And by “target audience,” we of course mean stoners.
Watch the latest “New Rule” above. “Real Time With Bill Maher” airs Fridays at 10:00 p.m. EST on HBO.
The video was uploaded without explanation, leaving the viewer to wonder if the eagle is a pet and how the camera was placed on its back. The man visible about 21 seconds into the video might be the bird’s handler.
Enjoy the views of one of Europe’s most beautiful locations and one of nature’s most majestic birds.
Did someone say “absolute perfection”? Yes. We did. Just now.
That, of course, in itself is unsettling, heartbreaking, emotional. But I knew almost immediately that it wasn’t just his death that swallowed me instantly into a fog, made me want to curl up in a ball, flung me into the dark depths.
Recognition does not mean realization though. After all, recognition is sometimes no more than a nod of the head, a spark in the eye, a distant wave. It can be slight, tiny, barely perceptible and in no way related to or even hinting at realization.
Realization is a different animal entirely. Realization is understanding. Realization is comprehending. Realization is knowing. Realization is hard — it can be one of the most difficult things in life. Especially when it comes to death.
Realization is having to come to terms with the fact that someone you love is gone. Poof. You can’t talk to them again, write them, text them. You can’t hold their hand, hug them. You can’t share an event, a time, a moment with them. The sun will rise and set, beauty will dawn, darkness will fall, life will continue… And you won’t be able to share any of this with them again.
I thought of this fact — stark, unrelenting, harsh — as I watched the news of the Navy Yard shooting, and processed that too many people had just lost ones that they loved, senselessly, sadly, horribly. But of course, isn’t all death that way when it comes down to it? That no matter what, death is a realization of loss.
But realization is not final: Call it a process, a dawning, a path. It is not complete. It is never finished. Especially when it come to death.
When I heard that morning about my friend’s death, the impact was profound, shattering, devastating. Yet something felt off, deeper, stronger, darker. It took me the entire day to finally put my finger on it: It was a few days before the anniversary of my mother’s death.
I used to think that because I was blessed enough to have my mother for most of my life, and that she was blessed enough to live a full life, that her death would not be that hard — would not really be that big of a deal. That once I got through the first initial moments, days, weeks, months, year — it would get better.
And it does. To a certain extent. Grief and mourning are definitely a process, a dawning, a path. Each moment, day, week, month, year — it does get a bit better. A bit less acute. A bit less intense. A bit.
Yet realization is also a process. And as those moments, days, weeks, months, years pass, the realization gets more acute, more intense. That knowledge — profound, shattering, devastating — that this person you loved is gone. This person who played a role in your life, no matter what that role was, has stepped off stage. Stage right, lights dim, curtain falls.
But it is not intermission.
And therein lies the rub.
It is the one lesson I can (humbly) offer those facing loss now: The grief and mourning over the actual death lessen. The pain of human loss lessens, becomes a bit less sharp; the ache lessens, becomes a bit less choking. But the realization of the entirety of the loss only increases. It is no longer about the person themselves — it is about the events, the moments, that they are missing. That you cannot share with them.
It is about the lack of their presence in every moment of your life going forward.
Even the most joyous of moments are tinged irrevocably. A smear of grey, a whiff of sorrow, a shadow of despair. A brief sense of loss, of something — someone — missing. Of incompleteness.
My father once explained love in the sense that looking at a sunset is made more beautiful by sharing it with someone else, being able to discuss it right then, as well as later — so that the sunset lives on in your minds, and you can share it again and again. Shared experiences; shared memory. One plus one does not equal two. It equals two squared. And removing one from the equation creates zero.
Death is not as simple as a curtain falling, a door closing, a book coming to its end. It is not as simple as turning the page, locking the door, exiting the stage. It is simply not simple. It is complicated and difficult and demanding. It does not go gently into that good night. Perhaps for the dying, but for the living, it is not sweet, nor brings blessed rest. Death is ongoing and never-ending. The body may no longer be present, but the absence of that body is always present.
I always thought death was a “yes” or “no” question. I have realized it is a “present” or “not present” question.
