What is the most dangerous drug in the world?

Is it cannabis? What about heroin? Or cocaine?

How about none of those…let’s see what the science says:

David Nutt is the Edmond J. Safra professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London. He’s one of the world’s foremost experts on drugs, in terms of their use, their effects on the human brain, and international drug policy. Drug Science – formally the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs – is a science-led drugs charity and research organization headed by Professor Nutt.

In 2010, a now-infamous paper was published by the group detailing their scientific analysis on the harms of drugs available in the U.K., both legal and illegal. Sixteen parameters of harm were chosen, and were divided in terms of the specific drug’s direct and individual effects on the user. A direct effect of a drug on a person could be death through an overdose, for example; an indirect effect could be damage caused by becoming infected with HIV while using contaminated syringes. Each drug’s effect on others and the wider society were also taken into account.

The list included mortality likelihood, dependence, impairment of mental functioning, loss of tangible socioeconomic things (such as a house or a job), physical injury, and criminal activities. The economic cost to the country, as well as the international damage (in terms of political and societal destabilization, for example) were also considered.

“Ranking twenty different drugs on sixteen different harms – that’s the best method we’ve had,” Professor Nutt told IFLScience. In a more general sense, the detrimental effects of drugs could be divided into two broad categories: harm to others and harm to users.    Read more »

Map of the Day

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Andrew Little reinforces Labour’s penchant for cuddling crims

Andrew Little got the bum’s rush from Australia’s government with his little jaunt to Australia to stick up for Kiwis who abandoned their country.

Now he is reinforcing the electorate’s belief that Labour only cares about criminals and bludgers by going to visit some of them in detention.

Kiwis locked up in a Sydney detention centre are today being visited by Labour leader Andrew Little – in the strongest signal yet of his party’s concern at Australia’s tough new stance.

Mr Little and MP Phil Goff are touring the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney to see conditions themselves and speak with New Zealanders who are being kept there.    Read more »

Are there any jokes we are allowed to tell anymore?

Telling jokes has become offensive. Comedians are about to become extinct because the perpetually outraged are shutting down joke telling.

This time it is dwarf jokes that have outraged.

When Jimmy Carr warned The One Show his jokes might get them into trouble, the presenters probably took it as another quip.

But yesterday the BBC1 programme found itself at the centre of a formal probe by the broadcasting watchdog, after a risque comment about dwarves backfired.

Carr, who was on the show to promote his Greatest Hits tour, told viewers that he had once come up with a two-word gag.

He said: “I tried to write the shortest joke possible. So, I wrote a two word joke which was: ‘Dwarf shortage’. It’s just so I could pack more jokes into the show.”

He then looked directly at the camera and added: “If you’re a dwarf and you’re offended by that, grow up.”

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Buy electric cars…that’ll save the planet…oh wait!

I love it when news stories like this hit the headlines.

They show the lunacy of Green thinking.

In this traffic-packed Dutch city, electric cars jostle for space at charging stations. The oldest exhaust-spewing vehicles will soon be banned from the city center. Thanks to generous tax incentives, the share of electric vehicles has grown faster in the Netherlands than in nearly any other country in the world.

But behind the green growth is a filthy secret: In a nation famous for its windmills, electricity is coming from a far dirtier source. Three new coal-fired power plants, including two here on the Rotterdam harbor, are supplying much of the power to fuel the Netherlands’ electric-car boom.

As the world tries to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and combat climate change, policymakers have pinned hopes on electric cars, whose range and convenience are quickly improving. Alongside the boom has come a surging demand for power to charge the vehicles, which can consume as much electricity in a single charge as the average refrigerator does in a month and a half.

The global shift to electric cars has a clear climate benefit in regions that get most of their power from clean sources, such as California or Norway. But in areas supplied by dirtier power, like China, India and even the Netherlands, which is on track to miss ambitious emissions targets set for 2020, the electric-car jump has slimmer payoffs. In some cases, it could even worsen the overall climate impact of driving, experts say.

