Photo of the Day

Mercy Brown?s gravestone in the cemetery of the Baptist Church in Exeter.

Mercy Brown Vampire Incident

Every town has its mysteries, but some places hold secrets far more bizarre than others do. The Mercy Brown vampire was roaming the streets and taking lives. She apparently wouldn?t stay dead. In these enlightened times, vampires are relegated to literature and folklore. This was not always so. As recent as the 19th century, many Americans believed that there were undead humans that walked among us and fed on the blood of the living.

The case of Mercy Lena Brown, a 19-year-old resident of the town of Exeter, was the last known instance in the state of Rhode Island of a large group of otherwise sensible folks exhuming, mutilating, immolating, and cannibalising a corpse to kill a vampire.

The Mercy Brown vampire incident occurred in 1892 and is one of the best-documented cases of the exhumation of a corpse in order to perform rituals to banish an undead manifestation. The incident was part of the wider New England vampire panic.

Several cases of consumption (tuberculosis) occurred in the family of George and Mary Brown in Exeter, Rhode Island. Friends and neighbours believed that this was due to the influence of the undead. Two family members’ bodies were dug up, and they exhibited the expected level of decomposition, so they were thought not to be the cause. Daughter Mercy, however, was held in a freezer-like, above-ground vault, and her corpse exhibited almost no decomposition. This was taken as confirmation that the undead were influencing the family to be sick. Mercy’s heart was burned, then the ashes were mixed with water and given to her brother, Edwin, to drink as he was sick, in order to stop the influence of the undead.

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Photo of the Day

A child soldier with a human skull resting on the tip of his rifle.Dei Kraham, Cambodia. 1973. Bettmann/Getty Images

Pol Pot

The Brutal Cambodian Dictator

After a solid 30 years of solemnly pledging “never again,” the world stood by and watched in horror as another 20th-century genocide unfolded ? this time in Cambodia.?As head of the Khmer Rouge, Pol Pot oversaw an unprecedented and extremely brutal attempt to remove Cambodia from the modern world and establish an agrarian utopia. While attempting to create this utopia, Pol Pot created the Cambodian Genocide, which lasted from 1975 to 1979.

Pol Pot conducted a rule of terror that led to the deaths of nearly a quarter of Cambodia’s seven million people, by the most widely accepted estimates, through execution, torture, starvation and disease.

His smiling face and quiet manner belied his brutality. He and his inner circle of revolutionaries adopted a Communism based on Maoism and Stalinism, then carried it to extremes: They and their Khmer Rouge movement tore apart Cambodia in an attempt to ”purify” the country’s agrarian society and turn people into revolutionary worker-peasants.

Beginning on the day in 1975 when his guerrilla army marched silently into the capital, Phnom Penh, Pol Pot emptied the cities, pulled families apart, abolished religion and closed schools. Everyone was ordered to work, even children. The Khmer Rouge outlawed money and closed all markets. Doctors were killed, as were most people with skills and education that threatened the regime.

The Khmer Rouge especially persecuted members of minority ethnic groups — the Chinese, Muslim Chams, Vietnamese and Thais who had lived for generations in the country, and any other foreigners — in an attempt to make one ”pure” Cambodia. Non-Cambodians were forbidden to speak their native languages or to exhibit any ”foreign” traits. The pogrom against the Cham minority was the most devastating, killing more than half of that community.

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I knew it…vegetarianism gives you cancer


Wonder no more if vegetarians are sickly…they most probably are..with cancer.

Long term vegetarianism can lead to genetic mutations which raise the risk of heart disease and cancer, scientists have found.

Populations who have had a primarily vegetarian diet for generations were found to be far more likely to carry DNA which makes them susceptible to inflammation.

Scientists in the US believe that the mutation occured to make it easier for vegetarians to absorb essential fatty acids from plants.

But it has the knock-on effect of boosting the production of arachidonic acid, which is known to increase inflammatory disease and cancer. When coupled with a diet high in vegetable oils – such as sunflower oil – the mutated gene quickly turns fatty acids into dangerous arachidonic acid.

The finding may help explain previous research which found vegetarian populations are nearly 40 per cent more likely to suffer colorectal cancer than meat eaters, a finding that has puzzled doctors because eating red meat is known to raise the risk.
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Photo Of The Day

Government inquiries condemned the study as unethical and new policies were enacted. The U.S. paid $10 million in a class-action lawsuit to study participants and their descendants. PHOTO CREDIT: THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES

Government inquiries condemned the study as unethical and new policies were enacted. The U.S. paid $10 million in a class-action lawsuit to study participants and their descendants.

The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

Historically,?African-Americans, Native Americans and other minorities have been excluded from clinical trials that seek to uncover risk factors for disease and offer life-saving new treatments. The infamous federally funded Tuskegee syphilis experiment?shut down in 1972?denied treatment to hundreds of African-American men suffering from the disease.

