September 8 2004 

THE MYTH OF SUPER-POT

Despite years of the news media parroting the "fact" that today's marijuana is far stronger than the supposedly crappy weed of the 1960s and '70s, at least one expert is calling bullshit on this bogus claim. Dr. Mitch Earleywine, a psychology professor and author of the book "Understanding Marijuana," says that the dire warnings about "super-pot" are based solely on politics and not science. For example, he explains that the average potency level of today's marijuana is up only slightly (to 7 percent THC), and that this level is still less than half that used by the Dutch government for medical marijuana sold in pharmacies. His book also explains that there is zero evidence that this grade of weed is any more dangerous than that smoked by previous generations. Claims of great danger caused by today's "super-pot" are based, he says, on "speculation piled on top of conjecture." Finally, Dr. Earleywine attacks the "fact" that the number of teenagers who are now in treatment programs for marijuana dependency and abuse has risen dramatically in recent years. He explains that the government's statistics show that the majority of teens in these programs are simply there because they were arrested for having pot, not because of any real evidence of abuse or dependence. "We arrest kids for smoking marijuana, force them into treatment and then use those treatment admissions as "proof" that marijuana is addictive," concludes the doctor, adding that "somewhere, George Orwell is smiling." (Hartford Advocate)

FRIENDS AND ENEMIES AGREE TO HATE

As the "anyone but Bush" campaign continues to gather steam, it seems like America's allies and enemies all hold the same opinion about the pea-brained president. Responding to Dubya's assertion last week that Kim Jong Il is a tyrant, the North Korean government spat back with its own stream of insults, calling Bush "an idiot, an ignorant, a tyrant and a man-killer." The diplomatic spokesman went on to explain that "Bush's assumption of office turned a peaceful world into a pandemonium unprecedented in history as it is plagued with a vicious circle of terrorism and war." Meanwhile, America's so-called friend Canada doesn't seem to think much better of the president. Member of Parliament Carolyn Parrish, who last year called the American's bastards, last week called them idiots in response to a question of whether Canada would join the missile defense system. "We are not joining the coalition of the idiots," said Parrish. When asked to explain the remark, she said, "they tortured people in Iraq, they (the Iraqis) have no weapons of mass destruction. Could somebody explain to me whether you think they're idiots or geniuses?" (Guardian/Reuters)

GET ALL MY FUTURE PRESENTS AT THE LIQUOR STORE

Okay, I know this won't stop my mom from buying me the box set of the cheapest cologne imaginable paired with a corkscrew that will shatter if you try to open a bottle of wine, but if I can help just one person out there I'll have done my job. Pay attention: if you're shopping for a birthday gift for someone, here's a list of the 10 most hated presents as compiled at www.star-stories.com. 10. novelty mugs; 9. boxed handkerchiefs; 8. socks; 7. artificial flowers; 6. cuddly soft toys; 5. tight fitting clothing; 4. decorative plates; 3. bath salts; 2. cheap cologne; and the number 1 most hated birthday gift is scented candles. Their research also found that the average family spends $750 on birthday presents each year, with more than half of that amount wasted on gifts that end up in closets, basements and garage sales. (star-stories.com)

HOW TO KEEP SHEEP HAPPY

Researchers in the UK have discovered that lonely sheep can be kept happier by showing them pictures of their friends and family. In the study carried out at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge, stress levels in sheep were monitored while the sheep were kept in a darkened barn and shown various pictures. According to the researchers, the sheep became noticeably less stressed and showed fewer signs of agitation when they were shown photographs of the faces of sheep familiar. "Seeing a face picture of a friend or family member would be the most effective way of reducing separation anxiety," said Prof Keith Kendrick, who also explained that sheep are able to recognize at least 50 sheep faces and 10 human faces. (Telegraph)

"I READ IT ON THE INTERNET SO IT MUST BE TRUE" FACT OF THE WEEK

You are never more than three feet away from a spider. :

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