The music industry and the movie industry have been fighters against intellectual property theft (yes I used the word theft. If you comment and start talking about definitions, I'll delete it. Fair Warning). This is a fight that I'm on their side. Even though groups like the RIAA and MPAA are demonized and described as "fascists", "totalitarians" and "dictators" (yeah retarded) they are the ones that are MORALLY correct.

I'm glad to see that the Adult Entertainment Industry is starting to fight back too. Remember that hard work, thought and things that are intangible are still pieces of value. If they weren't, there wouldn't be an excuse to pirate it. I'm posting a video that the adult entertainment industry has made because it makes the solid point. If artists, designers, and all intellectual creators are not paid for their work and mooched off of by looters they will eventually stop producing it. Enjoy.


Posted by Christopher | 6:16 PM | , , , | 0 comments »

Since I have got a lot of responses for another post on a controversial science that I don't think is controversial, I thought I could do another on stem cell research pros and cons. There are a lot of strong opinions on this subject and I think what is most profound about this particular issue is that it is heavily engrained into politics. And when you have politics meddling around in science you know that there will be a lot of half truths and other fodder innuendo. I wanted to at least set things straight and get right to the facts.

What is Stem Cell Research?

I'm not going to give an overly detailed and scientific overview of what exactly this is. It's just far too complicated for me to go into a post on this. If you want to read something detailed you can check out the following page on Wikipedia.

Essentially a stem cell is something that can be developed into a wide and diverse range of other cells. I guess you could call it a premature cell that will eventually develop into a more complex cell. The science really took off when science realized that if you placed a stem cell around some other cells, it would develop into the cells you put it around.

This may seem like a bunch of science talk, but there are a lot of uses that we can get out of such a cell and I will go into them in my stem cell research pros and cons post.

Pro: Cure Disease, Spinal Cord Injuries, Blindness, etc

The medical applications of stem cells are literally endless. The big problem we have with many conditions is that we can't replicate the cells or grow any that would work in certain areas. I'll just talk about the most popular area, which is the spine. When you have nerve damage in the spine you're pretty much stuck with the results. But with stem cell research we can actually create the cells that make up the spinal nerves and fix it. I know we're not there yet as a science, but this is the potential of what we're looking at.

The same thing is true when we consider blindness. We haven't been able to cure blindness because we haven't been able to create the cells of eye sight. But now with a stem cell we can create them and possibly repair eye sight. There are an endless amount of applications that we could apply stem cells too and some of them are included below:

  • Baldness
  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Learning defects
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Missing Teeth
  • Wound healing
  • Bone marrow transplantation (currently exists)
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Crohn's disease
  • Various Cancers
  • Diabetes
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Myocardial infarction
  • And more

This is probably the biggest point of any of the stem cell research pros and cons you could possibly have. There really isn't much more I can say for pros since this is essentially why science has gone into the arena. It is essentially the next evolution on modern medicine and it is quite amazing what they'll be capable of doing.

Cons: Aborted Fetuses

EDIT: I want to point out something about the "aborted fetuses" argument. The best stem cells are found in an embryo that is only 5 days old known as a blastocyst. I'm sure that this fact means no difference to those that oppose it since an embryo is created after fertilization of an egg.

You can still harvest stem cells from an aborted fetus and it has been done. It's just you don't necessarily get the right stem cells or the best that you need.

Abortion is really where stem cell research enters into politics because we're talking about embryonic stem cells. There are other ways to get stem cells though known as adult stem cells. I'm not going to go into detail about how they obtain them, but they don't require the destruction of an embryo, which is the main and only controversy associated with this science.

This is really all the stem cell research pros and cons that I have. On the pro we have ground breaking science and on the con we have a destruction of an embryo. Honestly, I don't have a problem with using embryonic stem cells because we're talking about an abortion here. You might as well put all stem cells to use for the absolutely amazing and powerful science that is being done.

I don't think anyone can really be against stem cell research, just the means of obtaining it. We have the alternative of using adult stem cells, so we shouldn't have a problem. Personally, I think scientists should be using whatever they think is the best for research and creating breakthroughs. I could care less if it comes from an aborted fetus or somewhere else.

Some people might make the con argument of that we're playing God doing this. I don't recognize this argument as I see it as nothing more than a call of the primitive. It is just a rejection call to modern medicine and I can't validate that sort of stupidity.

Edit: I should also point out that the stems cells found in embryos, fetuses and adult stem cells are all different. Capabilities are at the highest with embryos and lowest with adult stem cells.


