Archive for January, 2017


DRUGS

Photo Illustration: R. A. Di Ieso

Doctors worried that contaminated drugs may be to blame

A mysterious wave of people coming down with amnesia over the past four years has spooked public health experts in Massachusetts, as well as the Centers and Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And the only connection between the victims appears to be the use of opioids and other recreational drugs.

In this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, published by the CDC, doctors detailed the seeming outbreak.

The first cases were found by Boston neurologist Dr. Jed Barash in November 2015. The four patients he saw had suffered sudden, unexplained memory loss along with other neurological impairments, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exams revealed that the blood supply to their hippocampus, a region of the brain important for memory, had been temporarily cut off — a stroke, in other words. Afterwards, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) stepped in and asked doctors around the state to notify them of any similar cases they had come across since 2012. That led to another ten victims being identified.

“None of the patients had any blood vessel disease” that would cause that sort of stroke and accompanying amnesia, Dr. Alfred Demaria Jr. of the MDPH told Vocativ. All of them, however, either tested positive for drugs or had a history of substance abuse, most often involving opioids. “It might be a toxic exposure affecting this particular part of the brain, causing dysfunction and damage,” said Demaria.

Without going so far as to concretely declare drugs the culprit, Demaria and his colleagues are still worried these cases could be a sign of a bigger problem, especially since it seems capable of striking the young and old alike. Six victims were 30 or younger, with the youngest being 19.

Twelve patients were reported to have used opioids in the past; six had a history of using tranquilizers; six with marijuana; and five with cocaine. The only patient who didn’t report a past substance use disorder nonetheless tested positive for both opioids and cocaine when first seen by doctors.

But while there have been isolated reports of drug use, particularly heroin and cocaine, causing this kind of specific brain damage, the sudden bunching together of cases over so short a time period has led Demaria and his team to suspect there’s more going on. It might not be the drugs themselves, but something else that they’ve been laced or contaminated with. Adding support to that theory is the rise of synthetic drugs in recent years that mimic classic versions of heroin and marijuana, and which are often spiked with chemicals to increase their potency or volume. On the other hand, it could also just be a very rare but up until now unnoticed side-effect of a typical overdose, Demaria conceded.

While there was only information available on a few patients’ health after their initial visit, the outcomes varied. “Some patients get their complete memory back, and some are left with residual short-term memory deficits,” Demaria said. One patient in particular, a 22-year-old man, was still coping with memory and learning problems two years later. Another 41-year old man had severe short term amnesia eight weeks later, and eventually died from cardiac arrest 9 months later.

Framing their report as a bat-signal to the rest of the medical community, Demaria hopes that more research can get to the bottom of this mystery.

“It may turn out that all we’ve done is uncover something that’s been going on for a long time, and it may or may not be related to substance use,” Demaria said. “But we think the evidence suggests that this is a problem that needs to be investigated.”

In particular, they’d like to see research that focuses on finding and following cases as they happen. And at the very least, they’d like doctors to be aware that this could be a potential complication of drug abuse.

http://www.vocativ.com/397240/amnesia-wave-opioids-contamination/

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The Dachstein glacier in Austria has retreated by hundreds of feet in just a few decades. (Photo: Bob Berwyn)

New research firms up links between climate change and extreme weather, and also tells us which countries are most at risk.

By Bob Berwyn

Even as United States President Donald Trump continues to make worrisome moves on climate policy in his first week in office, the rest of the world continues to treat the issue as deadly serious. This week, the European Environment Agency released its latest report, which clearly spells out the threat of rising sea levels and more extreme weather, such as more frequent and more intense heatwaves, flooding, droughts, and storms due to climate change.

The report — updated every four years — says more flexible adaptation strategies are crucial to mitigating these effects. Climate-related extreme events in EEA member countries have accounted for more than 400 billion euros in economic losses since 1980, according to the report.

One of the important new findings in the report is that there was no global warming pause between 1998 and 2012, as had been suggested by some temperature record evaluations later shown to be flawed.

