Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5340 on: Oct 26th, 2011, 11:34am »
"Justice Department Proposes Letting Government Deny Existence of Sensitive Documents
By Shannon Bream Published October 26, 2011
A longtime internal policy that allowed Justice Department officials to deny the existence of sensitive information could become the law of the land -- in effect a license to lie -- if a newly proposed rule becomes federal regulation in the coming weeks.
The proposed rule directs federal law enforcement agencies, after personnel have determined that documents are too delicate to be released, to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests "as if the excluded records did not exist."
Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, says the move appears to be in direct conflict with the administration's promise to be more open.
"Despite all the talk of transparency, I can't think of what's less transparent than saying a document does not exist, when in fact, it does," Sekulow told Fox News. Justice Department officials say the practice has been in effect for decades, dating back to a 1987 memo from then-Attorney General Edwin Meese...."
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5341 on: Oct 26th, 2011, 11:40am »
Wired Danger Room
Bummer: Feds Stonewall Pot Treatments For Traumatized Vets By Katie Drummond October 26, 2011 | 6:30 am | Categories: Science
An Arizona psychiatrist is tantalizingly close to federal approval for a groundbreaking study of marijuana’s potency in treating PTSD — if only the National Institute on Drug Abuse would stop stonewalling her.
Dr. Sue Sisley, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and a psychiatrist whose practice treats mostly war veterans, wants to add evidence-based science to the ubiquitous anecdotal reports, not to mention animal research, that point to marijuana’s effectiveness at quelling symptoms of post-traumatic stress. Although plenty of vets smoke up, medical marijuana can only be prescribed to PTSD sufferers living in New Mexico — where 27 percent of those with an approved ID card suffer from PTSD, making it the state’s number one qualifying diagnosis — and nary a study has evaluated whether the illicit drug actually works.
“Plenty of the veterans I’ve treated use marijuana, only they usually buy it illegally and use it covertly,” Sisley told Danger Room. “With research, we can actually figure out which symptoms it might help with, and what an optimal dosing strategy might look like.”
With PTSD afflicting as many as 37 percent of this generation’s Iraq and Afghanistan vets, and no fail-proof treatment available, the Pentagon’s already turned an eye to unconventional research. Military docs look into everything from brain rebooting to neck injections. But they’ve yet to offer anybody a joint, and Sisley’s efforts are now at a standstill: After months of back-and-forth, federal regulators just won’t give her proposal the green light.
“At this point, I can’t help but think they simply don’t want to move forward,” she said. “Maybe they figure if they stall long enough, we’ll give up and go away.”
Sisley’s study would be triple-blind and placebo-controlled, meaning none of the researchers or veterans would know who’s getting high and who isn’t. She plans to evaluate 50 veterans, all of whom would spend 30 days marijuana-free before participation. For two two-month stretches, they’d be asked to either smoke or vaporize a maximum of 1.8 grams a day, and would be given weekly supplies of various strains of marijuana with THC levels ranging from 0 percent to 12 percent.
Of course, Sisley acknowledges that it’s a study with potential for abuse. (Cheech and Chong marathon, anyone?) That’s why participants will be given small supplies of the drug, asked to videotape each smoking session and return any leftover weed.
“If we get a chance to do this, we’re not taking liberties,” she said. “This is a carefully controlled, rigorous scientific study. We’re not sitting around trying to get these vets high.”
And already, Sisley and her sponsor, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) — a non-profit that advocates for medical research of banned substances, and is currently sponsoring a study on ecstasy as a PTSD treatment — have made significant progress in getting the study approved. Earlier this year, the FDA okayed their research proposal, after which it was sent to a panel of five reviewers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Public Health Service (PHS).
Marijuana is the only controlled substance whose use in research needs to be approved by the NIDA. The federal agency has a monopoly on supplies of research weed, so aspiring investigators need the NIDA’s approval before they can legally buy the stuff. But after four months of evaluation, the panelists in September rejected the proposal, citing, among other factors, Sisley’s lack of experience in treating veterans with PTSD and concerns over patients using such a substance associated with “a number of safety issues” outside a medical facility.