And the “not present” is unsettling, heartbreaking, emotional. It is profound, shattering, devastating. It is incredibly present in its absence. People talk about the sound of silence, but the silence of absence is overwhelming. The absence is overwhelming. It fills, sifting into the cracks and crevices. The loose material that is the direct result of disintegration. The pieces, small and large, that are left behind when something breaks, falls apart, is destroyed, is gone.
The detritus of death. Which is never absent. Which is always present.
Hello detritus, my old friend…
Emerging scientific evidence suggests that coffee also benefits conditions ranging from skin cancer, to Parkinson’s, to liver disease. But the news is confusing — a recent article in the New England Journal of Medicine concludes all-cause mortality was lowered by over 10 percent at 13-year follow-up in coffee drinkers, and yet a study published in Mayo Clinic Proceedings demonstrates a connection between heavy coffee intake (more than four cups a day) and all-cause mortality. More research is needed to clarify the mixed messages and determine if coffee plays a causative role in any of these relationships.
Let’s take a closer look at some specific studies:
A large study of 50,000 older female health workers in Boston showed a reduced incidence of depression in those who drank 2-3 cups of caffeinated coffee (15 percent) compared to those who drank one or less cup of coffee, and an even greater decreased risk of depression (20 percent) in those who drank four or more cups. That may sound like a lot of coffee, but considering a cup of coffee is 8 ounces, at 16 ounces a single Starbucks medium (or “Grande”) gets half the job done.
A 13-year look at over 80,000 subjects in Japan recently revealed that drinking coffee once a week was associated with a 20 percent decreased risk in stroke compared to seldom coffee drinkers.
Data from the same cohort showed a 17 percent reduction in Basal Cell Carcinoma (the most common type of skin cancer) in those who drank 3 cups of caffeinated coffee a day compared to those who drank less than 1 cup of coffee per month. Decaffeinated coffee did not achieve the same results. Other sources of caffeine, including chocolate, tea, and soda did show a protective effect, indicating that it is likely the caffeine and not the coffee bean itself behind this health benefit.
As the obesity epidemic continues, Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is on the rise, afflicting about 25 percent of the population. Coffee consumption is now credited with reducing the progression of fibrosis in NAFLD patients. Evidence suggests that coffee is also associated with curtailed progression of liver disease in people with liver fibrosis and Hepatitis C. But take note, brew through a filter to help your liver. Filtering coffee removes cafestrol, a chemical that affects the liver by increasing LDL (the “bad” cholesterol).
A recent meta-analysis (a study analyzing many studies) looking at the relationship between coffee drinking and gallstones revealed that the relationship is still inconclusive. While the evidence favors the position that coffee may be protective against gallbladder disease, it is not enough to suggest prescribing the caffeinated beverage to ward off illness.
There has long been controversy surrounding the consumption of coffee in those who have heart disease, as coffee raises blood pressure, a known risk factor for heart disease. Recent studies have shown that caffeine when consumed in coffee causes an only temporary increase in blood pressure, and the risks may outweigh the benefits. New research shows that two cups of coffee a day may keep heart failure away (this study did not separate out regular from decaf coffee drinkers).
Because Scandanavian countries have amongst the highest caffeinated coffee consumption and highest exfoliation glaucoma (leading cause of secondary glaucoma) rates in the world, investigators at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston sought to find if there was a relationship between these two statistics. Looking at two large cohorts of health professionals over 40 years of age, drinking 3 or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day, but not other caffeinated products, increased the risk of developing the condition.
A cohort of nearly half a million Americans showed that drinking 4 or more cups of coffee per day, compared to drinking no coffee, reduced the risk of colorectal cancers. Unlike some of the other studies mentioned, there was some evidence that decaffeinated coffee is also beneficial suggesting that the benefit lies in the coffe bean itself and not due to caffeine.
What about decaf?
Although many of the benefits of coffee stem from the caffeine therein, caffeic acid (a non-caffeinated, and despite its name, unrelated compound) is part of the cancer fighting phenol group. Caffeic acid has been shown to demonstrate anti-oxidant and anti-carcinogenic properties.
Coffee, especially caffeinated coffee, may provide a myriad of health benefits, but the jury is still out. Drinking coffee in moderation is safe, but don’t be fooled by sweetened beverages with coffee flavor. It’s the coffee bean, not the cream and sugar, that may be good for you! Again, if coffee plagues you with side-effects, you should not start or continue drinking it for the purported health benefits.
