Archive for the ‘ARTICLES’ Category

Woman detained at passport control because no one believes how old she is

Tuesday, September 26th, 2017


Delays at passport control are normally irritating.

But it might not feel as insulting if the stoppage was thanks to you looking too damn good to even be legal.

That’s what happened to Ukrainian singer Natalia Dzenkiv, a 41-year-old who has surely topped the pride over-25s feel when they’re asked for their ID in the off licence.

At passport control, border guards allegedly did not believe she was 41, because she looked ‘too young’.

Perhaps you can see why her age was in doubt.

Natalia says that airport staff believed she was in her 20s.

She told Lad Bible:

When I found out the reason for my arrest, I even started laughing as it was the age in my passport.

I am already used to compliments about the way I look, but I couldn’t have imagined that it might be a reason for detaining me.

If you need another reason to be jealous, know that Natalia was only allowed through passport control once her fame came into play.

According to Natalia several passers-by recognised her from her band Lama, and asked for her autograph.

Henry Sapiecha


Thursday, August 14th, 2014

Inspired by a desire to sleep indoors rather than on a park bench, I called her. By some twist of luck, she had a brother who was out of town, who happened to have an empty apartment near the Bastille. I could have the apartment for three months if I wanted. At once I viewed this as both a miracle and a warning: it was the end of the list that had, in my mind, kept me alive – and perhaps the end of me.


I set off at sunrise the next morning, fed by a warm baguette and the subtle light of the city, grey turning to lemon yellow to gold. With light rain as my only company, I walked through Paris until I reached the famous pyramid, splashed with water nymphs in the form of diamond-coloured drops, surrounded by Japanese tourists holding candy-coloured umbrellas. Rain mixed with tears as I sobbed, finally allowing myself to cry for the first time since I’d forced myself off my living room floor all those years ago.

There was no need for a tour, plan or guide. Unlike the rushed tourists who had to chase down the usual suspects in between flights, I had the extravagance of time. That first day I spent with the first sculpture I saw, the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Gazing at this human figure with wings, perched on the edge of a boat, I imagined her taking flight each night after the Louvre closed. And as I sat on the stairwell looking up at her, I realized that this was not the end of me, but rather the beginning of me.


The month went by slowly, like a painting as it takes shape under the hand of a painter with only one canvas and 1,000 ideas, each day layered with new colours and textures.

For 30 days, each morning I would walk through the city, stopping to buy my baguette and coffee, pretending to be offended when the waiter laughed as my grim attempt at French was replaced by sign language. Further on I’d dodge the rubbish trucks and the early morning graffiti artists to get a place in line at a bakery hidden in an alley, where I’d buy a warm croissant from a baker who smelled like cherry pie. When I’d finally arrive at the square of the Louvre, the pickpockets would smile at me in greeting, while the flower seller pushed a nosegay of bruised violets or tiny pink roses into my hands. At the entrance to the Louvre, the staff would wave me in as they squabbled in furious French with the illegal ticket-sellers just outside the doors.

After a few weeks, I could walk into the museum with my eyes closed. I knew the feel of the handrails, slightly worn yet smooth and cool. I heard the sound of the security guards shifting their feet, the hum of vented air, the sigh of shoes walking on marble. Each painting and sculpture seemed to have waited for my arrival, dressed in their finest draperies and gilded frames, like flags in an endless procession of gladness.

The women of the Louvre invited me to walk past the crowds into their private chambers. Teasing. Whispering. Welcoming. The Mona Lisa, small and stained green, her plucked eyebrows raised quizzically at the crowds who came to admire her. Gabrielle d’Estrées caught forever fondling one of her sisters, no doubt wishing she hadn’t. The Marquise de Pompadour, impossibly coiffed and powdered, permanently poised in pastels. La Grande Odalisque, her body stretched before the world, waiting for gossip and visitors. Here were women unapologetic about being women: whole, incomplete, messy, divided, fertile, plump, merchant, slave, prostitute, servant, old, nubile, lost, found, owned, free. I sat before them, held their gaze evenly, without blinking. Our stories were not the same, yet I found myself in each one of them.


On my last day at the museum, I said goodbye to these painted women, who at first had seemed two dimensional and flat but had come to life and become friends. Then I took a different route back to the apartment, and found myself on the banks of the Seine. I walked along the river, my thoughts on that woman who, many years ago, sat in a field and wrote out a list to save her life. I’d carried her list with me around the world, and as I took it out of my bag, my hands shook so badly it seemed as though the paper would take flight.

One last gesture, one last goodbye, one last promise made to that woman who was me so long ago. Her list was finished, and somehow I felt her end had come as well. I held the journal tightly and tore out that final page of my past. I folded it into a small paper boat, and set it on the Seine. It floated, small and white, like a dove, a peace offering to my old self. My eyes followed the little white boat as it moved down the river, past the barges, until it was gone. She was gone, too.

She finally got what she had wanted the whole time: to be free and not defined by cancer.

And I, too, was free. I still am.

Henry Sapiecha


Sunday, September 9th, 2012


In the study of ancient diseases, nothing speaks like the dead. “Bone abnormalities are a strong identification source,” said Dr. Anne Grauer, anthropologist at Loyola University Chicago and president of the Paleopathology Association, during a personal interview. So it’s relatively easy to date tuberculosis due to the lesions it leaves on bones. Pneumonia may be more ancient than TB, but lung tissue doesn’t hold up so well after being buried.
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“Another source for dating diseases is genomic data,” said Dr. Charlotte Roberts, archaeologist at the University of Durham and author of the book “The Archaeology of Disease.” DNA testing of samples from mummies and skeletons can conclusively identify disease. And even without the evidence of a body, genes in existing samples of TB and leprosy bacteria suggest prehistoric origin.