The dilemma highlights the crucial importance of clean electricity in global goals to slash greenhouse-gas emissions, the focus of a December summit in Paris. Cutting transportation-related emissions can help – but not if pollution is simply shifted from the tailpipes of cars to the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants, which generate 40 percent of the world’s electricity.

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: Heritage Auction Gallery William Alexander Anderson Wallace aka Big Foot Wallace.

Photo: Heritage Auction Gallery
William Alexander Anderson Wallace aka Big Foot Wallace.

The Headless Horseman

And Bigfoot Wallace

 From 1850 to 1855, people reported encountering a headless rider, a mysterious mounted ghostly spectre which brought fear to the plains of west Texas. During those five years, hundreds of people claimed to have seen the spirit rider roaming the lonely ranges riding a huge black mustang stallion as wild as anything that ever raced over the prairie.

Folks would be peacefully walking down the road of an evening when a terrible headless rider would gallop pass on a midnight black stallion with serape blowing in the wind and severed head bounding on the saddle horn beneath its sombrero. Nothing could deter the terrible spectre – not bullets, not arrows, not spears.

Clad in rawhide leggings and a buckskin jacket, the figure seemed to appear out of nowhere. Sometimes he would appear in the bright sunshine of the day tearing across prickly pear flats, but usually it happened in the dark of night. Always alone and sometimes accompanied by lightning and wind, it struck terror into even the bravest gunfighter. Neither horse nor rider ever seemed to tire and it was noted the rider sat rigid as if he were made of wood and never bent or turned in the saddle.

Men who saw him claimed there was only a gaping hole atop his shoulders where his neck and head should have been. Some said he carried his head under a Mexican sombrero tied to the horn of his saddle. The creature he rode was shunned by other wild horses. Sometimes he could be found by the stampede of mustangs running away from his presence. He seemed possessed by the very devil himself and at the sight of humans, would tear away at a speed even the fleetest of the cowboy’s horses could not match.

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NZDF replaces Sig Sauer pistols with the Glock 17


I used to own a Glock 17, it was my favourite pistol, so I am pleased to see the NZDF has decided to deploy them.

They are replacing the Sig Sauer P226 pistols currently in use, which are good pistols too I might add.

New pistols are being supplied to the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).

The Glock 17 pistols will be introduced into service across the Navy, Army, and Air Force in the second half of 2016 to replace the Sig Sauer sidearms that had been used since 1992.

“Ensuring we remain a force equipped to succeed means supplying our people with fit-for-purpose personal protection weapons,” Lieutenant Colonel Dean Paul said.

“This is part of our 2020 strategy for enhanced combat capability and we are pleased to be rolling out the new pistols next year.”

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Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  Luke Warm

Credit: Luke Warm

Want to combat climate change? Turn vegan, ditch dairy, don’t fly and sell your car

So you want to combat climate change?

Apparently that can all be achieved by turning vegan, ditching dairy, not flying and selling your car and becoming a road maggot.

Recycling and growing your own vegetables are popular with those who care for the environment, but a new report says such activities do little to stop climate change.

Instead, researchers say two changes will have the biggest impact: cutting back on red meat and driving an electric car.

As they don’t need fuel or oil, independent think-tank Motu says electric cars make the biggest difference to household emissions and therefore climate change.

With the vehicles priced from as little as $20,000, electric car retailer Henry Schmidt says it’s a no-brainer.

“New Zealand’s about 90 percent renewable energy, we’re an ideal country for electric cars.”

Motu researched what people could do to make the biggest difference to emissions.

As well as driving, they concluded air travel and consuming red meat and dairy are major contributors.

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Government proud of small reduction in government employees. It’s not good enough

The government is trying to reduce troughers and bureaucrats and has made a good start…but it is nowhere near good enough.

Decimation would be a target to aim for.

The number of backroom bureaucrats is at its lowest since a cap was set in 2012.

State Services Minister Paula Bennett says there were 35,632 full time staff at the end of June, 474 fewer than in December.

“This latest result is 843 under the cap set by the Government in 2012, and the lowest since it was introduced,” she said today.

“The Government has made it a focus to cut unnecessary bureaucracy and waste and target expenditure where it will deliver measurable results.”    Read more »