The?Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment?was conducted by government funded?researchers?from the Tuskegee Institute?between 1932 and 1972 in Macon County, Alabama to examine the progression of syphilis in poor African-American men.?When?penicillin was discovered as an effective medication for the disease in 1947, researchers refused to administer it, choosing instead to continue the study. In 1972, journalist Jean Heller broke the story and an enraged public forced the researchers to put an end to the study.?Government inquiries condemned the study as unethical and in 1973,?a class-action lawsuit was?filed on behalf of the study participants. In 1974, a $10 million settlement was reached, and all living participants were promised lifetime medical benefis by the U.S. government.

Early in the twentieth century, the medical community was practically helpless in its battle against syphilis. The crippling affliction was spreading at an alarming rate in certain areas, particularly among the poorer segments of the world population. Even for those who could afford medical care, the only known treatments rivaled the disease itself in the harm they did to sufferers.

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Halfwits don’t want to admit halfwittedness

The anti-vaxx brigade are now officially an underground movement in Australia, not wanting to admit their stupidity and wanton child abuse to friends and family.

Parents who choose not to immunise their kids are keeping it a secret from family and friends, rather than have to justify their controversial decision.

Edith Cowan University researchers interviewed a group of parents from an anti-vaccination cluster area about their reasons for not immunising their children.

All the parents said they hadn’t told their extended family and friends that their children weren’t vaccinated.

“They don’t want the confrontation, they’re tired of people questioning their choices, and they don’t want to justify their decision, so they just don’t tell people,” researcher Bronwyn Harman said, noting it was a very polarising and emotive issue.

“This is a huge problem if Australia-wide we’ve got a group of people choosing not to vaccinate their children and they’re not telling people. We need to stop vilifying these people so they are able to identify themselves so we don’t put people who do choose to vaccinate at risk.”

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Coming Out about Depression

A newspaper has an interesting article about coming out about depression and one man’s experiences.

Logging on to my laptop, I emailed my secretary telling her I needed to work from home for a few days after coming down with another bout of flu.

The first bit was certainly true: I could barely get out of bed, never mind leave the house. But what had floored me wasn’t a bug, but another episode of the depression that had dogged my life for as long as I can remember.

Depression that left me paralysed, tearful and unable to cope with the simplest task. Depression that I lied about to myself and concealed from nearly everyone else – certain that revealing the truth would stop my successful career in its tracks.

No wonder. Perceived stigma surrounding mental health problems persists: this week, Ruby Wax, who has courageously spoken about her depression, advised against transparency with employers.

“When people say ‘Should you tell them at work?’ I say ‘Are you crazy?’ You have to lie,” she said.

“If you have someone who is physically ill, they can’t fire you. They can’t fire you for mental health problems but they’ll [find] another reason.”

It’s no coincidence that people use language like “coming out” when confessing to mental health issues. There is the fear that your true self will not be accepted, or that it could be held against you. It has taken me years to realise the opposite is true: in my case, being open about my struggles with depression with peers and seniors has liberated me.

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Should John Key get a new flag…or help the people of Vanuatu? #cyclonepam


Forget Northland, forget our so-called child poverty issue, and forget a referendum to change flag no one wants changed…the people of Vanuatu are in desperate need.

It is reported that the flag referendum and subsequent change would cost something in the region of $35 million.

Vanuatu has been smashed by Cyclone Pam, what little they did have is now spread all over the Pacific.

Cyclone Pam is one of the worst storms to have ever hit a populated area and the devastation will take years to recover.

Does John Key really need a new flag, or would the money be better spent aiding our Pacific neighbours in their time of need? ? Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo: Topher Adam Photography

Photo: Topher Adam Photography

Plague Doctor Read more »


Obesity the big killer, not fags

Watch the vested interests and veteran troughers move into obesity programmes and start targeting food and beverage companies like they did with tobacco.

They will use the same tactics, the same programmes and demand millions of dollars of your money to tell you that you are all horrible people, using horrible products and that you need to go through “obesity cessation programmes” that they provide at great cost. Wait till you hear about “Fat Control Programmes” and Sugar Control Programmes”.

How much coin? They already receive $27 million dold out by Ministry of Health for obesity programmes.

Mark my words…they are lining everyone up and will use results like this.

Obesity, rather than tobacco-related disease, will affect more people’s health in the future according to a new report released today by the Ministry of Health.? Read more »


There is a good chance the zombie apocalypse will start with teachers.

Vice has a post about dealing with an outbreak of infectious disease by target quarantining key groups…like teachers.

In the event of a pandemic outbreak of bird flu or the new MERS virus, public officials might want to look at quarantining children and teachers first?a new study has found that young people and school teachers are prime candidates to spread infection, due to the amount of “social contact” they have each day.

Anyone who has watched chicken pox spread through a classroom may think the study’s findings are just?common sense, but tracking disease as it moves through a population has been tough, especially with highly contagious, airborne infections like the flu.

The study, published in?Proceedings of the Royal Society B, tracked the social interactions of about 5,000 British people. It found that?average person had about 26 hours of contact with other people?per day (when someone was?in close contact with multiple people at once, the time with each person was counted). But some groups had much more contact than the average person, including?children (47 hours), health workers (33 hours), people in the service industry (33 hours),?and teachers (32 hours). ?? Read more »