But the most difficult trick in defining the oldest known diseases may be in how you define the word “disease.” For the purposes of this article, we’ll explore only human, infectious, viral or bacterial diseases. So nix tooth decay, psoriasis, gout, obesity, rickets, epilepsy, arthritis and other human difficulties that are perhaps best classified as “conditions.”

Notably absent from this list are some of history’s biggest killers, including influenza, measles, and the black plague. This is because these diseases require and the level of population density that didn’t develop until humans began living in cities. Influenza, measles, and the plague are social. Malaria isn’t.

We’ve listed 10 of the oldest known diseases, listed in no particular order. On the next page, we’ll get started with a condition that thrives in close quarters.

10: Cholera

Around 400 B.C., the Athenian physician Hippocrates catalogued the diseases of his world. Cholera was on the list. But while Hippocrates provides the first proof of cholera beyond a reasonable doubt, the disease likely originated along the Ganges River while Athens was still a very young place.

Cholera lives in many of the world’s water sources, but it’s most dangerous when it has an environment in which there are many people among whom it can spread. The Ganges River happens to be one of the most ancient locations of human population density, and so it was long, long ago that upstream users gathered in the numbers needed to pollute the water for those downstream. In other words, as more people become infected with cholera, they pollute the water supply with more bacteria, which in turn infects more people.

Interestingly, the same problem might have been a major factor in the loss of troops in Hannibal’s march across the Alps. With a 50,000-soldier train, the troops and animals in front would have encountered pristine mountain streams, but those in back would have been forced to deal with putrid and potentially cholera-rich water [source: Hunt].
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9: Typhoid

From 430 to 426 B.C., a great plague swept through the city-state of Athens. The historian Thucydides describes the symptoms:

“People in good health were all of a sudden attacked by violent heats in the head and the throat or tongue, becoming bloody and emitting an unnatural and fetid breath. When it fixed in the stomach, it upset it; and discharges of bile of every kind named by physicians ensued, accompanied by very great distress. If they passed this stage, and the disease descended further into the bowels, inducing a violent ulceration there accompanied by severe diarrhea, this brought on a weakness which was generally fatal.”

The disease couldn’t have come at a worse time. The plague contributed to Athens’ eventual loss to Sparta in the Peloponnesian War and a long hiatus for democracy in world history.

What was the cause of this plague?

8: Leprosy

The Bible passage Leviticus 13:2 reads, “When a man shall have in the skin of his flesh a rising, a scab, or bright spot, and it be in the skin of his flesh like the plague of leprosy; then he shall be brought unto Aaron the priest, or unto one of his sons the priests.”

But this isn’t the first concrete mention of the disease. That honor goes to the Egyptian “Ebers Papyrus,” written in 1550 B.C., which recommends, “If you examine a large tumor of Khonsu in any part of a man and it is terrible and it has made many swellings. Something has appeared in it like that in which there is air … Then you shall say concerning it: It is a swelling of Khonsu. You should not do anything against it” [source: Nunn].

While typhoid and cholera are fairly straightforward in their aggressive spread through water sources, leprosy relies on another dispersion strategy — that of dormancy. People can carry the bacteria that cause leprosy for 20 years or more before showing symptoms, and during this time can spread the disease.

One historical challenge in treating leprosy was diagnosis. In its early stages of expression, leprosy looks much like syphilis and somewhat like psoriasis. Misdiagnosis landed many psoriasis sufferers in leper colonies where many eventually did, ironically, contract and die from leprosy due to increased exposure.

7: Smallpox

Generally, the goal of mummification is to preserve soft tissue. So, as you would expect, Egypt provides a treasure trove of information on ancient, soft tissue diseases.

One of the first researchers to turn a paleopathological eye on Egyptian mummies was Sir Marc Armand Ruffer, who in his 1921 book “Studies of the Palaeopathology of Egypt” described three mummies with “dome shaped vesicles” extremely similar to those expected of smallpox [source: Ruffer]. The most ancient of these mummies was dated 1580 B.C. and the most recent was the mummy of Ramses V, who died in 1157 B.C. After his own inspection of the mummy, Donald R. Hopkins, who participated in the World Health Organization’s Smallpox Eradication Program, wrote of Ramses V, “Inspection of the mummy revealed a rash of elevated ‘pustules’, each about 2 to 4 millimeters in diameter, that was most distinct on the lower face, neck, and shoulders, but was also visible on the arms.” [source: Hopkins]

Is this conclusive? No, not necessarily, and to date there has been no modern analysis of Ramses V that could definitively determine if his condition was, in fact, smallpox. But the circumstantial evidence seems strong.

Smallpox is one of history’s greatest killers, responsible for 300 to 500 million deaths in the 20th century [source: Saint Louis University].

6: Rabies

Rabies is ingenious: Not only does it infect a host, but it also hijacks the host’s brain in a way that makes the host want to bite things. This is how rabies gets a ticket to ride. And it’s been doing it since at least 2300 B.C., when it was described in the Eshuma Code of Babylon [source: Rupprecht et al.]

The first person known to have survived rabies without a vaccination is Jeanna Giese, a Wisconsin teen who was bitten in 2004 by a rabid bat while at church. The New York Times reports that Jeanna went a month between bite and treatment, and was admitted to the hospital with symptoms of full-blown rabies [source: Rosenthal]. Doctors at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin initiated a cocktail of coma-inducing and antiviral drugs, though Giese’s family credits prayer with saving the girl’s life.
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5: Malaria

The Romans offered the first cure for malaria: an amulet worn around the neck, inscribed with the powerful incantation “abracadabra” [source: Shah]. Over the years, we’ve attempted various other cures: adding oil to stagnant puddles to smother mosquito larvae, using pesticides, vaccines and nets, and even leveraging high-tech solutions such as a laser that shoots mosquitoes in midair. But the disease continues to infect 300 million people every year, killing 1 million of them [source: Shah].