“There was talk of hiatus. Now we have three years in a row breaking temperature records, and nobody is talking about a pause, so we see more clearly the need to prepare for the impacts,” says Hans-Martin Füssel, an expert on vulnerability and adaptation at the EEA. “There is climate change, it’s occurring more rapidly than one had assumed, and there’s an increased urgency for policies to address that.”

“There is also better understanding of the connection between climate change and extreme events,” Füssel adds, referring to the expanding field of attribution studies that show how global warming is making particular extreme weather events more common. “We now have more data showing clearly that heavy precipitation events have increased in the last few decades. We have a better understanding that global warming is driving extreme events.”

The study also warns that global warming will accelerate the spread of diseases like vibriosis, a seafood-borne illness that threatens more than 10 million people in the Baltic region. Each year in the U.S., vibriosis kills about 100 people and makes 80,000 more sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Füssel says the new report identifies imminent climate-change hotspots on the continent, with more negative impacts expected in southern and southeastern Europe, including the Balkans and Mediterranean — regions that have already seen large increases in heat extremes alongside decreases in precipitation and river flows. Those developments have heightened the risk of more severe droughts, lower crop yields, biodiversity loss, and forest fires.

Coastal areas and floodplains in western parts of Europe are also seen as hotspots, as they face an increased risk of flooding from rising sea levels and a possible increase in storm surges.

Other recent studies have shown a dramatic decline in the snow season in the Swiss Alps, and the meltdown of glaciers in the Alps has also been well-documented.

The European Union is on an aggressive path to cut carbon emissions by at least 80 percent by 2050, and many of the E.U.’s member states have even more ambitious goals, including Germany, which is aiming to decarbonize completely by mid-century, and Austria, which has warmed at twice the global average and is preparing a very detailed adaptation plan.

This week, E.U. leaders also vowed to maintain the Green Climate Fund, a pool of money created by developed countries to aid developing nations as they adapt to global warming and help with the shift to renewable energy. Trump has vowed to stop U.S. payments to the fund, but E.U. officials said that, even if that happens, the rest of the world will step up.

https://psmag.com/extreme-weather-is-becoming-more-frequent-and-expensive-in-europe-5aae0be0ccf#.nvqk91nzw

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It’s not just the radiation you’d need to worry about.

 
by FIONA MACDONALD

It’s been more than 70 years since two nuclear bombs were detonated over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, killing at least 129,000 people, and causing devastating, long-term health effects.

To date, those are the only instances of nuclear weapons being used for warfare, but the reality is there are almost 15,000 nuclear warheads remaining in the world today – and many of them are substantially bigger than the ones used during WWII. So, what would happen if nuclear war broke out tomorrow?

Don’t panic – there’s no evidence nuclear war is on the horizon. But in the video below, the team from AsapSCIENCE breaks down the science of nuclear bombs to predict how likely you’d be to survive. Let’s just say, in the case of a nuclear blast, you would want to be wearing white.

First, let’s get this out of the way – there is no clear-cut impact of a single nuclear bomb, because it depends on a whole lot of things, including the weather on the day it’s dropped, the time of day it’s detonated, the geographical layout of where it hits, and whether it explodes on the ground or in the air.

But generally speaking, there are some predictable stages of a nuclear bomb blast.

As the video above explains, approximately 35 percent of the energy of a nuclear blast is released in the form of thermal radiation. And seeing as thermal radiation travels at approximately the speed of light, the first thing that will hit you is a flash of blinding light and heat.

The light itself is enough to cause something called flash blindness – a temporary form of blindness that can last a few minutes.

The AsapSCIENCE video considers a 1 megaton bomb, which is 80 times larger than the bomb detonated over Hiroshima, but much smaller than many modern nuclear weapons (more on that later).

For a bomb that size, people up to 21 km (13 miles) away would experience flash blindness on a clear day, and people up to 85 km (52.8 miles) away would be temporarily blinded on a clear night.

