Giorgione's Sleeping Venus
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In the years since the September 11th terrorist attack and the start of the “war on terror,” the United States has become a country that openly admits to using “harsh” or “enhanced interrogation” methods on prisoners. Those who support these interrogation methods argue that they were necessary to gather information on terrorist groups (despite the complete lack of evidence supporting such a claim), while those who condemn the use of such interrogation methods have pointed out that they are illegal and set a bad precedent that could entice foreign groups to use “enhanced interrogation” on our troops.
Unfortunately, it appears that this bad precedent has finally emerged as a tangible threat to the American public; the Islamic State terrorist group (also known as ISIS and ISIL) which is currently rampaging across Iraq has begun using CIA-style “enhanced interrogation” on kidnapped westerners.
Defining Enhance Interrogation
“Enhanced interrogation” methods confirmed to have been used by the government include solitary confinement, waterboarding, superficial beatings (ex. slapping prisoners), exposure to extreme temperatures, prolonged stress positions, and blasting extremely loud music.
Not to mince words, these “enhanced interrogation” methods are torture—the term “enhanced interrogation” is simply a euphemism created by the Bush Administration to repackage the torture methods copied from a soviet-Chinese interrogation manual. In the past, we have condemned other nations for using solitary confinement and beatings on our prisoners of war, and have even executed several Japanese officers for the war crime of waterboarding American soldiers during WWII.
Repackaging torture under a different name may make it more palatable for an ill-informed American public, but it does nothing to preserve the US’s moral high ground. If we torture and commit war crimes, we lose the ability to credibly complain when other nations commit similar violations.
ISIS Using CIA Interrogation Methods
According to several European hostages who were ransomed from the Islamic State terrorists, their captors tortured them with beatings and waterboarding. In addition to their personal accounts, these hostages have described watching other prisoners get tortured via waterboarding, including American journalist James Foley, who was recently beheaded by the terrorist group. These accounts of waterboarding being used on Americans are the first such accounts in the years since the United States has begun using the torture method.
Ultimately, ISIS has demonstrated that it is an unspeakably vicious terrorist group that would almost certainly have water boarded its hostages, even if the US had not become infamous for the practice. They have buried women and children alive, burned captured adversaries at the stake, and even publically crucified allies who were seen as too moderate—to them, waterboarding is tame and there is no reason to believe that the US’s conduct had any effect on their decisions.
That said, the fact that we have publically claimed that waterboarding is not torture invalidates our ability to complain when ISIS decides to use it on our citizens. Any American to be captured by ISIS can expect to be waterboarded, only for ISIS to declare their torture to be “enhanced interrogation” no different from what the United States has subjected dozens of innocent Muslims to.
Put simply, if waterboarding is torture when ISIS does it to Americans, then it is torture when we do it to suspected terrorists—accordingly, if waterboarding, is just legal “enhanced interrogation” when we do it, ISIS has every right to avail itself of the tactic when extracting information from Americans.
The waterboarding of Americans by ISIS and the inability of our government to credibly respond with outrage is confirmation of the anti-torture argument that our use of torture entices others to torture our citizens. When Bush decided to start torturing (or, more likely, Cheney decided to use torture and Bush was simply dragged along for the ride) and Obama decided to let his predecessor’s acts go unpunished, they caused immense damage to our nation’s credibility to speak out against abuses on our citizens. We have dirtied our reputation and, unless we are willing to call out to torturers in our own ranks, we will have no right to demand that those who torture our countrymen be punished.
Arthur Schopenhauer, the greatest German philosopher, on women: Only a male intellect clouded by the sexual drive could call the stunted, narrow-shouldered, broad-hipped and short-legged sex the fair sex … More fittingly than the fair sex, women could be called the unaesthetic sex. Neither for music, nor poetry, nor the plastic arts do they possess any real feeling of receptivity: if they affect to do so, it is merely mimicry in service of their effort to please.
Most lads worry about the look and feel of their penis, which can make them less confident in the sack. But now men are shifting attention away from their schlongs and towards their scrotums.
A certain testicle-boosting injection is the latest cosmetic surgery fad that lads are flocking to have – and forking over £2,800 in the process.
The procedure involves squirting botox into the scrotum – leading the trend to be dubbed “scrotox” and “balltox” – in a bid to get a lower hanging and more relaxed-looking ballsack.