The Wall Street Journal reports that malaria is responsible for half of all human deaths since the Stone Age [source: Shah].

Granted, that statistic extends the origin of the disease back in time past its first definite mention, which was in the Chinese “Nei Ching (“The Canon of Medicine”), around the year 2700 B.C. [source: CDC].

4: Pneumonia

People breathe more than 11,000 liters (3,000 gallons) of air every day [source: Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality]. And so, as you would expect, the lungs are a favorite home of bacteria, viruses, fungi and even parasites. And when anything foreign colonizes the lungs, the most common result is fluid. The umbrella term we use to describe fluid in the lungs is pneumonia.

Hippocrates wrote that fluid in the lungs should be called pneumonia if, “the fever be acute, and if there be pains on either side, or in both, and if expiration be if cough be present, and the sputa expectorated be of a blond or livid color” [source: Hippocrates]. But he also distinctly calls it a “disease of the ancients.”

Where exactly does pneumonia place in this list of oldest known diseases? Because it’s a soft tissue disease, the archaeological record isn’t strong. But it’s likely that various forms of pneumonia have been around as long as our lungs.

3: Tuberculosis

In 2008, a team of scientists from University College London excavated the submerged ancient city of Alit-Yam, off the coast of Israel. There, they found the buried remains of a mother and her child. Both skeletons showed bone lesions characteristic of tuberculosis [source: Lloyd]. DNA testing confirmed it: Tuberculosis is at least 9,000 years old.

Interestingly, this dig also lent evidence to an ongoing chicken-or-the-egg debate of whether we got TB from cows or they got it from us. In Alit-Yam, human skeletons showed signs of TB, while DNA from animal skeletons didn’t [source: Hershkovitz et al.]. So it seems cows are not the killers we once thought.

Other historical speculation has proved equally false: Neither the fossil nor DNA records support the cause of TB as nightly revelry with fairies and the resulting lack of rest, nor is the disease the result of witches who transform the victim into a horse and then ride the victim to nightly meetings, as were once thought [source: Briggs].

While the Alit-Yam finding is the oldest confirmed case of TB, characteristic lesions have been found on bones found in Turkey, dated about 500,000 years ago [source: Lloyd].

2: Trachoma

Trachoma is a chronic infection of the upper eyelid that eventually results in the eyelid constricting and turning the eyelashes in toward the cornea. Over time, the rubbing of the constricted eyelid and especially the eyelash makes the patient go blind. This is what happened to Aetius, Paulus Aeginetus, Alexander, Trailaus, Horace and Cicero. And trachoma is described in Hippocrates and in the Egyptian Ebers papyrus [sources: Siniscal and Nunn].

But researchers make a compelling case for earlier trachoma found in a corner of the world little associated with early diseases: Australia. Aboriginal skeletons from 8000 B.C. show a common skull lesion around the eyes [source: Webb]. Scientists determined that these lesions were due to bone infection that had come from soft tissue infection. Though there are a few eye diseases that could fit this bill, the skeletons were found in the Australian region in which trachoma is most common today.

1: Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Mitochondria are small organelles found in nearly every cell in the human body. And they perform a function essential to human life, converting glucose from food to energy called adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, which cells can use.

But Mitochondria carry their own genetic material — separate from human DNA — and these genes look a lot like those of bacteria. In other words, it’s very likely that the mitochondria that we depend on for survival are the products of an ancient infection [source: Andersson et al.].

Whatever the infection, it predates animal life, let alone humans. So there’s no use exploring the fossil record. Instead, researchers compared the genes of mitochondria to those of existing bacteria. The closest match was to bacteria of order Rickettsiales, many of which cause diseases — including Rocky Mountain spotted fever [source: Eremeeva and Dasch, Andersson et al.].

But remember, we’re talking about a disease that existed before animal life. So the oldest disease isn’t really Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever itself, but some unnamed proto-disease with genetic similarity.

Long, long ago bacteria invaded a cell. And because of this infection, we have life as we know it

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Tha above data was sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Salvia Divinorum. A relative of the  mint plant getting you stoned

Holy Shit, Really?

Salvia divinorum is a member of the Lamiaceae family, which makes it a cousin of the mint plant. When properly prepared, salvia can be smoked in order to bring on incredibly intense, at times paralyzing, hallucinations. Most salvia trips are short in duration, but very powerful and jarring. All side effects of salvia are gone within an hour, and it doesn’t show up on standard drug tests.

Depending on the amount of smoke inhaled, users of salvia may experience hallucinations on par in intensity with those caused by drugs like LSD or DMT. Since most users lose consciousness and drift off into a world of fractal shapes and green women as soon as they hit the pipe, it has not gained much popularity as a ‘party’ drug.

It kind of makes the world look like this for about six minutes.

Where Can I Get One?

Salvia is still legal in most US states. You can pick it up at most well-stocked ‘head’ shops, but the cheapest and highest quality salvia is usually found online. Make sure to check your local laws to see if you can legally purchase and possess it in your state. If not, at least you still have your flamethrower.

What Should I do With it?

Here at Cracked, the only “high” we’re interested in is the natural high we get from bringing comedy to the world (and sometimes crystal meth), so we have no advice here. However there are a number of educational videos that recommend gardening, writing letters to congressmen, and driving while on salvia.

Also, we do not recommend teaching while on salvia.

Holy Balls, Why is it Legal?