Heat is an issue for those closer to the blast. Mild, first degree burns can occur up to 11 km (6.8 miles) away, and third degree burns – the kind that destroy and blister skin tissue – could affect anyone up to 8 km (5 miles) away.

Third degree burns that cover more than 24 percent of the body will likely be fatal if people don’t receive medical care immediately. 

Those distances are variable, depending not just on the weather, but also on what you’re wearing – white clothes can reflect some of the energy of a blast, while darker clothes will absorb it.

That’s unlikely to make much difference for those unfortunate enough to be at the centre of the explosion, though.

The temperatures near the site of the bomb blast during the Hiroshima explosion were estimated to be 300,000 degrees Celsius (540,000 degrees Fahrenheit) – which is 300 times hotter than the temperature bodies are cremated at, so humans were almost instantly reduced to their most basic minerals.

But for those slightly further away from the centre of the blast, that’s not what’s most likely to kill you.

As the video above explains, most of the energy released in a nuclear explosion is in the blast, which drives air away from the site of the explosion, creating sudden changes in air pressure that can crush objects and knock down buildings.

Within a 6-km (3.7-mile) radius of a 1-megaton bomb, blast waves will produce 180 tonnes of force on the walls of all two-storey buildings, and wind speeds of 255 km/h (158 mph).

In a 1-km (0.6-mile) radius, the peak pressure is four times that amount, and wind speeds can reach 756 km/h (470 mph).

Technically, humans can withstand that much pressure, but most people would be killed by falling buildings.

If you somehow survive all of that, there’s still the radiation poisoning to deal with – and the nuclear fallout.

We’ll let AsapSCIENCE explain that in the video above, but the ongoing effects on the planet of that fallout are longer-lasting than you might expect.

Again, all of this is hypothetical, there are international treaties in place to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, so we hope you never need to know any of this information for real.

But before we let you go, we should touch on the fact that 1 megaton bombs are barely the standard these days – the largest nuclear weapon ever tested is the 50 megaton Tsar bomb that was dropped on an isolated island in Russia, and released roughly the energy of 3,333 Hiroshima bombs combined.

If you want to put that in perspective, check out the anxiety-inducing video below:

http://www.informationliberation.com/?id=56195

 

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Resultado de imagem para Participants in the 'Loucura Suburbana' (Suburban Madness) Carnival street parade organised by the Nise da Silveira mental health institution,

Image edited by Web Investigator – Participants in the ‘Loucura Suburbana’ (Suburban Madness) Carnival street parade organised by the Nise da Silveira mental health institution, February 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The ‘bloco’ aims to integrate patients with neighbourhood residents while promoting acceptance and blurring the lines defining mental illness. Photo by Mario Tama/Getty

Are you average? Typical? Ideal? Adequate? The idea of ‘normal’ is a historical construct and it’s time we got rid of it

Jonathan Sholl is an assistant professor in philosophy of science and medical philosophy at Aarhus University in Denmark. His research focuses on naturalising the concepts of health and disease via systems biology, the sociological and anthropological debates about medicalisation, and the tradition of historical epistemology.

The problem of variation haunts medical science. In the 19th century, one of the founders of experimental medicine, the French physiologist Claude Bernard, claimed that individual variability was an obstacle to medical judgment. If we could show that the abnormal was a mere quantitative deviation from the normal, he wrote, we would possess the key to treating any given individual, no matter how he or she veered from the rest. After all, if the pathological is merely a deviation from the normal, then not only the aim but the very possibility of the therapeutic act becomes clear: return the sick individual, organ, cell or system back to a normal state.

This view still guides much of biomedical research; organisms, cells, gene networks and more are routinely perturbed to determine how these systems ‘normally’ function. Researchers disrupt or destroy in order to establish standards and to develop new treatments.

But what are we talking about when we talk about normal physiology? If, as the philosopher Sara Moghaddam-Taaheri wrote in 2011, we see abnormality not as ‘broken normal’ but as a qualitatively different state, it would be difficult to understand how such interventions could restore the sick to health.