Posted by Christopher | 11:18 PM | , , | 4 comments »

I thought I would get onto a topic that has a little more interest in the youth and something that I'm sure more readers will "sort of" agree with me. I'm going to do a post on marijuana legalization pros and cons. I know how people tend to be on the internet about this, especially since the crowds tend to be younger and social sites tend to show a very pro decriminalization of marijuana opinion. I thought I could get an opinion in on this and see who can agree with me.

I want to first start out by saying that I used to support legalization of all drugs. This is an opinion that I've been questioning lately. It's probably something I can go into on another post since I would take up way too much time to go into here. Marijuana legalization is something that I would probably legalize, but it would be the last thing on my list if I had the authority to do such a thing.

I want personally state that I don't think drugs should be taken and this includes marijuana. I think they're bad. I run into people who were right into pot when they were in high school and today they have a dazed look in their eyes. I don't think they're good. I think they create intellectually slow, stupid and lazy people. I know I'll get a handful of comments from people that don't like me saying that, but it's the way I see it. Anyway, on to the marijuana legalization pros and cons.

Pro: Readably and Easy Available Medical Marijuana

I'm actually a big supporter of medical marijuana since it can help a lot of people and I think the benefits outweigh the problems. When you consider a person who has cancer that is going through chemo and radiation, they'll be sick and nauseas all the time. Marijuana is a way for them to get relief from the worst feeling they'll ever experience. And considering that people will battle cancer for years it is something that I want to see more people using.

I know there are other areas where medical marijuana has important uses. I couldn't possibly list them all, but they are out there. Steve Kubby is someone that has adrenal cancer, which I believe means he has tumors growing right inside of his bones. It is supposed to be quite painful and causes his blood pressure to skyrocket. Marijuana helps him control his cancer and has been believed to keep him alive longer than any doctor thought he could. But onto more marijuana legalization pros and cons.

Pro: Eliminates the Black Market

The black market is where the bad stuff happens and I think Mexico is a prime example of what is happening. The reason why the black market always becomes violent is that all economies require a police force and a court system. When there is a disagreement and you can't work it out, you go to court. When someone does you wrong (fraud, stealing, violence) the police are there to stop this and catch the bad guy.

The black market doesn't have the courts or the police, so they have to come up with their own system. This is why you have rival gangs and the mafia heavily involved. If you're selling drugs you join a gang. It offers you protection, turf and other benefits that allow you to sell your product. At the same time you're paying a cut to the violent gangs. And this is inevitably what creates the problem.

At least if marijuana become a legal commodity it could be sold by legit businesses. When this happens you have full access to the real legal system and the gangs and mafia are no longer needed. Since they are no longer needed they lose many important funding sources that allows them to recruit members and load up on weaponry. It is essentially a way of removing the funding and taking it away from them. There are many marijuana legalization pros and cons, but I think most people view this as the most important one you can mention.

Con: Marijuana Causes Increases in Psychoses

I know I'm going to get the people that will come in and claim that marijuana is completely healthy and blah blah blah. It's not. It's not good for you. I want to point out that these conclusions aren't coming from correlated data. Correlation is the process of looking at two different variables and looking for similarities in them. It isn't the most scientific. So it would be the equivalent of noticing that people who smoke marijuana are more likely to suffer from some sort of psychoses.

I'm actually referring to longitudinal studies that are just coming out recently because we've finally had the chance to test them out. Longitudinal means that people are examined before they ever touch marijuana and then they're checked in later in life after using marijuana and seeing how they're doing. Someone left a comment on a previous post about me leaving comments with studies and that I should give them in posts, so I will.

Cannabis use in adolescence and risk for adult psychosis: longitudinal prospective study

"Using cannabis in adolescence increases the likelihood of experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia in adulthood."

Am J Epidemiol 2002; 156:319-327
Cannabis Use and Psychosis: A Longitudinal Population-based Study

"Results confirm previous suggestions that cannabis use increases the risk of both the incidence of psychosis in psychosis-free persons and a poor prognosis for those with an established vulnerability to psychotic disorder."

The Lancet, Volume 370, Issue 9584, Pages 319-328
Cannabis use and risk of psychotic or affective mental health outcomes: a systematic review

"The evidence is consistent with the view that cannabis increases risk of psychotic outcomes independently of confounding and transient intoxication effects, although evidence for affective outcomes is less strong."

I think that is enough studies to show you, and I'm sure some libertarians are wondering what exactly is my problem with people that choose to screw up their life. I actually don't care if people screw up their life. What I'm worried about are people that can't live their life in a rational manner. That has always been a concern of mine and I'm going to say it in my post on marijuana pros and cons.