And in order to move forward with funding, the panelists need to reach unanimous approval. But they’re all over the map when it comes to Sisley’s study. In the rejection document, one panelist noted that researchers should only “perform the study in marijuana naive subjects.” Another advised using an “experienced population.” All that incoherence makes Rick Doblin, the executive director of MAPS, fear for Sisley’s proposal.
“They’re making absolutely contradictory statements,” he told Danger Room. “Not to mention that we’re asking for marijuana from an agency designed to prevent people from using marijuana. There’s something fundamental that just doesn’t work here.”
NIDA didn’t respond to requests for comment. But a spokesperson helpfully informed the Washington Post that “the production and distribution of marijuana for clinical research is carefully restricted under a number of federal laws and international commitments.”
Sisley might not have the health officials on her side, but she is catching the eye of some Veteran’s Affairs staff members. Several have offered to (quietly) refer patients for the study, and two VA doctors in Phoenix — Dr. Deb Gilman and Dr. Lauren Lee, both with significant experience treating PTSD — have signed on as co-investigators to help Sisley’s proposal pass NIDA muster.
“The doctors I know think this war on marijuana is awful, and they’re tired of being in the middle of it,” Sisley said. “They just want to do real research, or read real research, and not operate around all of these agendas.”
As Sisley prepares to tweak and re-submit her proposal, Doblin and MAPS are busy trying to break up NIDA’s marijuana monopoly. They’re stuck in an ongoing lawsuit with the DEA, after the agency in 2001 rejected MAPS’ proposal to build their own medical-marijuana growing facility.
And potential study participants — Sisley has heard from hundreds of interested vets — might be wise to hope the MAPS lawsuit works out before the study is okayed. Turns out, NIDA’s pot kinda sucks anyway.
“At one point, years and years ago, they were selling it to researchers for $7 a gram, which is not a bad price,” Doblin said. “But really, it’s terrible quality.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5342 on: Oct 26th, 2011, 11:51am »
Uploaded by pignanelli65 on Oct 24, 2011
UFO - I Know What I Saw "Beyond the blue". It is a documentary guaranteed to change the way we see the universe. Director James Fox assembled the most credible UFO witnesses from around the world to testify at The National Press Club in Washington D.C. including Air Force generals, astronauts, military and commercial pilots, government and FAA officials from seven countries who tell stories that, as Governor Fife Symington from Arizona stated, "will challenge your reality". Their accounts reveal a behind-the-scenes U.S. operation whose policy is to confiscate and hoard substantiating evidence from close encounters to the extent that even Presidents have failed to get straight answers.
'I KNOW WHAT I SAW' exposes reasons behind government secrecy from those involved at the highest level. James Fox has won the support of several key media, government and military personnel, and has made numerous television and radio appearances. Additionally, because of the strength of his ratings and the high level of interest from his audience, Larry King has indicated to James Fox an interest in promoting I Know What I Saw.
With the worldwide unrelenting UFO fascination and the phenomenal success of fictional UFO films, it is high time for an up-to-date documentary about UFOs for worldwide release.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5343 on: Oct 26th, 2011, 11:56am »
Stephen J. Cannell's 'Wiseguy' Gets NBC Reboot
Published: October 25, 2011 @ 6:56 pm By Tim Kenneally
Reboots have had a pretty spotty track record on TV of late, but NBC is apparently hoping that a chestnut from the Stephen J. Cannell catalog can reverse that trend.
The network has ordered a revamp of the Cannell series "Wiseguy," purchasing a script commitment with penalty, an individual with knowledge of the deal confirmed to TheWrap.
The project will be scripted by Alex Cary, who most recently has served as a writer and co-executive producer on Showtime's "Homeland."
"Homeland" producers Peter Chernin and Katherine Pope will also executive-produce this latest project, as will Cary.
The original series, which ran on CBS from 1987 to 1990, starred Ken Wahl as Organized Crime Bureau undercover agent Vincent Michael "Vinnie" Terranova, who serves an 18-month prison stint in order to establish his "Wiseguy" credentials. Through his criminal connections, he infiltrates criminal organizations in an effort to destroy them from within.