While medical researchers might miss such fine points, philosophers of medicine have been parsing the nuances and striving to define ‘normal’ for years. One thought experiment asks us to consider variations on the ends of the spectrum that we would not consider pathological: having green eyes, being colour-blind, being extremely tall or short, having photographic memory, or being a supertaster. These contrast with conditions that could be problematic only in some environments, such as the inability to repair UV damage; with variations that disadvantage only in some cultures or times periods, such as albinism or hearing voices that aren’t there; and with variations so extreme (Tay-Sachs disease, for instance) that they prevent overall functioning.

Yet, even then, life can find a way. For example, there are individuals with a high IQ and otherwise ‘normal’ social life despite having hydrocephalus, a condition in which excessive fluid in the ventricles of the brain enlarges the skull and often results in severe brain damage. How can normality be a scientific concept when its spectrum is so vast? What is normality, really? Do we grasp its meaning? How does one conform to norms?

The Czech philosopher Jiří Vácha provided a helpful taxonomy of normality’s various meanings in 1978. Normality could mean frequent in the sense of being the most common within a population, such as having brown eyes in Mediterranean countries or blue eyes in Nordic countries. It could mean average in the sense of a mathematical mean, such as the average weight or height of a population, often represented with the familiar bell curve, or typical, as in representative of a group, population or general type. Sometimes, normal meant adequate in the sense of being free from defect, deficiency or disorder, and other times it meant optimal in the sense of peak functioning – being physically fit or mentally sharp. Or, it could refer to an ideal Platonic essence, as in the perfect beauty or the perfect body. Finally, there is our basic everyday usage of the word, which often slip-slides among these different meanings and tropes, from the orthodox and standard to what is expected and good.

In any parlance, the specific meaning of ‘normal’ has important consequences, especially if it is given a privileged position in the world. Anything that veers – from having green eyes or hearing voices to living with hydrocephalus – would be abnormal in one sense or another: uncommon, rare, atypical, potentially inadequate, suboptimal or deficient in some way – and in need of being brought back to some norm. Yet, it could be controversial, or just plain odd, to pathologise such variations; especially if they are functional in some way…

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/is-it-time-to-abandon-the-medical-construct-of-being-normal

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(l. Lena Dunham) 
 
Thanks to Cabalist Jewish (Satanic) control of mass media and education, western society resembles a satanic cult which controls and exploits 
its members by making them sick.Consequently what passes for “art” and “entertainment” sentimentalizes and normalizes degradation and dysfunction. 
The HBO series “Girls,” now entering its sixth and final season, is a prime example. 
 
While superbly written and acted, periodically you have to shut your eyes and hold your nose. In a recent rerun, the lead character repeatedly pulls her underwear out of her bum, lances a boil on her ass and pierces an eardrum. Another character performs anal cunnilingus on a woman who must apologize for not having bathed. 
 
Art should show you how to live; not how NOT to live. 
Art should inform, uplift and inspire NOT provide consolation and encouragement for failures and misfits. 
 
“In a healthy society, a train wreck like Lena Dunham would be a painful embarrassment. But in a satanically possessed society, she is the new normal.”
(Updated from Jan 13, 2013)
by Henry Makow Ph.D.

The Illuminati (Cabalist) Jews who run Hollywood have found another
weapon in their war on humanity. It is a “comedy”  that details the squalid sex lives of 20-something girls who are feminist roadkill, (i.e. victims of feminist ideology.)

“Girls,” which won “Best Comedy” at the Golden Globe Awards in 2013, is spreading worldwide like a virus. Its writer, producer and star, Lena Dunham, 30, who won “Best Actress,” has used her wit and chutzpah to market her dysfunctional life as emblematic of her generation.

While most people squirm at the many nauseous sex scenes and the general vacuity of these girls, many in the worldwide audience will miss the intended irony. They will accept Dunham as a role model.

Lena Dunham is rich ( worth $12 million) and famous. How bad could her lifestyle be?