Salvia is actually pretty harmless, as intoxicants go. There have been a few accusations of its involvement in causing a suicidal mindset, but evidence is spurious at best. In fact a number of scientists believe that salvia may act as an anti-depressant, and its effective use in ending cocaine addiction has been noticed as well. Dr. Bryan Roth believes the drug has the potential to help those suffering from schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s and has urged the government not to ban salvia. With the potential to cure depression, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia and cocaine addictions, it’s a wonder salvia isn’t a mandatory side dish in high school cafeterias across America. We’re going to go ahead and say that last one is a bad idea.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

7 Basic Things

You Won’t Believe

You’re All Doing Wrong

By: C. Coville, Crystal Beran

April 04, 2011 3,268,922 views

If you’re like us, you might sometimes have a problem with complex tasks, like trying to drive an ambulance and send a text message at the same time. But hey, at least most of us have figured out the simplest things that get us through the day, right?

Except, you know, some of the simple things we’ve done every day of our lives, like …


What could be simpler than taking a good crap? Even babies are good at it. You might be surprised, then, to find out that even those of us who can burp without throwing up get this wrong every single day.

The one who just threw up on the other one’s shoulder is better at pooping.

Chances are the pooping facility nearest you is a sitting toilet, a relatively recent invention that flushed its way into mankind’s heart with the advent of indoor plumbing in the 19th century. Indoor plumbing has turned out pretty well for the most part, but the pooping style that came with it definitely has not. Pooping on a modern sitting toilet is a big part of where hemorrhoids come from, and it can also cause diverticular disease, an age-related condition that pretty much only occurs in parts of the world where sitting toilets are used, and which can lead to a range of pleasantries up to and including colonic obstruction. And things aren’t getting better: The last few decades have seen a rise in popularity of “comfort height” toilets that sit two to four inches higher off the ground than older models and that make our pooping predicament even worse.

Future toilets will exist just to kill us.

So how the hell are we meant to do it?

Luckily, there’s a relatively simple way to end this poop dilemma. A 2003 study observed 28 people pooping in three positions: sitting on a high toilet, sitting on a lower one and squatting like they were catchers at a baseball game (catcher’s mitt optional, but encouraged). After initially being mistaken for a German porn company, the researchers found that pooping took about a minute less when done squatting and that participants rated the experience as “easier” (God, we hope they were getting paid).

In fact, toilets that require you to squat that way have been the standard for most of human history and are still widely used in the non-Western world.

And urban centers of the Western world.

According to proctologists, “We were not meant to sit on toilets, we were meant to squat in the field.” When you’re in a sitting or standing position, you’re forming an angle between the where the poop is and where the poop’s gotta come out. There’s even a muscle that’s purpose is to tighten things up when we’re sitting or standing to prevent accidents. Squatting straightens out this angle and removes the chokehold.

For no reason, here’s an icing pipe.

If the thought of squatting awkwardly on top of your toilet seat isn’t for you, you can produce a similar poop-enhancing angle by resting your feet on a footstool (or anything handy) and leaning the top half of your body forward.

Demonstrated here.


From a young age, we’re taught that the daily use of a hot shower, copious amounts of soap and a scratchy washcloth are necessary to rid ourselves of dangerous microorganisms and the putrid smell of human skin. And if you aren’t squeaky-clean, you can forget about dating, career advancement and the promise of a future that doesn’t involve dying alone in a den of your own filth.

That’s what college is for.

As it turns out, showering or bathing daily, while it may make us more socially acceptable, wreaks havoc on something hilariously called the horny layer. Hot water, soap and abrasive surfaces strip off the horny layer, exposing living cells to the elements. And although we’ve just used the words “strip,” “exposing” and “horny” in the same sentence, we assure you that this is not the making of a sexy situation. On the contrary, damaging this protective layer of skin makes us more susceptible to disease.

Via Wikimedia Commons
Sexy disease.

Before recent modern conveniences, people bathed less often, and frequently in the same water. Even nowadays, showering doesn’t kill bacteria or other microorganisms, though it does move them around. A colony of bacteria living on your shower wall might move to your leg; a colony from your leg might move to your head; a colony from your groin might even take up residence on your hands. For this reason, surgeons in many hospitals are not allowed to shower right before operating.

Not even you, Doctor McPenishands!

Studies have shown that there are no measurable differences in the number of microorganism colonies a person is host to regardless of how frequently that person showers. Of course, using antibacterial soaps can kill microorganisms, though in an effort not to create too many super bacteria, medical experts generally recommend not using these soaps daily.

“Say what you like, but you have to admit my bones are super shiny!”

So how the hell are we meant to do it?

The most important thing to do to keep the skin healthy is to preserve the horny layer. There’s no magic number of showers each week, though it’s generally agreed that the number would fall somewhat shy of seven. Skipping showers, or, if you’d like a fancy French term, celebrating sans douche days, gives your skin time to repair some of the damage that the last shower caused.

Any more than a day and there’s no amount of French that’ll get rid of Eau de Sewer.

When you shower, use warm or cool water and a mild soap (if at all), and rehydrate the horny layer by rubbing on some moisturizer afterward. Better yet, convince an attractive friend to help with this. Once you’ve cleaned up, you’ll want to make sure you air dry. Ignore protesting roommates or family members and remind them, as you’re drip-drying at the breakfast table, that they should be grateful you’re showering only a couple of times a week.

“Kids, ignore your father while I try to remember why I married him.”


Congratulations: Chances are that if you’re reading this, and you’re not a ghost, you’ve managed to figure out breathing. On the other hand, chances are you’re also doing it wrong.

You’re also suddenly aware that you’re breathing now.

Take a deep breath right now. We’ll wait. If you’re anything like most people, you raised your shoulders a little and puffed out your chest like a pigeon in heat. You probably don’t see anything wrong with using your chest to breathe, since after all, that’s where your lungs are. What the hell else are you going to use? Your thighs? Well, smartass, it turns out that the muscle you’re supposed to use to breathe, your diaphragm, is under your lungs and closer to your belly.

Via Wikimedia Commons
Shown here as the white mass on the bottom of this X-ray of Tom Cruise (may not actually be Tom Cruise).

