Less than one week since the start of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, and almost 200 attendees have been diagnosed with the norovirus.
This year’s Olympic athletes knew they were in for two weeks of intense competition when they arrived in Pyeongchang, South Korea. What they didn’t know was that they were also heading into ground zero of a norovirus outbreak.
By February 8, 2018 there were 128 reported cases of the norovirus, with another 1,200 under quarantine. That number rose to 194 on Monday, and as of February 13, around 199 attendees have been infected by the virus, according to The Associated Press.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes the norovirus as a “highly contagious virus” that can infect anyone via an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. “The virus can stay in your stool for 2 weeks or more after you feel better,” said the CDC; symptoms of the virus typically include stomach pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Foreign Policy reports that none of the infected people in Pyeongchang are Olympic competitors, but due to how hard it is to completely eradicate the norovirus from an area, it may only be a matter of time until skiers, skaters, and boarders get it too. It hasn’t reached a pandemic level yet, but is concerning all the same.
The norovirus thrives in heavily populated areas like cruise ships. The germs that carry the virus can catch a ride on anything from dust or strand of hair, to food, clothing, and curtains. All these surfaces are plentiful in places where lots of people are squished close together, like the Winter Olympics.
Cleaning up and sanitizing these places after a norovirus outbreak can be a monumental undertaking, too. Areas where infected people have vomited or had diarrhea need to be disinfected immediately, and all clothing or linens suspected to contain germs must be thoroughly washed. But attempting a massive sanitizing operation while the Olympics are still going on will be prove even more difficult, consider the sheer number of people on site.
Perhaps worst of all is there’s no cure for the norovirus. The people infected with it just have to tough it out for a few days; the CDC recommends they drink plenty of liquids. Children and the elderly are most susceptible to the virus, and in some cases infection has lead to hospitalization and even death.
It’s unlikely this will be the last we hear of the norovirus in Pyeongchang. Expect to hear of more reported cases both during the Winter Olympics, and in the weeks that follow the events’ conclusion. It seems that universal vaccines can’t come soon enough.
Hawking feared rise of enhanced ‘superhumans’
Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Lwp Kommunikacio / Flickr
The late physicist predicted that genetic engineering will ultimately render half of the world’s population obsolete.
Hawking, who died back in March, left a collection of papers and articles which included some of his notes on the existential dangers our species may face in the coming decades.
Of particular interest were his thoughts on a future in which wealthy individuals might choose to have themselves and their children genetically enhanced, thus leading to a race of ‘improved’ superhumans.
“Laws will probably be passed against genetic engineering with humans,” hawking wrote. “But some people won’t be able to resist the temptation to improve human characteristics, such as memory, resistance to disease and length of life.”
Once this begins to happen, genetically enhanced individuals could end up outclassing their ‘unimproved’ counterparts, creating a two-tier society that could prove disastrous for many.
“Once such superhumans appear, there will be significant political problems with unimproved humans, who won’t be able to compete,” wrote Hawking. “Presumably, they will die out, or become unimportant. Instead, there will be a race of self-designing beings who are improving at an ever-increasing rate.”
His thoughts echo those of others who believe that the future of our species lies, not in natural evolution, but in genetic modification and technological augmentation.
Some have even argued that such a transformation may have already begun.
Source: The Guardian
We’ll Soon Know Exactly How Terrible the Internet Is for Our Mental Health
But the web has a dark side, too — cyberbullying, internet gambling, and social media addiction are just a few of its many pitfalls.
Now, a team of European researchers plans to figure out just how much psychological harm the net can cause — and how we might be able to help the people it hurts.
On Monday, the scientists announced a new group called the European Problematic Use of the Internet (EU-PUI) Research Network. That’s a mouthful, but the idea is to create a hub to better understand psychological problems linked to internet usage.
“Problematic Use of the Internet is a serious issue,” said the network’s chair, Naomi Fineberg, in a press release. “Just about everyone uses the Internet, but much information on problem use is still lacking.”
Existing research is very fragmented, according to Fineberg. It focuses only on specific behaviors, geographical regions, or segments of society. This international collaboration, she hopes, will help researchers identify “big picture” takeaways about the internet and mental health.
The group outlined its goals in a manifesto published in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology.
With the document in place, researchers can begin the task of using approximately $600,000 in funding from the European Union to tackle its objectives. Those include everything from figuring out the role genetics might play in problematic internet usage to how website design might affect it.