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[At least, Howard Stern wasn’t buying it. He went on a rant about “Girls” last Monday: “It’s a little fat girl who kinda looks like Jonah Hill and she keeps taking her clothes off and it kind of feels like rape… I don’t want to see that. I learned that this little fat chick writes the show and directs the show and that makes sense to me because she’s such a camera hog that the other characters barely are on. Good for her,” Stern concluded. “It’s hard for little fat chicks to get anything going.”]

The Illuminati reward their Illuminati Jewish “change agents” with book contracts. This is where Obama made his millions. Dunham got a $3.7 million advance from Random House for a proposal for an advice book based on her personal history of psychotherapy, anorexia, child molestation (her younger sister), promiscuity and feminist indoctrination.

She can be compared with Betty Friedan (The Feminine Mystique), Helen Gurley Brown (Sex and the Single Girl),  Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues) and Darren Starr ( Sex in the City.) (Interesting that Obama’s mother’s Jewish father was also a Dunham.)

The Illuminati “Culture Division” use these people to normalize the perverse and ugly. It’s all part of humanity’s induction into their satanic cult — Jewish Cabalism– which reverses good and evil, making sick seem healthy.

FEMINISM

What do women really want? They want emotional and material security. They want love, commitment, marriage and children. But feminism has taught them to seek careers instead, (because marriage and family are “oppressive.”)

Young women today are dysfunctional because their minds are at war with their natural instincts.      

In the bad old days, men had to court and marry a woman to get sex. He had to love her. Now, thanks to feminism, women give their bodies first and hope someone eventually will love them afterward. Feminists call this “empowerment.”

Lena Dunham’s generation is a mess because women aren’t equipped to compete in the rat race and be wives and mothers too. Their instincts are telling them one thing, and society another. They have been deliberately sabotaged.

(It’s a question of priority. Someone has to make family number one. That doesn’t mean women shouldn’t have careers. And of course, not all women want families.)

In a healthy society, a train wreck like Lena Dunham would be a painful embarrassment. But in a satanically possessed society, she is the new normal.

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The series opened with Lena’s parents cutting her off financially. She demands an allowance of $1100 a month for 22 mos to finish her “novel.” She even has 6 pages to show them. They laugh in her face. She seeks solace in sex with her loser-boyfriend who is also supported by his family.
Her boyfriend treats her like dirt but she regards sex as a facsimile for love. She’ll have sex with anyone who will have her. In general, the “girls” and their male friends seem unable to communicate without using the coinage of copulation.   

Lena gets a STD from the loser and has a vaginal exam. Meanwhile her friend is having an abortion but miscarries while having sex with a pick up.

Lena has a job interview but sabotages her chances by making an offensive wisecrack. And on it goes, copious animal coupling with a catalog of relationship permutations, female neuroses and toilet accidents.

Now see how they make this seem chic. (Season Six Trailer)

We are supposed to love this spectacle for the quips. The girls talk like they are in an English Lit seminar but the dialogue is often quite good: “Bisexuals and Germans are the only people you are allowed to hate these days.” “You said I made you feel like a giant clit.” “My boyfriend is so respectful, he is beginning to feel like a weird uncle.”

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(Konner, Judd Apatow & Dunham, the Jewish trio responsible for “Girls”.)

A lot of the credit should go to Jennifer Konner, an experienced writer and story editor. I only wish she and Dunham could devote their talents to presenting a positive model. Instead of sentimentalizing the problem, I’d like to see them analyze and solve it. But then the show would be canceled.

In the 1950’s, TV presented functional families and positive role models.

Today, TV is a cesspool of obscenity and soft core porn; zombies, vampires and the occult; Armageddon, violence and gore, all designed to degrade humanity and normalize the sick and ugly.

– See more at: https://www.henrymakow.com/girls-illuminati-normalize.html#sthash.g7uze6jN.dpuf

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Violent Islamic lust for British and Scandinavian girls goes right back to Muhammad.