When upright, most people are habitual chest breathers: We use a shallow form of respiration that makes use of only the top part of the lungs. In reality, most of the blood vessels that take up oxygen are in the bottom, neglected half. Since so much lung power is going to waste, we get less oxygen, and as a result, we’re all breathing more rapidly than nature intended us to.

Chest breathing also tends to upset the blood’s oxygen/carbon dioxide balance and can lead to headaches, fatigue, anxiety and even panic attacks. According to one expert, you’re also potentially suffering from sweaty palms, difficulty relaxing, heightened pain perception and general fatigue.
Or as most people call it — a “first date.”

So how the hell are we meant to do it?

It turns out that breathing is one area in which babies are much smarter than you. Babies use a deeper type of respiration called abdominal breathing, which strengthens and makes full use of their diaphragms. It’s only as we grow older that we revert to the more inefficient style. Luckily, you can train your body to go back to breathing properly, and over time, you can even breathe abdominally in your sleep.
Not to be confused with snoring, which is just breathing abominably.

To practice it, try to “inflate” your stomach as you breathe in, while keeping your chest relatively still. Then contract your abdominal muscles on the exhale. Not only will this give you more oxygen per breath, it will eventually strengthen the diaphragm. A stronger diaphragm means you get more oxygen with each breath, so your brain won’t need to divert any away from your muscles, meaning that you get tired less easily.
Try this now at work, and observe as people kindly give you more breathing space!

A study on cardiac patients showed that this type of breathing leads to improved exercise performance and decreased shortness of breath, and it’s also been linked to lower blood pressure. This is the reason that so many coaches recommend breathing practice as a shortcut to sports-based superpowers.

“I’ll have you know this exercise is recommended by my doctor.”


OK, so maybe you can’t handle pooping, breathing or much else that you’d think would come naturally. But surely just lying in bed every night is OK, right? So why the hell do you keep waking up at 3 a.m.? You lie there, wondering what the hell is wrong with you. Will I oversleep? you wonder. How will I find the time to sit down and poop in the morning?

“I have to remember to breathe, too. I can’t deal with all this.

If this happens to you often, you’re not alone. Chances are, if you mention waking up like this to your doctor, it’ll be diagnosed as a “sleep disorder,” and you’ll be given one of the tens of millions of prescriptions for sleeping pills handed out to Americans each year. You’ll pop some Ambien, only to awaken a few hours later beating up a police officer. What on earth went wrong?

To be fair, you couldn’t have known that wasn’t a real truncheon.

So how the hell are we meant to do it?

In this case, you’re already doing it right. It’s your reaction that’s wrong.

The idea that an uninterrupted eight hours is the only sleep pattern natural to mankind is surprisingly recent. Before someone who wasn’t Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, people in areas with more than eight hours of darkness usually slept in segments: three to five hours of sleep, an hour of wakefulness and then another three to five hour nap. The hour or so of awake time was used for quiet reflection, sex, smoking and pretty much everything except staring at the wall terrified of insomnia. In fact, this small window of consciousness was renowned as the best time for boning, as the tranquility between the first and second sleep was known as being uniquely suited to getting up to mischief with the person lying bored beside you.

This isn’t compulsory.

In recent times, artificial light has pushed our normal bedtime back later and later, and this segmented sleep has been compressed into a single eight hours. Still, our brains are naturally wired for pre-light-bulb days. In a monthlong experiment, healthy subjects were given a long artificial “night” lasting 14 hours. They quickly reverted to the segmented pattern, waking up for an hour or two of “peaceful wakefulness” between two three to five hour stretches.

By the end of the experiment, all the women were pregnant.

So why do we still wake up even when we’ve been up until midnight watching Deadliest Warrior marathons? Well, some people tend to revert to this natural sleep cycle despite all the artificial light, especially during dark winter months. Fortunately, having this sort of technology-resistant superbrain doesn’t necessarily spell disaster. According to experts, if you stay calm and allow yourself to fall back to sleep naturally rather than lying there wondering why you’re awake, you usually won’t see any negative effects the next day.

Unless you leave the TV on while you sleep.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

The 6 Creepiest Things

Hiding in Your DNA

By: C. Coville

April 28, 2011 1,054,500 views

Grandparent-Based Death Time Bombs

We’ve mentioned before that your father’s smoking could have made you fat. What we didn’t mention, though, was that your grandparents’ actions could also have doomed you to a short and unhappy life. Man, what did you do to piss off all of history? ‘Cause it sure seems to hate the crap out of you.

Via Wikimedia Commons
Do you owe Napoleon money? Dude, just pay it already.

A study in Sweden revealed a strange pattern in a rural community that had gone through periods of both famine and abundance in the 19th century. The study found that the grandsons of men who’d had childhoods coinciding with abundant years — i.e., the ones who had stuffed their faces with grain for a season or two — had a life expectancy of 32 years less than the grandsons of those who had experienced famine, with the deaths caused mainly by diabetes, heart disease and presumably the shame of having extremely fat grandparents. Daughters with gluttonous grandmothers suffered a similar fate.
Though we admit that eating enough to kill future generations is pretty damn impressive.

Luckily, this delayed-reaction DNA sabotage doesn’t always have to be negative: Mice exposed to “enriched” learning environments developed an improved memory that was passed on to offspring that had never experienced it. Man, it seems like just about anything you do with your life now has a serious impact on the genetics of later generations. So it’s a good thing you’re snacking on broccoli and stimulating your mind with such an esteemed source of learning on your way to save that orphanage, right?


Bug Poop

The assassin bug of South America lands on the faces of sleeping humans and sucks their blood while pooping on them at the same time, proving once again that nature is a sick and murderous pervert. Wait, did you just have a seizure? Weren’t you reading an article on DNA? What the hell are we doing talking about bugs? Oh, God, there aren’t bugs in your DNA, are there?! Relax, relax, it’s nothing like that: It’s just a parasite that lives in the poop floating in your bloodstream.