News of the "Wiseguy" reboot was first reported by Deadline.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5350 on: Oct 27th, 2011, 11:52am »
Economy grows at 2.5% in third quarter, easing recession fears October 27, 2011 | 6:12 am
The economy grew at an annual rate of 2.5% in the three months ending Sept. 30, the government reported, easing fears that the nation would fall into a second recession but still too slow a pace to cut significantly into the high unemployment rate.
"We're inching our way forward," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial.
The new data from the Commerce Department on Thursday showed slow but steady improvement in the economy throughout 2011. The third-quarter data was in line with economists' projections.
Consumer spending, particularly on automobiles, helped boost growth. Personal consumption increased at an annual rate of 2.4% in the third quarter, compared with just a 0.7% increase in the second quarter.
Much of that increase, as well as other economic activity, was consumers and businesses catching up after the extremely slow growth of early this year, caused in part by the supply-chain disruptions of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, Swonk said.
But even trying to make up for the slow growth in early 2011, the "re-acceleration" of the economy in the third quarter was not at breakneck speed, Swonk said.
"Given the weakness we saw earlier in the year, this is catch-up with not a lot of catch-up," she said. "Two steps forward with one step back."
Kathy Bostjancic, director for macroeconomic analysis at the Conference Board, called the third-quarter growth "an unsustainable spurt." She noted the group's closely watched index of consumer confidence plunged this month to levels not seen since the recession ended in 2009.
"Continued woes in the housing market are overshadowed by consumer concern over the anemic labor market, as highlighted by the decline in consumer sentiment back to 2008-09 levels," Bostjancic said in a statement. "Sustained economic growth above 2.0 percent is simply unlikely."
Still, the threat of a double-dip recession is on hold for now, although the economy is "still muddling along, not cruising along," Swonk said.
Fears of a second recession were stoked when the economy barely grew in the first three months of the year, expanding at an annual rate of just 0.4%. A recession is two consecutive quarters of economic contraction.
Things were looking only slightly better in the summer, when the government estimated that the economy grew at an anemic 1% rate in the second quarter.
That reading in August, combined with continued poor job creation and the historic downgrade of the U.S. credit rating by Standard & Poor's after the bitter debt-ceiling debate, led economists to warn the nation was in danger of slipping into a second recession a little more than two years after the last one ended.
But last month the government revised second-quarter economic growth up to 1.3%. And increased consumer spending and other data began pointing away from another downturn.
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5351 on: Oct 27th, 2011, 11:55am »
Wired Threat Level
Hackers Targeted U.S. Government Satellites By Kim Zetter October 27, 2011 | 2:13 am Categories: Breaches, Cybersecurity, Hacks and Cracks
Hackers interfered with the operation of two U.S. government satellites in 2007 and 2008, according to a report to be released next month from a congressional commission.
The hackers obtained access to the satellites through a ground station in Norway, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, which first reported on the information contained in a report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The satellites are used for climate and terrain monitoring.
A Landsat-7 earth-observation satellite, managed by NASA, experienced at least 12 minutes of interference in October 2007 and July 2008, and a Terra AM-1 satellite experienced interference for two minutes in June 2008 and again for nine minutes in October that year.
The report doesn’t indicate the nature of the interference, but notes that the hackers “achieved all steps required to command” the Terra AM-1 satellite, but never actually exercised that control.
An attacker with command privileges could “deny or degrade as well as forge or otherwise manipulate the satellite’s transmission,” or simply damage or otherwise destroy the satellite. This could prove to be particularly worrisome if the attack targeted satellites with more sensitive functions, the report states, such as those used by the U.S. military or intelligence agencies to communicate or spy.
The hackers appear to have gained access to the satellites through the Svalbard Satellite Station in Spitsbergen, Norway, which “routinely relies on the Internet for data access and file transfers,” according to the report.
The report, as is typical of ones published by the U.S.-China commission, suggests that China is behind the attacks but provides little evidence to support this, other than noting that Chinese military writings have advocated disabling “ground-based infrastructure, such as satellite control facilities.”
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5352 on: Oct 27th, 2011, 11:59am »
Men quickest to say 'I love you'
Men are three times more likely to be the first one to say "I love you" in a relationship, according to study that overturns the myth of reluctant male romantics.