Art by Tomi Ungerer from Otto: The Autobiography of a Teddy Bear — his iconic children’s book about the Holocaust

“Society has discovered discrimination as the great social weapon by which one may kill men without any bloodshed.”

“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” George Orwell wrote in his cautionary 1945 allegory Animal Farm, the pertinence and prescience of which has continued to ripple through every present since. A generation later, Dr. King cautioned in his piercing 1963 letter on justice and nonviolent resistance: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality… Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”

In times of institutionally condoned injustice and inequality, we ought to find in ourselves the moral courage to reweave that mesh of mutuality with any tools we have, and we hardly have a tool more powerful than the refusal to keep silent about injustice. “We humanize what is going on in the world and in ourselves only by speaking of it,”Hannah Arendt (October 14, 1906–December 4, 1975) wrote the year of Dr. King’s assassination, “and in the course of speaking of it we learn to be human.” But she herself had been incubating these ideas for decades in the cells of her soul and the sinews of her identity as a German Jew who had narrowly escaped the Holocaust to become an American citizen.

Arendt addresses the complexities of that identity in a powerful essay titled “We Refugees,” penned in the 1940s and included in the Arendt anthology The Jewish Writings (public library). Although its subject is Jewishness, the essay speaks stirringly to the broader tragedy of being thrust into refugee status on account of some fragment of one’s identity — be it religion or nationality or gender or ethnicity or any other variable of exclusion and discrimination. “I speak of unpopular facts,” she writes in the piece — a sobering phrase that illuminates why such disquieting truths may give rise to “alternative facts” that offer illusory comfort.


Hannah Arendt by Fred Stein, 1944 (Photograph courtesy of the Fred Stein Archive)

Arendt, still in her thirties and already an intellectual titan, writes:

In the first place, we don’t like to be called “refugees.” We ourselves call each other “newcomers” or “immigrants.”

[…]

A refugee used to be a person driven to seek refuge because of some act committed or some political opinion held. Well, it is true we have had to seek refuge; but we committed no acts and most of us never dreamt of having any radical political opinion. With us the meaning of the term “refugee” has changed.

With an eye to the Stockholm syndrome of the psyche that leads such “refugees” to seek assimilation by the culture into which they’ve immigrated, she writes:

The less we are free to decide who we are or to live as we like, the more we try to pump up a front, to hide the facts, to play roles.

[…]

A man* who wants to lose his self discovers, indeed, the possibilities of human existence, which are infinite, as infinite as its creation. But the recovering of a new personality is as difficult — and as hopeless — as a new creation of the world.

Arendt considers the Jewish plight of identity:

If it is true that men seldom learn from history, it is also true that they may learn from personal experiences which, as in our case, are repeated again and again. But before you cast the first stone at us, remember that being a Jew does not give any legal status in this world. If we should start telling the truth that we are nothing but Jews, it would mean that we expose ourselves to the fate of human beings who, unprotected by any specific law or political convention, are nothing but human beings. I can hardly imagine an attitude more dangerous, since we actually live in a world in which human beings as such have ceased to exist for quite a while; since society has discovered discrimination as the great social weapon by which one may kill men without any bloodshed; since passports or birth certificates, and sometimes even income tax receipts, are no longer formal papers but matters of social distinction. It is true that most of us depend entirely upon social standards; we lose confidence in ourselves if society does not approve us; we are — and always were — ready to pay any price in order to be accepted by society. But it is equally true that the very few among us who have tried to get along without all these tricks and jokes of adjustment and assimilation have paid a much higher price than they could afford: they jeopardized the few chances even outlaws are given in a topsy-turvy world…

more…

https://www.brainpickings.org/

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Imagem relacionada

A fresco inside the catacomb of Priscilla in Rome, November 2013. The catacomb was used for Christian burials from the late 2nd through the 4th century CE. Photo by Reuters/Max Rossi

How an obscure oriental cult in a corner of Roman Palestine grew to become the dominant religion of the Western world

Michael Kulikowski is professor of history and classics at Pennsylvania State University, where he also heads the history department. He is the author of Late Roman Spain and Its Cities (2004) and Rome’s Gothic Wars from the Third Century to Alaric (2007). His latest book is The Triumph of Empire: The Roman World From Hadrian to Constantine (2016).