Above: Ew.

See, when the bug’s victim scratches the bite, the crap sitting on the wound enters his system. And since assassin bugs carry the parasite T. cruzi, you get a free bonus prize with your shit-blood: Chagas disease. This condition can severely damage the heart and digestive system, producing, among other things, a symptom known as “enlarged colon.” It’s responsible for about 20,000 deaths a year, mostly in South America, but it occasionally pops up in the U.S. as well. Researchers who deliberately infected chicken eggs with T. cruzi and then tested the offspring of the infected chickens that emerged found that not only did those chickens have the parasite DNA, but so did their offspring, and so on.
And all of their omelets tasted like shit.

But keep in mind that T. cruzi isn’t necessarily the only parasite in our DNA, just the first we’ve discovered. Your cells might literally be swarming with the stuff. Hey, it’s survival of the fittest. You know the old saying: If you can’t beat ’em, take a dump in their veins and live forever in their children. If you don’t believe us, just ask Charles Darwin. Oh, wait, you can’t: Chagas disease is thought to have been the illness that killed him.

Via Wikimedia Commons
Also, he died over a hundred years ago

The Twin That You Murdered as a Fetus

Regular Cracked readers probably know by now that babies are capable of murder in the womb, because that’s our end goal: teaching you things that you can never un-know. But even womb murder isn’t the end of the story. In some cases, you can end up absorbing your newly dead twin and having its DNA live on inside you, a condition known formally as “chimerism” and informally as “what happens when God stays up late watching movies by David Lynch.”

Who just happens to be a Chimera himself.

In 2002, a woman named Lydia Fairchild submitted DNA tests for her three children as part of a welfare claim, only to have the results prove that genetically, she wasn’t the mother. Since DNA is considered the gold standard of medical evidence, she was accused of somehow stealing the children, even after the poor woman gave birth to another “nonrelated” child right in front of a social worker. Finally, more extensive testing unlocked the mystery: Her ovaries had a different set of DNA than her bloodstream. In other words, she’d given birth to her dead sister’s children. And then, presumably, she never stopped screaming.
“And where’s your ‘friend’ at now, sweetie?” “She’s inside me, Mommy. She’s inside me.”

Again, that’s no fluke: In another case, a woman getting typed for a kidney transplant found out that one son was genetically hers, while two more belonged to her similarly dead sibling. A teenage boy being treated for an undescended testicle turned out to be carrying an ovary on that side from a twin sister — as if an undescended testicle wasn’t going to get him made fun of enough, now he’s half ghost-woman as well? Jesus, screw you too, genetics. Chimerism is thought to be rare but also massively underdiagnosed, since it’s undetectable outside of DNA testing, which doesn’t happen to normal folks all that often. Potential symptoms can include slightly different-colored eyes, uneven skin pigmentation and waking up at night to find ‘YOU KILLED ME’ written on the bathroom mirror just before being strangled by your own reflection.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010
The watermelon strengthens human body.Sex maniac food.

Scientists have found that watermelons have many health benefits, not the least of which is its ability to act like Viagra. According to a study from the University of Texas, “The more we study watermelons, the more we are convinced of how amazing the fruit is by providing elements that strengthen the human body.” Researchers have found similar ingredients to those of Viagra and its use could increase libido.

The key to the added benefits of eating watermelons are in their content of citrulline, a substance that has the ability to produce a relaxation of the capillaries. When the substance is converted into an amino acid called arginine, it produces wonders in the heart, in the circulatory system and maintains a good immune system.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Monday, November 22nd, 2010


A recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry revealed that animals whose diet were enhanced with 8 percent wild blueberries encountered lesser blood vessel constrictions as compared to animals who were given a controlled diet.

The research study was undertaken by a team of researchers from the University of Louisville, Northwestern University and the University of Maine.  They said that the distinctive goal and approach of their study was to look at the dietary effect of consuming wild blueberries – not the isolated bioactive compounds – on the tone of the blood vessels of adult rats that are spontaneously hypertensive.

Researchers said that their data gives clear proof that the 8-week dietary inclusion of 8 percent wild blueberry in adult rats with spontaneous hypertension showing endothelial dysfunction has resulted in an important moderation of the increased vascular tone of the aorta.

It was proposed that the blueberries acted through the nitric oxide pathway.  Nitric oxide is a powerful chemical compound that dilates or relaxes the blood vessel thereby helping in the reduction of high blood pressure. Blueberries have long been popular because of its antioxidant properties which assist in preventing damage brought about by free radicals.

Study details

The team of researchers, led by Dorothy Klimis-Zacas from the University of Maine, supplied spontaneously hypertensive rats with wild blueberry or control diet for a period of 8 weeks.  The Wild Blueberry Association of North America (WBANA) provided the blueberries as a composite, and were then made to undergo freeze-drying and then powdered by FutureCeuticals of Illinois.

Following the 8-week intervention, the spontaneously hypertensive rats were exposed to a vasoconstrictor compound, l-phenylephrine, without or with l-NG-monomethyl arginine, another compound recognized to hinder an enzyme known as NO synthase (NOS), which is responsible for enhancing the transmission of impulses from one nerve cell to another.  It also helps in enhancing the functions of the immune system, and in dilating or relaxing blood vessels.

Results have shown that the vasoconstriction effects brought about by l-phenylephrine were reduced in the group whose diet was supplemented with wild blueberries, causing reduced vascular tone in basal conditions.  The said effect is credited to the Nitric Oxide pathway.  The researchers concluded that the result of their study documents the capability of wild blueberries to alter the pathways of vessel control and improve the tone of the blood vessels in adult rats that are spontaneously hypertensive with endothelial dysfunction.