3:11PM BST 27 Oct 2011
Previous research indicated that women are more expressive about how they feel - and tend to be ones who fall in love first.
The reality, according to the latest findings by psychologist Marissa Harrison, from Pennsylvania State University in the US, is that women are actually more circumspect than men when it comes to romance.
The study, published in the Journal of Social Psychology, showed men were more likely to fall in love within a few weeks, while most women said it took several months.
Men were also more inclined to tell their partner they loved them much sooner in the relationship.
Professor Harrison interviewed 172 college students on whether they had ever been in love and, if so, whether it had taken days, weeks or months to realise they were infatuated with their partner.
They were then asked how far into a relationship they got before they openly declared their emotions.
In a report on the findings Professor Harrison said: 'Men reported falling in love sooner and three times as many men as women said 'I love you' first to their partners. '
This suggests that women tend to be more pragmatic about love than society tends to believe, perhaps not always rushing fool-heartedly into a relationship.
'Perhaps women are perceived as less rational about love because they have a greater capacity for processing emotional experiences.'
Rather more predictably, the research did show that men wanted sex for the first time after a few weeks, while most women preferred to wait a few months.
She added: 'It can be argued that men's falling in love and exclaiming this love first may be a by-product of them equating love with sexual desire.
'But research shows passionate love and sexual desire are distinctly different mechanisms.'
British experts said men have always differed greatly in their ability or willingness to show their emotions. But younger males today are far less likely than previous generations to get embarrassed about telling a loved one how they feel.
Social psychologist Dr Gary Wood said: 'All men are different and there is no such thing as a typical male.
'But British men have changed dramatically in the last 50 years and younger people are generally more inclined to express their feelings.'
Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #5353 on: Oct 27th, 2011, 12:03pm »
Human Brains Are Made of the Same Stuff, Despite DNA Differences
ScienceDaily (Oct. 26, 2011)
— Despite vast differences in the genetic code across individuals and ethnicities, the human brain shows a "consistent molecular architecture," say researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health. The finding is from a pair of studies that have created databases revealing when and where genes turn on and off in multiple brain regions through development.
Our brains are all made of the same stuff: Despite individual and ethnic genetic diversity, our prefrontal cortex shows a consistent molecular architecture. For example, overall differences in the genetic code (“genetic distance”) between African -Americans (AA) and caucasians (cauc) showed no effect on their overall difference in expressed transcripts (“transcriptional distance”). The vertical span of color-coded areas is about the same, indicating that our brains all share the same tissue at a molecular level, despite distinct DNA differences on the horizontal axis. Each dot represents a comparison between two individuals. The AA::AA comparisons (blue) generally show more genetic diversity than cauc::cauc comparisons (yellow), because caucasians are descended from a relatively small subset of ancestors who migrated from Africa, while African Americans are descended from a more diverse gene pool among the much larger population that remained in Africa. AA::cauc comparisons (green) differed most across their genomes as a whole, but this had no effect on their transcriptomes as a whole. (Credit: Joel Kleinman, M.D., Ph.D., NIMH Clinical Brain Disorders Branch)
"Our study shows how 650,000 common genetic variations that make each of us a unique person may influence the ebb and flow of 24,000 genes in the most distinctly human part of our brain as we grow and age," explained Joel Kleinman, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Clinical Brain Disorders Branch.
Kleinman and NIMH grantee Nenad Sestan, M.D., Ph.D. of Yale University, New Haven, Conn., led the sister studies in the Oct. 27, 2011 issue of the journal Nature.
"Having at our fingertips detailed information about when and where specific gene products are expressed in the brain brings new hope for understanding how this process can go awry in schizophrenia, autism and other brain disorders," said NIMH Director Thomas R. Insel, M.D.
Both studies measured messenger RNAs or transcripts. These intermediate products carry the message from DNA, the genetic blueprint, to create proteins and differentiated brain tissue. Each gene can make several transcripts, which are expressed in patterns influenced by a subset of the approximately 1.5 million DNA variations unique to each of us. This unique set of transcripts is called our transcriptome -- a molecular signature that is unique to every individual. The transcriptome is a measure of the diverse functional potential that exists in the brain.