To a life of boundless health,
Co-authored by Danielle Flug Capalino, MSPH, RD
For more by Gerard E. Mullin, M.D., click here.
For more on diet and nutrition, click here.
Karaoke, or “videoke” as it is known in the Philippines, is a national pastime, even in isolated Handumon. At breakfast the next morning, Dr. Nick Hill, a scientist with the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), assured me that at some point we would all participate in this tradition. I laughed, though my pulse gave a panicked throb as I am far more afraid of a solo singing performance than anything I could ever encounter underwater.
And that’s why we, four underwater photographers from the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP), were there — to get in the water. iLCP had teamed up with Project Seahorse [hyperlink to http://www.projectseahorse.org] and sent us to document the Danajon Bank. Claudio Contreras-Koob, Thomas Peschak, Luciano Candisani, and I traveled from Mexico, South Africa, Brazil and the US, respectively, to photograph this little known but extremely important place.
When I first learned of plans for this iLCP expedition I asked what most anyone would ask — What’s a Danajon Bank? Though I’ve traveled throughout Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, the area was a complete unknown. For most of the world, and even within the Philippines, this unique biological treasure is unfamiliar — but it shouldn’t be.
Danajon Bank (Da-na-haun) lies in the central Visayas region of the Philippines. Spanning 97 miles along the islands of Bohol, Cebu, Leyte, and Southern Leyte, it is one of just six double barrier reefs in the world. Not only is Danajon Bank a rare geologic formation, it is considered one the richest areas of marine biodiversity anywhere, the place from which almost all Pacific marine life evolved.
As iLCP photographers, we were there to not only document the beauty and richness of Danajon Bank, but also the destruction of this biologically sensitive and threatened seascape. The resulting images would help Project Seahorse and other conservation partners inform and inspire the world to care about the ecology and culture of this region.
For two weeks, our daily schedules were packed: rise at 3 a.m., pack the boats, depart at 4 a.m., shoot topside at first light, shoot underwater until sundown, night dive, return to camp, eat dinner, download images, charge batteries, sleep for two or three hours, repeat. Someone once told me that if I wanted to sleep in, I should have been a writer.
Coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass biomes are vital habitats that are in global decline. Danajon Bank is no exception and is a perfect example of the fragility of these systems. Sadly, much of the reef system is a mere relic of Danajon’s booming primordial past and in the water, I was immediately struck by the absence of fish. Compared to the colorful and lively reefs I am used to seeing in tropical southern seas, the Danajon reefs and lagoons are devoid of larger species. As a result, top predators like reef sharks have ceased to hunt these depleted grounds.
Overfishing and destructive fishing methods are to blame. Blast fishing, using explosives to instantly kill sea life, has long been practiced in this area. Although dangerous and illegal, it continues on a secretive yet devastating scale. This quick-catch method and indiscriminate bottom trawling have ravaged sea life, and nearly 200 species are threatened. Indeed, it was not difficult to find examples of dead or dying reefs – submerged like eerie, aquatic ghost towns. I felt like an archaeologist who has discovered the sad fascinating remains of a lost civilization.
Not surprisingly, human encroachment, population growth, pollution, and climate change pose additional pressures on this vast ecosystem and the people it supports. An estimated one million people depend on the Danajon’s waters for their livelihoods and no one is more aware of the diminished fish stocks and paucity of large fish than these locals. Meager catches of just a handful of small fish — an entire night’s work — were a common sight on the islands that we visited.
The issues here are complex, as are the answers. However, thanks to Project Seahorse and other groups, there is reason for hope. Remarkably, their work within the past decade has resulted in the establishment of 34 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) among Danajon Bank islands.
Our dives in these MPAs were a different experience entirely. Within the protected boundaries, biodiverse ecosystems are rebuilding. In some cases, the contrast was downright stunning as in the Bilangbilangan MPA where seemingly endless fields of hard corals cover the shallow sea floor. In deeper waters, enormous sea fans (gorgonians) and sponges rise into the current. Even endangered branch corals (Anacropora sp.) are making a comeback.