The Health Benefits of Blueberries

Blueberries are said to be nature’s only true blue food.  These are excellent sources of antioxidants such as anthocyanins, flavonoids, tannins and phenolic acids.  Blueberries have grown so popular over the years with more and more studies conducted regarding the positive health benefits one may derive from eating these fruits.  With the publication of scientific evidence supporting the health claims of blueberries and its antioxidant properties, consumers are raring to get their own dose of wellness.  The fruit is said to be effective in reducing high cholesterol levels and it also aids in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease as well as some forms of cancer.

Some of the health benefits of eating blueberries include:

1. Antioxidant Properties

Blueberries are very rich in antioxidants.  Aside from the already mentioned ones, blueberries also contain zinc, selenium, copper, vitamins A, B, C and E, and iron.  These enhance the function of the immune system and helps prevent infection.  A strong immune system would mean a healthier you.

2. Fights off Free Radicals

Blueberries, through its component called anthocyanin, help neutralize free radicals that are present in the body.  Free radicals cause damage to cells, brings diseases and is responsible for premature aging. Anthocyanins are pigments that give blueberries its blue tint. The vitamin C that is present in blueberries also plays a major role in the fight against free radicals.

3. Belly Fat reduction

A study from the Cardiovascular Center of the University of Michigan suggests that blueberry consumption aids in reducing belly fat – one of the risk factors of heart disease and metabolic syndrome.  The researchers used rats as test subjects where a powder enriched with blueberry was mixed with the rats’ food.  After a 90-day period, the rats whose diets were supplemented with blueberry enriched power had lesser abdominal fat, and lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

4. Prevents Urinary Tract Infection

Blueberries contain compounds which stops the growth of bacteria, such as b-coli, in the linings of the urinary tract walls, washing off the bacteria from the tract.  The fruit also exhibits antibiotic properties which also stops bacterial growth so that urinary tract infection is prevented.

5. Promotes Healthy Vision

Clinical studies have shown that anthocyanides that are present in blueberry extract help slow down, or prevent, the loss of vision caused by aging such as hypermetropia, myopia, cataract and macular degeneration. Other blueberry components such as vitamins A, C and E, phosphorus, zinc, flavonoids and carotenoids are also very helpful and important for healthy eyes.

A report published in the Archives of Ophthalmology suggests that consuming 3 or more blueberry servings each day may reduce a person’s risk for the development of age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) by 36 percent compared to those who eat less than one and a half servings per day.

How to Increase Blueberry Consumption

There are many different ways with which you can increase your intake of blueberries, especially now that you are fully aware of its health benefits.  Here are some simple tips on how you could do just that:

  • Blueberries for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner? Yes!

Slow cooked oatmeal topped with fresh blueberries is one of my favorites. For lunch, add blueberries to your salad.  At dinner, you can even have a side of blueberries!  This way, you’ll have blueberry ready to fight the battle with free radicals all day long.

For dessert, there are simply a wide array of options – be creative but in a healthy way. Skip the blueberry pastries and pies, which are loaded with artificial ingredients and refined sugars and try adding a handful of blueberries in your yogurt instead. That will do the trick.

  • Drink it up!

There’s nothing more refreshing than sitting down to a cup of fresh blueberry tea, or a delightful smoothie made from blueberry. You may even do it at home.  Take out your blender and go make that smoothie all by yourself.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha


Saturday, November 20th, 2010

‘Cured’ cancer patients died, court told

Leonie Wood PERTH

November 20, 2010

Hellfried Sartori ... admitted lying to authorities.Hellfried Sartori … admitted lying to authorities.

TWO dozen cancer patients, including a six-year-old Sydney girl, died after treatment ordered by a doctor who is a convicted fraud.

Hellfried Sartori is the Austrian at the centre of an inquest into the deaths of five people in Perth in 2005.

Yesterday in the Coroner’s Court he was confronted with sensational evidence dealing with 25 people, all but one of whom are known to have died after treatment with his ”cure” for cancer.

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The 25 people were treated in Darwin, Perth, Sydney, South West Rocks and at his clinic in Thailand. The fate of one is not known. The court heard police are investigating some of the deaths but most were never checked because it was assumed they were terminally ill.

It is not suggested that Mr Sartori’s treatments directly caused the 24 deaths. Instead, the proliferation of deaths, from late 2004 to 2006, was raised by counsel assisting the coroner to counter Sartori’s claim that he could cure 98 per cent of all cancer patients, including those with highly advanced metastatic cancer.

Celia Kemp suggested to Mr Sartori that he could only see success and not failure, that his clinical skills were deficient, that he had lied and exaggerated about his treatment as part of luring sick people into paying him for dubious treatments, and that his success rate for curing cancer was zero.

Mr Sartori replied that 50 per cent of the cure for cancer was positive thinking by the patient. He conceded he had exaggerated about the efficacy of his treatments, insisted he could cure cancer and admitted lying to Australian authorities. ”If any treatment has proved benefits, it is this treatment,” he told the court. ”And I have not violated my Hippocratic oath.”

Five patients died in Perth when Mr Sartori, who at the time was in Thailand and had been barred from entering Australia, directed two registered nurses, via email and telephone, to treat seven cancer patients.

All were given intravenous infusions of caesium chloride, magnesium and potassium, various vitamins and other chemicals. Coffee enemas were administered and there was a dietary regime of juices.

Sandra McCarty of Victoria, Pia Bosso of NSW and Deborah Gruber of New York were among those who died. Two others died of cancer some time after the treatment.

The court was told that the deaths of Lesley Bramston, Lila Notley and Anne Martin, who were treated personally by Mr Sartori when he was in Darwin in late 2004 and early 2005, were under investigation. It also heard Mr Sartori treated Jasmine Nikhoul, 6, of NSW, who had leukaemia, in early 2005. She died in May 2005.