Both studies found that rapid gene expression during fetal development abruptly switches to much slower rates after birth that gradually decline and eventually level off in middle age. These rates surge again as the brain ages in the last decades, mirroring rates seen in childhood and adolescence, according to one of the studies. The databases hold secrets to how the brain's ever-changing messenger chemical systems, cells and development processes are related to gene expression patterns through development.
For example, if a particular version of a gene is implicated in a disorder, the new resources might reveal how that variation affects the gene's expression over time and by brain region. By identifying even distant genes that may be turning on and off in-sync, the databases may help researchers discover whole modules of genes involved in the illness. They can also reveal how variation in one gene influences another's expression.
Kleinman's team focused on how genetic variations are linked to the expression of transcripts in the brain's prefrontal cortex, the area that controls insight, planning and judgment, across the lifespan. They studied 269 postmortem, healthy human brains, ranging in age from two weeks after conception to 80 years old, using 49,000 genetic probes. The database on prefrontal cortex gene expression alone totals more than 1 trillion pieces of information, according to Kleinman.
Among key findings in the prefrontal cortex:
•Individual genetic variations are profoundly linked to expression patterns. The most similarity across individuals is detected early in development and again as we approach the end of life. •Different types of related genes are expressed during prenatal development, infancy, and childhood, so that each of these stages shows a relatively distinct transcriptional identity. Three-fourths of genes reverse their direction of expression after birth, with most switching from on to off. •Expression of genes involved in cell division declines prenatally and in infancy, while expression of genes important for making synapses, or connections between brain cells, increases. In contrast, genes required for neuronal projections decline after birth -- likely as unused connections are pruned. •By the time we reach our 50s, overall gene expression begins to increase, mirroring the sharp reversal of fetal expression changes that occur in infancy. •Genetic variation in the genome as a whole showed no effect on variation in the transcriptome as a whole, despite how genetically distant individuals might be. Hence, human cortexes have a consistent molecular architecture, despite our diversity. In previous studies, Kleinman and colleagues have found that all genetic variations implicated to date in schizophrenia are associated with transcripts that are preferentially expressed in the fetal brain. This adds to evidence that the disorder originates in prenatal development. By contrast, he and his colleagues are examining evidence that genetic variation implicated in affective disorders may be associated with transcripts expressed later in life. They are also extending their database to include all transcripts of all the genes in the human genome, examining 1000 post-mortem brains, including many of people who had schizophrenia or other brain disorders.
Multiple brain regions
Sestan and colleagues characterized gene expression in 16 brain regions, including 11 areas of the neocortex, from both hemispheres of 57 human brains that spanned from 40 days post-conception to 82 years -- analyzing the transcriptomes of 1,340 samples. Using 1.4 million probes, the researchers measured the expression of exons, which combine to form a gene's protein product. This allowed them to pinpoint changes in these combinations that make up a protein, as well as to chart the gene's overall expression.
Among key findings:
•Over 90 percent of the genes expressed in the brain are differentially regulated across brain regions and/or over developmental time periods. There are also widespread differences across region and time periods in the combination of a gene's exons that are expressed. •Timing and location are far more influential in regulating gene expression than gender, ethnicity or individual variation. •Among 29 modules of co-expressed genes identified, each had distinct expression patterns and represented different biological processes. Genetic variation in some of the most well-connected genes in these modules, called hub genes, has previously been linked to mental disorders, including schizophrenia and depression. •Telltale similarities in expression profiles with genes previously implicated in schizophrenia and autism are providing leads to discovery of other genes potentially involved in those disorders. •Sex differences in the risk for certain mental disorders may be traceable to transcriptional mechanisms. More than three-fourths of 159 genes expressed differentially between the sexes were male-biased, most prenatally. Some genes found to have such sex-biased expression had previously been associated with disorders that affect males more than females, such as schizophrenia, Williams syndrome, and autism. The Sestan study was also funded by NIH's National Institute on Child Health and Human Development, National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and National Institute on Drug Abuse. Data for the Sestan study are posted at www.humanbraintranscriptome.org and at http://www.developinghumanbrain.org, as part of a larger ongoing study, BrainSpan, funded by NIMH under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to create an Atlas of Human Brain Development.