Though large fish remain uncommon, these vibrant reefs are home to many smaller species of fish and invertebrates. The expected denizens like anemonefish, parrotfish, angels, and wrasses, and surprise discoveries, like a juvenile blue-edged sole (Soleichthys heterorhinos) and a troop of messmate pipefish (Corythoichthys intestinalis), made photographing inside the MPAs a pleasure and hinted at the myriad of life forms that once sprung from this area.
Though all the data is not yet in, many local fishermen believe that the MPAs are having a positive effect on their catches. Whole villages have embraced the concept as some have taken it upon themselves to police the boundaries or man guard towers to track potential poachers.
The people of Danajon are gradually moving to more sustainable fishing methods and looking for alternatives, like seaweed farming. Other ecologically sound practices are being developed, including a collaborative project between ZSL and Interface, a carpet manufacturer, where fishers are paid for their used fishing nets. These nets are unfortunately very abundant and detrimental when left in the local biomes. Yet through this program, they are collected, cleaned, bundled and exported to be upcycled into carpet tiles. With efforts like these, and additional and expanded MPAs, perhaps large fish and sharks will one day return.
When I travel to developing areas I am reminded that for some, conservation may seem a luxury. I’m grateful for those groups working towards lofty conservation goals, while still providing sustainable livelihood options for the people who depend on the reef. I am also reminded of our shared humanity and the many ways in which we are connected. My new Danajon Bank friends made me feel right at home, so much so that I spent my last night happily partaking in their cherished videoke. I sang my heart out!
The term “Harvest Moon” or “Corn Moon,” is used to describe the full moon that occurs closest to fall’s equinox. For skywatchers in North America, the full moon is expected to rise shortly after sunset (depending on your location) on Sept. 18 and will peak at 7:13 a.m. EDT the next morning.
The Harvest Moon will be especially visible during the overnight hours, even though it won’t actually be “full” until Thursday morning.
No matter where you are on Earth, this full moon – and every full moon – ascends over your eastern horizon around the time of sunset. It’s always highest in the sky in the middle of the night, when the sun is below your feet. That’s because a full moon is opposite the sun. Being opposite the sun, the moon is showing us its fully lighted hemisphere, or “day” side. That’s what makes the moon look full.
However, the almost full Harvest Moon should also be visible for North American viewers on Thursday night, when the moon will turn full for observers in Asia.
The annual celestial sight was dubbed the “Harvest Moon” because its light allowed farmers in the Northern Hemisphere to harvest their crops for several hours more into the night, Farmers’ Almanac notes.
This year’s Harvest Moon may not be as spectacular as the ‘Super’ Harvest Moon that fell on autumn’s equinox in 2010, but it will still provide a welcome display for skywatchers.
Published: 09/18/2013 06:40 AM EDT on BusinessNewsDaily
Despite common belief, money isn’t the key to employee happiness, new research finds.
A study by hiring software provider Cangrade revealed that being intellectually stimulated is the most important aspect of an employee’s job satisfaction. Specially, those surveyed said intellectual stimulation accounts for 18.5 percent of their job satisfaction.
That’s compared to money, which accounts for just 5.4 percent of how happy an employee is with the job. Achievement and prestige, power and influence, work-life balance and affiliation and friendship were all rated more important to job satisfaction than money.
“These findings are quite surprising, because employers often assume things like income are the strongest drivers of happiness in the workplace,” said Steve Lehr, Cangrade’s chief science officer. “In fact, our research shows that it may be the weakest.”
Researchers developed a three-part formula for employers who are eager to keep their staff happy:
Try to ensure that jobs provide intellectual stimulation and task variety. Give employees some autonomy, influence and opportunities to acquire prestige and recognition. Employers should give employees these things even when they don’t say they need them. Give them even more if they say they do. Employers should give all employees a break now and again, including the consummate workaholics who say they don’t want or need it. Offer employees extra money, security and social opportunities. However, only to the extent they say these things matter to them.
“If there is a major takeaway here, it’s that we can finally prove that money doesn’t buy happiness, and that happiness isn’t as elusive as we might think,” said Cangrade CEO Michael Burtov.
The study was based on surveys of nearly 600 U.S. employees.
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.
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