Mr Sartori in some cases insisted he had cured them of cancer. In Mrs Bramston’s case, he claimed she was ”basically more than on her last legs” and as in some cases turned out ”to be too sick to care”.

He attributed some deaths to ”contributory factors”, including other underlying illnesses. In one case he blamed a patient’s partner, saying ”she had the misfortune to be an apparently well-off lady who had a companion who was hoping to get to her funds” and who neglected her care.

In another fatal case he blamed the patient for ”eating pizza and getting drunk every night”. Another was said not to have followed the treatment program.

Mr Sartori, a convicted fraudster who has been jailed at least twice in the US, recently spent two years in jail in Thailand for fraud and practising without a licence.

Appearing under summons at the Perth inquest, he asked for the evidence about the 25 patients to be struck from the record, saying it was ”unfair and utterly shocking” to be presented with a two-page list of cases ”without being given any warning whatsoever … this can only be described as an ambush”.

The Deputy State Coroner Evelyn Vicker declined his request, saying he had plenty of notice to attend and the court had heard during the opening address that mention would be made of the cases.

In other evidence yesterday, Mr Sartori admitted lying when he applied, unsuccessfully, to register as a doctor in Australia. He also conceded that academic articles about caesium chloride treatment, which he published in 1984 and which had been peer-reviewed, did not include crucial material that about 10 of 50 patients he treated with caesium in 1981-982 had it administered intravenously. Of the 50, 25 died within a year.

His evidence has contained sweeping references to statistics available on the internet, the laws of physics, and his claims that 10,000 people were alive because of his caesium chloride remedies.

The coroner described the medical records kept by the nurses at the Perth house during the treatments as ”appalling”. She said Mr Sartori condoned ”unethical” behaviour by one of his acolytes, Paul Rana of Melbourne, a disgraced alternative therapist who demanded thousands of dollars from terminally ill patients and who was jailed in 2008 for not co-operating with consumer affairs investigators.

Mr Sartori is due to return to Austria this weekend. Mr Rana is expected to give evidence next year.

Sourced & p[ublished by Henry Sapiecha


Sunday, October 10th, 2010

Low-Fat Fried Food?

Food Chemist Develops Protein-Based

Batter for Healthier Frying

January 1, 2006 — Deep-fried fish could get healthier with a new protein-based batter extracted from the muscle of discarded fish parts. When coated onto the fish it forms a barrier, locking in taste and moisture while blocking out fat.

GLOUCESTER, Mass.–Low-fat, fried food sounds like a contradiction, but those types of products may soon be popping up at your local grocer.

Fish sticks slathered in oil and deep-fried are tasty, but the after-effects can take a toll on your waistline. The love affair with food usually ends when it’s time to weigh in. Now, a new discovery may tip the scales in your favor when it comes to eating some of your favorite fried foods.

Stephen Kelleher, a food chemist at Proteus Industries in Gloucester, Mass., says, “People like fried food, but there’s a lot of bad things associated with fried food.” Understanding the bittersweet fondness for fried cuisine, Kelleher invented a way to cook low-fat, fried food.

The protein solution is extracted from fish muscle. When coated onto the fish it forms a barrier, locking in taste and moisture, but blocking out fat and carbohydrates. “These protein molecules after we treat them and extract them the way we do, they form these very, very, micro-thin films that — when they are sprayed onto the surface — become this invisible, impenetrable, film that forms on the surface,” Kelleher says.

The protein molecules go through a treatment process. Water and other ingredients are filtered then added to the batter. Kelleher says the finished product has 25-percent to 75-percent less fat. Plus the added protein cuts down the carbohydrates by 15 percent.

When put to the test, comparing traditional fried batter to the special protein coating, both food tasters agreed there was nothing fishy about the low-fat, fried meal.

The process is FDA approved and can be used to fry low-fat chicken, too. They are also testing the application on other foods, like potato chips.

BACKGROUND: A chemist has created a protein solution that can be used to coat chicken. When the chicken is then deep-fried, it contains 50 percent less fat than if it had been deep-fried without the coating.

HOW IT WORKS: Chicken is bathed in a liquid of water and protein molecules that have been taken from a slurry of chicken or fish tissue. This forms a thin shield around the meat, and when it is then submerged in oil, the coating keeps fat from being absorbed from the fryer.

GOOD FATS VS. BAD FATS: Fats should account for no more than 30 percent of the total calories we consume, but good health also depends on whether those are “good” fats or “bad” fats. Mono-unsaturated fats, like olive oil and canola oil, are considered good because they can help lower cholesterol. Saturated (animal) fats are thought of as bad because they clog the arteries. A third type of fat is made when corn oil or other fats that are usually liquid at room temperature are solidified through heating. This type of partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, called trans fatty acid, is a main ingredient in vegetable shortening and margarine. It is the worst kind of fat. In the body, the enzymes responsible for processing fats have trouble breaking down trans fatty acids and spend so much time trying to do so that it interferes with the processing of essential fatty acids.

WHAT ARE EFAs? There are two types of essential fatty acids (EFAs): Omega-3 and Omega-6. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in foods like fish, flax and pumpkin seeds, and walnuts. Omega-6 fatty acids can be found in corn oil, sunflower oil and soybean oil, for example. EFAs have been shown to protect against heart disease, but the body can’t make them, so we must consume them in food. Ideally, these should be balanced in the diet at a ratio of 2-to-1; in most Western diets, that ratio is 20-to-1.

WHERE THE BODY STORES FAT: Men and women store fat differently because they have difference sex hormones: testosterone and estrogen. Adult men store fat in the chest, abdomen, and buttocks, producing an apple shape. Adult women carry fat in the breasts, hips, waist and buttocks, creating a pear shape.

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha