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GONE TO POT

Warning Labels for Weed?

The Daily Beast

The true danger in marijuana legalization lies in the lack of knowledge about its side effects. If the state is going to profit from sales, the health risks can’t be half-baked.

Smoking marijuana poses which of the following health risks: A. Cancer; B. Birth defects; C. Lung damage; D. Brain damage; E. None of the above.The correct answer is: It depends. And when I say, “It depends,” I mean you can find a medical study to support any of the above answers. It’s truly astounding that in 2014 there are still so many conflicting studies and opinions regarding whether marijuana is hazardous to your health.For example, President Obama commented in January that marijuana is no, “more dangerous than alcohol.

Hold the Bacon

How DC Will Make You Fat and Dead

Bloomberg

Lost in the vitriolic debate over Obama’s health reforms is the simple fact that tobacco, alcohol, and bad food are the leading killers in America. Professor Nicholas Freudenberg on why we need to change our consumption if we’re going to get healthier.

While it’s unrealistic to expect that recent successes in enrolling more people into health insurance will diminish the health care debates in Congress any time before November’s elections, Washington’s obsession with ObamaCare has made the nation lose sight of other strategies for improving health and reducing health care costs.Advances in public health require not only getting more people insured, but also finding ways to turn off the faucets that are sending floods of Americans with chronic diseases into our emergency rooms, hospitals—and morgues.

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Unseen: HIV’s Black, Female Face

via Vimeo

Thirty years after the HIV virus was identified, the modern face of the epidemic—predominantly black and female—remains hidden. Filmmaker Hannelore Williams’ new docu-series wants to change that.

The statistics are upsetting and well known. Despite an encouraging recent drop in transmission rates, black women still represent two-thirds of all new HIV infections among women. In fact, they are 20 times more likely to seroconvert than white women—a greater level of disparity than ever before. The cavalcade of AIDS anniversaries over the last few years has spawned a corresponding interest in producing museum exhibits, documentaries, and feature films about the early years of the crisis.

UK ABORTION

The Gender Abortion Scandal

Rob Lewine/Corbis

A report claiming female babies are being aborted on a mass scale within Britain’s immigrant communities has brought controversy—and condemnation from pro-choice groups.

A global war on girls, which is endemic in parts of the developing world, may have landed in Britain according to a study that claims some immigrant families are using selective terminations to choose the sex of their children.Afghan, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities in Britain have been accused of aborting female fetuses by the Independent newspaper. An analysis of government figures suggests that the proportion of second and third born children within those groups is statistically abnormal—favoring the birth of boys.

It’s Your Mom, Dude

Parents Come Out of the Pot Closet

Ron Wurzer/Getty

Two weeks after recreational marijuana stores opened in Colorado, baby boomers are lining up to celebrate. If anyone can decriminalize marijuana in the minds of Americans—it’s them.

When Denver marijuana-scene enthusiast “Citizen Jay Daily” picks up the phone, he politely requests permission to multitask. “Hey, don’t forget your weed! Right on, enjoy,” he shouts. In the middle of fielding questions from me, the 46-year-old is volunteering at one of Denver’s biggest marijuana dispensaries—where he’s been given the enviable job of bagging people’s long-awaited pot.“I wish you could see it in here,” he says with audible excitement.

Migraine Blues

Mother Nature’s Brain Freeze

Scott Olson/Getty

Right now it’s freezing temperatures triggering headaches, but migraine sufferers know all too well that the weather is never their friend, be it fluctuating humidity, high wind, or plunging barometric pressure.

My head is pounding, so I check the weather. The temperature has dropped significantly over the past couple of hours and there’s an 80 percent chance it will snow tonight. I get some solace in confirming the cause of the excruciating pain behind my eyes, but no relief. I can feel my stomach churning from all the Advil I’ve consumed today, but when I say to whoever will listen that I know a storm is coming because my head is killing me, I’m met with looks of confusion, skepticism, and doubt.

Fruity

This Diet Is Bananas

Henry Hanna/Getty

This toned Aussie went from fat to fit by eating dozens of bananas a day—and little else. But is her radical eating plan actually an eating disorder? ‘Absofruitly not,’ she says.

Think your post-holiday diet is restrictive? Try eating bananas—all bananas, all the time.Next to the cotton ball diet and tapeworm diet in the recent annals of absurd eating plans is 30 Bananas a Day, a booming fitness craze pioneered by a ripped Australian that counts some 20,000 followers—and an accompanying hate site, 30bananasadaysucks.com.The rules are as simple as the benefits are disputed: the plan mandates that 97 percent of your calories per day come from fruit—leaving 3 percent for greens, nuts, and seeds.

Holiday Spirit?

Office Parties Are Bad for Biz

craftvision/Getty

It might be best to cancel that holiday party. Research suggests forcing coworkers to mingle can be damaging for relationships between diverse members of staff.

Office holiday parties are a polarizing subject. Whether or not you like them probably depends a lot on your relationship with your coworkers and your boss’s propensity for inappropriate drunken remarks. But the question of why these parties take place isn’t particularly complicated: Common sense holds that they’re a good way for companies to build morale and forge a closer-knit workplace.A paper published in a recent issue of Organization Science, however, suggests out that for members of underrepresented groups, this might not be the case—these parties can actually be counterproductive.

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Mentally Ill: Victims, Not Killers

Office of the Connecticut State's Attorney Judicial District of Danbury/AP

With yet another school shooting in Colorado, an important question remains unanswered: Will more spending on mental health treatment actually reduce violence?

The massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School a year ago has stoked new interest in the connection between mental health and mass violence. Treat mental health disorders and seemingly random violence will ebb too, the theory goes. As an offshoot of his program to reduce gun violence (including mass murder), President Obama mandated that insurers cover equally treatment for mental health problems and physical disease. A new report found that 37 states have increased their mental health spending since the tragic shooting.

Holy Purell

Can You Catch a Cold at Communion?

Nina Shannon/Getty

Nothing is sacred to thy neighbor’s germs, but millions take part in the cup-sharing religious rite. Why passing on the sacrament may be forgivable during cold and flu season.

Christmas is second only to Easter as the holiday most likely to attract churchgoers. In the coming weeks, more people than usual will be filing into churches big and small, and many of those parishioners will be taking Communion.The overlap of the religious rite with cold and flu season raises an uncomfortable question: Is receiving Communion sanitary?Many Communion practices fly in the face of the day-to-day precautions most educated adults ordinarily take to prevent illness.

5 Secrets for Better Health Care

Johns Hopkins Hospital surgeon Marty Makary shares the five insider tips to getting top-notch medical care. First stop? The internet.

  1. Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? Play

    Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That?

  2. The Number: $5.7 Billion Play

    The Number: $5.7 Billion

  3. The War on Waxing? Play

    The War on Waxing?

Books

Healthy Reads

The Happiness Project

The Happiness Project

The famous Grant Study tracked hundreds of Harvard men from youth to death to determine what predicts contentment.

Waste

Has the War on Cancer Failed?

Unlikely Cures

An Epidemic of Absence

A Selfish Read

What Richard Dawkins Reads

Nicomachean

How to Be Ethical