The Roman empire became Christian during the fifth century CE. At the century’s start, Christians were – at most – a substantial minority of the population. By its end, Christians (or nominal Christians) indisputably constituted a majority in the empire. Tellingly, at the beginning of the century, the imperial government launched the only sustained and concerted effort to suppress Christianity in ancient history – and yet by the century’s end, the emperors themselves were Christians, Christianity enjoyed exclusive support from the state and was, in principle, the only religion the state permitted.

Apart from the small and ethnically circumscribed exception of the Jews, the ancient world had never known an exclusivist faith, so the rapid success of early Christianity is a historical anomaly. Moreover, because some form of Christianity is a foundational part of so many peoples’ lives and identities, the Christianisation of the Roman empire feels perennially relevant – something that is ‘about us’ in a way a lot of ancient history simply is not. Of course, this apparent relevance also obscures as much as it reveals, especially just how strange Rome’s Christianisation really was.

That a world religion should have emerged from an oriental cult in a tiny and peculiar corner of Roman Palestine is nothing short of extraordinary. Jesus of Nazareth was a Jew, though an eccentric one, and here the concern is not what the historical Jesus did or did not believe. We know that he was executed for disturbing the Roman peace during the reign of the emperor Tiberius, and that some of his followers then decided that Jesus was not merely another regular prophet, common in the region. Rather, he was the son of the one true god, and he had died to bring salvation to those who would follow him.

Jesus’s disciples began to preach the virtues of their wonderworker. Quite a few people believed them, including Saul of Tarsus, who took the message on the road, changing his name to Paul as a token of his conversion. Paul ignored the hardscrabble villages of the Galilee region, looking instead to the cities full of Greeks and Greek-speaking Jews all around the eastern Mediterranean littoral. He travelled to the Levant, Asia Minor and mainland Greece, where he delivered his famous address to the Corinthians.

Some scholars now believe that Paul might have gone to Spain, not just talked about wanting to go. What matters is not whether Paul went there, or if he really was executed at Rome during the reign of the emperor Nero, but rather the person of Paul himself. When he was arrested as a threat to public order, his Jewish enemies having complained to the Romans, Paul needed only two words to change the balance of power – cives sum, ‘I am a citizen’ – a Roman citizen. The fact that he was a Roman citizen meant that, unlike Jesus, he could neither be handed over to the Jewish authorities for judgment nor summarily executed by an angry Roman governor. A Roman citizen could appeal to the emperor’s justice, and that is what Paul did.

Paul was a Christian, perhaps indeed the first Christian, but he was also a Roman. That was new. Even if the occasional Jew gained Roman citizenship, Jews weren’t Romans. As a religion, Judaism was ethnic, which gave Jews some privileged exemptions unavailable to any other Roman subjects, but it also meant they were perpetually aliens. In contrast, Christianity was not ethnic. Although Christian leaders were intent on separating themselves physically and ideologically from the Jewish communities out of which they’d grown, they also accepted newcomers to their congregations without regard for ethnic origin or social class. In the socially stratified world of antiquity, the egalitarianism of Christianity was unusual and, to many, appealing…

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/how-an-obscure-oriental-cult-converted-a-vast-pagan-roman-empire

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by Tom McParland

In countries where most people commute on scooters or motorcycles, traffic laws seem to be more of a suggestion than a rule. This scooter rider takes on a crazy first person ride that he calls “not that scary” and I almost had a heart attack.

This video illustrates perfectly that you don’t need a fast bike to get around quickly. This little Honda scooter might not pack a big punch, but the rider makes up for it with a superhuman like situational awareness and balls of steel.

What looks to us like an action star trying to escape some bad guys is probably just an everyday commute.

http://lanesplitter.jalopnik.com/watch-this-insane-first-person-scooter-video-and-try-no-1791729233

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