Now that the EU-PUI Research Network is in place, researchers can use it in a number of ways. They can access resources that could help with their research, or share what they’ve learned about problem behaviors, such as gaming addiction and compulsions related to shopping and social network use
After that, the next step will be figuring out the best ways to prevent and treat these issues, which could ensure the internet is a positive force on the mental health of all — not just some — of us.
The Diabolical Truth About Mass-Market Cocaine
Apparently, it’s a cosmic law that whatever the government wages war against mysteriously becomes exponentially worse. Take drugs, for example. After decades of a brutal and destructive international war, drugs just keep on becoming more prevalent and more dangerous.
But the drug war is part of the zeitgeist, and so we have that strange and terrible dynamic where something that could be potentially be useful and beneficial is forced into the underground where manufacture and distribution are bastardized and taken over by criminals and murderers.
Cocaine is a popular drug with some 22+ million estimated global users, which amounts to almost the entire population of Australia. When produced properly, it’s apparently amazing enough that even Sigmund Freud was quite fond of it, noting:
“…exhilaration and lasting euphoria, which in no way differs from the normal euphoria of the healthy person…You perceive an increase of self-control and possess more vitality and capacity for work….In other words, you are simply normal, and it is soon hard to believe you are under the influence of any drug….Long intensive physical work is performed without any fatigue…This result is enjoyed without any of the unpleasant after-effects that follow exhilaration brought about by alcohol….Absolutely no craving for the further use of cocaine appears after the first, or even after repeated taking of the drug…” [Source]
The Rolling Stones, and many other amazing rock bands from the 60’s and 70’s, produced much of their greatest music under the influence of Merck pharmaceutical grade cocaine. Guitarist Keith Richards talks about this in his autobiography, Life, commenting on the incredible quality difference in pharmaceutical cocaine and street cocaine.
“Pharmaceutical cocaine cannot be compared in any way to cocaine produced in Central or South America. It is pure, does not bring on depression or lethargy. A totally different type of euphoria, one of creativity, exists immediately when it is absorbed by the central nervous system. There are absolutely no withdrawal symptoms.”
Cocaine, as it is today, has unleashed apocalyptic levels of depravity, corruption, and crime in the world. It seems to bring out the very worst in people, unleashing their most base-level, lower-consciousness selves, which is why it’s no surprise that cocaine is the drug that fuels Wall Street.
2017 was a record year for Colombian cocaine production, and because of the insane war on drugs, most of the world’s raw cocaine is produced in clandestine jungle laboratories where coca farmers turn leaves into raw cocaine paste using basic chemistry and commonly found noxious chemical ingredients.
Necessary in the production of jungle cocaine are the following ingredients, according to several documentary reports, two of which can be seen below.
- Sulfuric Acid (Drain Cleaner)
- Caustic Soda (Lye)
- Potassium Salt
- Liquid Fertilizer
- sodium permanganate
But wait, that’s not all!
Once the paste is made, all these chemicals are dumped into rivers in the jungles in South America. Then, to turn the raw paste into the street product, dealers up and down the supply chain add their own fillers, so that by the time it reaches the consumers, it’s typically less than 20% actual cocaine. Filler ingredients vary widely, but here are many of the most common:
- Parasite medications
- Rat Poison
- Fentanyl and other opioids
- Baby laxatives
- Laundry detergent
- Boric acid
- And more!
So, what could be a product that may have some positive uses for some people has now been turned into a black market crime against humanity. Modern cocaine can rot your skin, make your ears turn black and die, and your nose fall off. And the war over it is killing hundreds of thousands of people and corrupting countless others. All so people can snort a grab bag of nasty chemicals.
While cocaine has a sort of glamorous image in the big city, it’s really one of the nastiest, toxic, and environmentally destructive agricultural products on earth. But it is an irreversible fact of human nature that we always have been and always will be drawn to altered states of consciousness. Which is why the war on drugs makes no sense.
About the Author
Vic Bishop is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com. He is an observer of people, animals, nature, and he loves to ponder the connection and relationship between them all. A believer in always striving to becoming self-sufficient and free from the matrix, please track him down on Facebook.
This article (The Diabolical Truth About Mass-Market Cocaine) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Vic Bishop and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio and internal links.
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