Con: Marijuana is a Gateway Drug

I know I'm going to get a lot of flack about this. I think people that use marijuana for the purpose of healing themselves are not going to view this as a gateway drug. The simple fact is that they have the purpose of health in mind while they're taking it. The fact is that the "casual use" of marijuana is to get high. Let's just call a spade a spade. People are looking to get high, escape reality and feel good. All the other hard drugs out there create those feelings. And like any drug you get less and less effect every time you use it.

If your goal is to get "high", then there really isn't a logical reason why you wouldn't move onto harder and more dangerous drugs. And yes, I'm going to post studies to help back up my claim that marijuana is a gateway drug.

Is Marijuana a Gateway Drug?

"Results provide strong support for the gateway hypothesis, indicating that marijuana use in 1984 increases the probability of cocaine use in 1988 by 29 percentage points for respondents who have never used cocaine by 1984. The implication is that cocaine use can be more effectively deterred by redirecting some enforcement resources from cocaine to marijuana."

DOI: 10.1080/09595230500126698
Is cannabis a gateway drug? Testing hypotheses about the relationship between cannabis use and the use of other illicit drugs

"Animal studies have raised the possibility that regular cannabis use may have pharmacological effects on brain function that increase the likelihood of using other drugs."

I think that is enough studies on that. I have a lot more marijuana legalization pros and cons to go into. And yes this is turning into one long monster post.

Pro: Able to Tax and Regulate

Having the power to regulate such an item gives a little more power back to the people since drug dealers aren't checking the ID of a teenager to see if they're over the age of 18. But at least we can regular it that way and prevent underage kids from getting it. I know they still can technically get it, just like teenagers can get their hands on cigarettes, but at least it is something a little more difficult. I don't think it would be possible to regular the quality grown. I know some government official would think that they could force growers to make a lower grade type of marijuana, which would only create a new black market.

Taxes is an okay argument. I know that it would solve a lot of budget problems in states like California, but I doubt that really would matter over the long run. Marijuana taxes aren't going to save states that are in money troubles because they'll just spend it all and be in another mess. And you couldn’t tax it too highly because if you do that it creates another black market, which we are starting to see with cigarettes. The black market of cigarettes is actually much more apparent in a place like Canada because the taxes are much higher there.

Con: Increases in Welfare and other Forms of Social Assistant by Users

I think one of the main things that annoys me is that people who use drugs are burn outs for the most part. I find them lazy and unmotivated. I don't really care if you disagree, but it annoys me that druggies can collect welfare. All I want to see from people rational thought and rational states, but when you choose to do drugs you deserve what you get. And you deserve no safety net. I walk over bums on the street shooting up heroine and I could care less about them.

That's not to sound mean, it's just the honest way I think about it. Everyone knows drugs are bad and when you throw caution to the win it's your fault. This con could easily be averted by requiring drug tests from people that want to receive any sort of assistance from the government.

I think this is enough marijuana legalization pros and cons for now. I could probably go on and on with this, but the post is getting a little too long now. But I'm going to go into one more thing because I know that many people are going to ask why I didn't talk about it.

It is the subject of personal freedom.

I'm very conflicted on this concept of drug use and the freedom to do it. And the reason boils down to your rational state. Most people in society (I hope 99.9%) agree with keeping drinking and driving illegal. If you think you have the personal freedom to take drugs than you must also believe you have the personal freedom to drive drunk. It's just as simple as that.

I don't believe people have the right to drive around drunk because you can't function in a rational manner. You cannot operate your vehicle rationally and therefore you're not allowed. Simple as that. And the question of rationality outside of the vehicle is debatable. Will marijuana create enough irrational behavior to warrant it being illegal? That is up for debate with people. But I hope most people can see that hard drugs like heroine cocaine and methamphetamine are drugs that make it incapable for a person to rationally control themselves. This is why we find more criminal activity among those that take hard drugs

That is why I didn't bring up personal freedom because I don't think people have the freedom to endanger my life, within reason. All I ask from society is rational thought and drugs are the anti-thesis of that. I guess that conclude my post on marijuana legalization pros and cons, so I hope you enjoy it. And I'm sure I'm going to get a lot of lippy comments for some of my positions too.


Posted by Christopher | 9:37 PM | , , | 5 comments »

I thought it would be nice if I made on post on how to be a freelance journalist because it isn't the most obvious thing to do. I'm sure you've heard of news that breaks somewhere in the Middle East or really anywhere, it is always a freelance journalist that is reporting to the major networks what is going on. I know that big news doesn't always happen where ever you may be on this planet, but you have to be prepared for it.

1. Start Your Own Website

What you want to do is pick up your own .com website name and start doing journalism. The easiest and best way to create a brand is by using your name. You put that as your domain name and you will build a brand out of it. At first no one is going to no who you are and maybe they won't know who you are when a big news story breaks, but it is a leveraging tool.

