]t’s hard to believe that a region under full US military occupation – with guard posts and surveillance drones monitoring the mountains of Tora Bora – aren’t able to track supply routes of opium exported from the country’s various poppy farms (you know, the ones the US military are guarding).”

Ironically, it was the U.S. mission to obliterate the Taliban in the “War on Terror” that turned Afghanistan into a “narco state.”

Prior to the War in Afghanistan, the Taliban actually offered subsidies to farmers to grow food crops not drugs.

In the summer of 2000, Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar announced a total ban on the cultivation of opium poppy, the plant from which heroin is made. Those caught planting poppies in Taliban-controlled parts of the country were beaten and marched through villages with motor oil on their faces.

The only opium harvest the following spring was in the northeast, in an area controlled by the Taliban’s rivals, the Northern Alliance. That year, as Matthieu Aikins reported for Rolling Stone in 2012, “Opium production fell from an estimated 3,276 tons in 2000 to 185 tons in 2001.”

But then 9/11 hit and the Bush administration pushed into Afghanistan once again, carrying the banner of the “War on Terror.”

“When the Taliban fled or went into hiding, the farmers lost their financial support to grow food, and returned to growing heroin, a crop that thrives in regions of Afghanistan,” as Dr. Steven Kassels noted in a 2015 piece for Social Justice Solutions.

Seeking a “light footprint” in Afghanistan, the U.S. and our allies teamed up with what Aikins describes as “anti-Taliban warlords.” Aikins reported: “Within six months of the U.S. invasion, the warlords we backed were running the opium trade, and the spring of 2002 saw a bumper harvest of 3,400 tons.”

That’s right: The War in Afghanistan saw the country’s practically dead opium industry expanded dramatically. By 2014, Afghanistan was producing twice as much opium as it did in 2000. By 2015, Afghanistan was the source of 90 percent of the world’s opium poppy.

Since 2001, the U.S. has poured billions into counternarcotics programs in Afghanistan. How could this industry flourish right under the nose of the U.S. and our allies? Well, quite simply, because we let it: Aikins alleges that the DEA, FBI, the Justice Department and the Treasury ALL knew about their corrupt allies in the country, but did nothing to pursue them because it would have derailed the troop surge.

“The drug is entwined with the highest levels of the Afghan government and the economy in a way that makes the cocaine business in Escobar-era Colombia look like a sideshow,” Aikins writes, later noting: “On the ground, American commanders’ short-term imperatives of combat operations and logistics trumped other advisers’ long-term concerns over corruption, narcotics and human rights abuses, every time.”

But where did it all go? Well, as Aikins reported, Afghanistan’s “borders leak opium like sieves into five neighboring countries.”

The increased supply flooded European, Asian and Middle Eastern markets. And with Europe no longer reaching out to opium producers in South America and Mexico, that excess flooded the American market. Prices fell everywhere, making heroin dangerously cheap and dangerously accessible.

And this is where we find ourselves today: Heroin, one of the most addictive and deadly substances on Earth, can be found for as little a $4 a bag in some American cities.

Between 2002 and 2013, heroin-related overdose deaths quadrupled. In 2014, more than 10,000 people died of heroin overdoses in America. Should we add these casualties to the 3,504 U.S. and coalition soldiers who died in the war, or the 26,000 dead Afghan civilians?

And heroin use is up across the entire population. Age, sex, race, income, location — it doesn’t matter.And, as the CDC notes, “Some of the greatest increases occurred in demographic groups with historically low rates of heroin use: women, the privately insured, and people with higher incomes.”

Unfortunately, it’s not just the U.S. suffering under the weight of a heroin addiction that’s hit epidemic proportions: Afghanistan, which has a long cultural tradition of smoking opium, is dealing not just with its status as a “narco state,” as Aikins described it, but also with the health and social ills stemming from increased heroin use.

In the process of waging a “War on Terror,” we lost the “War on Drugs.” Both wars deal in corruption and violence, and they put real human lives on the line — not just on the battlefield, but in the fields where farmers cultivate crops and in the neighborhoods where people live.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/The_War_In_Afghanistan_Is_A_Good_Thing_%28If_You%27re_A_Drug-Dealer%29/52914/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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Posted in Curiositys, Drugs, Freak U.S.A, Health, Mafia, Manipulation, Military, Politics, Unbelievable, War | Leave a comment

WHAT THE FUCK ?

Airport workers left left stunned as to just what the strange blue shape was in the night sky

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/embed/video/1312341.html

Incoming! Airport workers’ disbelief as ‘UFO’ trailing blue smoke flies over the runway

  • Workers stopped what they were doing to crane their necks to the sky
  • Object spotted speeding through atmosphere, with plume of blue smoke
  • Commentators online believe it could be a rocket or missile launch 

Airport workers were left scratching their heads after spotting what looked like a giant UFO in the sky.

The incredible footage, believed to have been filmed at Miami Airport, led to those on the tarmac whipping out their camera phones to snap the strange phenomenon.

‘Check that out, woah, it’s going to hit the plane,’ shouts one man, as the strange blue shape moves through the sky…

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3704560/Incoming-Airport-workers-disbelief-UFO-trailing-blue-smoke-flies-runway.html#ixzz4FG7JQZr1
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Posted in UFO, Unbelievable, WHAT THE FUCK ? | Leave a comment

Can This App Make Me Happier?

Chelsea Beck

For months I tried doing little tasks designed to improve my life, hoping they would add up to something big

by JULIE BECK

“Happiness. It’s winnable.” This is the dubious assertion that greets me on the Happify website, before I click “Start my journey” and sign up for the service.

I begin my journey in January. It seems like as good a time as any to try to become happier. The holidays are over. The long, bleak, shut-in months of winter stretch ahead of me. Few of the variables in my life are likely to change. There is unlikely to be a new job or relationship, or a move that would skew my happiness readings one way or another. Of course you can’t measure your happiness in a vacuum—and you probably wouldn’t be very happy in a vacuum anyway—but if there really is an app that can make you happier, I wanted to try it when my life was relatively stable. I decided to do it for a month.

Happify is a self-improvement program offered in both website and app form. It claims “your emotional well-being can be measured,” measures it for you, and provides little tasks and games to help you increase it. The company was founded by Ofer Leidner and Tomer Ben-Kiki, who previously ran an online gaming company called iPlay. About four years ago, Leidner and Ben-Kiki developed an interest in positive psychology and mindfulness, and wondered if they could pair it with their online gaming expertise. According to Leidner, they thought, “the models for delivering anything around mental health were clearly, in our mind at least, ripe for some disruption.”

Happify is technically free, but to access more advanced options, and detailed statistics, you have to pay—$11.99 a month (or less if you sign up for six months or a year all in one go).

On day one of my experiment, I felt fine. I know because in my notes I wrote, “I feel … fine.” I usually feel fine. There may be people in this world who experience a range of deep and intense emotions on an average day, but I am not one of those people. In the end our hearts are black boxes, known only to ourselves. My heart is usually fine.

After answering some questions about my age, work, relationship, and child-bearing status, as well as things like “Do you have a hard time bouncing back after adversity?” and “Do you ever pause and say ‘Gee my life is pretty darn boring?’” Happify recommends some “tracks” to me. (Surveys like this always make me overthink everything—it’s like taking a pop quiz where you know the material, but there’s still the nagging doubt of “Is this right, though?”) I choose a track called “Nurture Your Body and Soul,” despite the title, because it’s free.

My home screen now had a list of activities available for me, plus a preview of upcoming ones, and then a box called “My Skills,” which contains five Candyland-colored symbols: A purple ice-cream cone labeled “Savor,” an orange handshake (Thank), a blue mountain (Aspire), a green present (Give), and a red heart with a hand on it (Empathize). Each has a corresponding status bar that would fill up like a thermometer the more activities I did. I hadn’t done any yet, so all of mine were empty…

more…

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2016/07/can-this-app-make-me-happier/490049/

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Posted in Bizarre, Brain, Living, Media&Culture, Psychology, Technology | Leave a comment