You want to set it up to be professional and to make the point that you're a freelance journalist. This is where you share your own personal well written journalism. Spend some time on stories, do research and interview people on the subject. It's a lot easier than you would think. Build up a nice portfolio of news stories that you have personally done. They'll speak volumes later when you contact a major network during a big event.

2. Have The Right Equipment

You need the right items at your disposal. That means you need a cellphone that you can make calls with, a laptop computer for you to write your story and a camera to take pictures. A camera is something that I think is important, though it is not required. I think when you have the chance to take amazing pictures you can get credit for them in the media.

If I was to pick the best camera for the job I would go with a Pentax Optio Waterproof Digital Camera because they happen to be well made and rugged. This camera is waterproof, shockproof (for dropping) and coldproof, which will cover you for all the important situations you could end up in. The other important point about the Pentax camera is that it is 12.1 MP, so the pictures are going to be crystal clear and big. Lastly, you can also record 720p high definition video with it. This is the type of video that any major network would be dreaming of when looking for footage from a freelance journalist. So definitely have one of these cameras.

When you have a laptop you want to make sure that you have the internet to upload your story. Remember that timing is very important when stories break because information is very scarce. I actually suggest not getting a full laptop, but a netbook. You may want to read the HP Mini 210 HD Edition Review since this is a pretty good netbook.

3. Start Building Contacts

A lot of people think the way to be a freelance journalist is to keep hounding CNN or something. Frankly, you're never going to find a number that would get you to anyone that could help you out. The key is building up contacts slowly and working your way up to the bigger contacts. You want to start locally and keep building them. And what you'll end up with is that your contacts will know someone that can help you get your stories out there.

That really is what happens. CNN is more likely to contact you because your name gets heard from one of your many contacts that CNN respects. And that is how it goes and that is the key to the whole thing.

Now you know how to be a freelance journalist you just have to go and do it. It is a long grueling process, but something that needs to be done. Building contacts at first will be difficult, but if you're doing good journalism the contacts will be come easier and easier to obtain.


Posted by Christopher | 12:50 PM | | 1 comments »

I thought I should discuss a few things with you about dress codes and things like that mandated down from the government. I wanted to get into the topic of the burka because I have said that I would support the ban on such an item even though I'm against dress codes that come people would find revealing.

If you look at the picture there you have a young lady in a skort. For those of you that don't know what that particular type of clothing is, it is a mix of shorts and skirt. The most popular type is the golf skort, but I'm sort of getting off topic here. Cause I wanted to talk about what the government is in the game of at least promoting to the general public.

I know that the idea of the government promoting a specific idea can be a bit controversial, but I don't see the harm if the idea is RIGHT. Most of the dress code controversies with the government have revolved around clothing that is too revealing or two exposing. And that doesn't necessarily mean exposing of skin, which can be illustrated by half falling down pants showing the boxers look.

I don't have a problem with things like that. You can dress that way if you want and that's the way that I see it. The question for me isn't about how liberally you go with things. The real question I feel it boils down to is whether you're being oppressed into a specific lifestyle, which includes clothing, that you cannot escape. And this is something that goes beyond the burka. But I think the burka is probably about the best illustration where the lifestyle really does have a specific dress code.

And what is that lifestyle: Oppressed Female.

And that's really what I'm opposed too. I don't have a problem with a Burka and I think it would be a very good Halloween costume, but it's what it represents to those that wear it for real. It's a symbol of everything against Western values. If you were truly free with your life and chose to wear this than I don't see a problem.

But these women aren't really free.

It is quite similar to those deeply religious Christians that live in compounds where they have Polygamist marriages and women tend to be married at young ages. The problem here is that it is difficult for them to escape that lifestyle. They dress quite old fashion, but their clothing really isn't the cloak of their oppression as you see with the burka.

I suppose this is where I'm at. We have women that will almost defend what they're doing, even though they're slaves and treated like crap. And this applies to the Christian crazies that create their own compounds. It's a problem that we can't stop completely, but there should be a hand reaching out to them to help them escape.

I thought the Quebec government had a very interesting take on this. They didn't ban the burka for those that wanted to wear it. They refused to provide any government service if you have one. They are standing up for Western values and Western customs. They're keeping the government institutions completely secular instead of bending over backwards to accommodate religious stupidity.

I think we can all stand up for women's right and that includes women that are oppressed by religious dogma. They should be able to wear skirts, skorts, dresses or whatever they want, rather than what a religion wants or what a man wants.


Posted by Christopher | 6:51 PM | , , , | 0 comments »