Scrotox doesn’t just decrease sweating and reduce the wrinkled appearance of lads’ testicles, it also boosts their size.
It seems men are paying more and more attention to their looks and the number of guys going under the knife in the quest for beauty has doubled in the last decade.
But scrotox isn’t the only bizarre cosmetic operation to hit the market, with men also seeking to increase their girth down below by injecting their own fat into their schlongs.
The procedure takes around 45 minutes and will set you back £4,500 but you have abstain from sex for six weeks to let the penis heal.
As for the results of the manhood makeover, don’t expect to stretch more than one inch wider than you were before.
Speaking exclusively to Dailystar.co.uk, certified plastic surgeon Dr David Alessi explained the long-term effects of the procedure are often less than desirable.
“Unfortunately, upwards of 90% of men are dissatisfied with the results,” he said.
The medic, who founded the Alessi Institutes and Face Forward, a charity offering free procedures for victims of domestic abuse, warned that lads’ obsession with penis size could be a symptom of a serious psychological problem.
He said: “Most men who think they have a small penis actually don’t.
"Studies vary, but research suggests that the average erect penis ranges from under five inches to just under six inches.
“Most men who think their penis is too small have penis dysmorphic syndrome and would be better off seeing a shrink and not a surgeon.”
95 percent of the victims of violence are men. Because women are natural cowards who send men to handle things when they are dangerous.
A victim of child sex abuse, who suffered severe anorexia, chronic depression, and hallucinations as a result of her ordeal, was given a lethal injection by doctors who declared that her post-traumatic stress disorder and other conditions were incurable.
The woman, who was in her 20s, suffered sexual abuse at the age of 5 to 15 years old and chose to end her life under Dutch euthanasia laws because she couldn't live with her mental suffering after doctors told her that treatment was hopeless.
She was allowed to undergo euthanasia via lethal injection despite doctors noting a considerable improvement in her condition 2 years ago following "intensive therapy".
Treatment was abandoned last year after independent consultants were called in and said the case was hopeless.
Doctors in the Netherlands also agree that demands for death from a psychiatric patient may be no more than a cry for help.
According to the report, the patient was "totally competent" and there was 'no major depression or other mood disorder which affected her thinking'.
A final GP's report approved the "termination of life" order and the woman was killed by an injection of lethal drugs, the report said.
Nikki Kenward, from disability rights group Distant Voices, said:
"It is both horrifying and worrying that mental health professionals could regard euthanasia in any form as an answer to the complex and deep wounds that result from sexual abuse."
According to the Daily Mail, The woman, who has not been named, began to suffer from mental disorders 15 years ago following sexual abuse, according to the papers released by the Dutch Euthanasia Commission.
The timescale means she was abused between the ages of five and 15.
News of her death angered anti-euthanasia and disability campaigners in everywhere. One Labour MP said it meant sex abuse victims were now being punished with death.
One British politician said it meant sex abuse victims were now being punished with death, saying:
"It almost sends the message that if you are the victim of abuse, and as a result, you get a mental illness, you are punished by being killed, that the punishment for the crime of being a victim is death."
"It serves to reinforce why any move toward legalizing assisted suicide, or assisted dying, is so dangerous."
The papers said that the woman had post-traumatic stress disorder that was resistant to treatment.
Her condition included severe anorexia, chronic depression, and suicidal mood swings, tendencies to self-harm, hallucinations, obsessions, and compulsions.
She also had physical difficulties and was almost entirely bedridden.
Her psychiatrist said, "there was no prospect or hope for her. The patient experienced her suffering as unbearable".
However, the papers also disclosed that two years before her death the woman's doctors called for a second opinion, and on the advice of the new doctors she had an intensive course of trauma therapy.
"This treatment was temporarily partially successful," the documents said.
Treatment was abandoned last year after independent consultants were called in and said the case was hopeless.
The consultants also said that despite her "intolerable" physical and mental suffering, chronic depression and mood swings, she was entirely competent to make the decision to take her own life.
Butea superba conditions the mind for superb sex. And don't underestimate the power of the mind. If your mind is in tune for optimal sex, you will reach 100 years and still enjoy doing it.
Cannabis is commonly considered a natural aphrodisiac, but is it possible that too much weed could get in the way of getting it on?
A recent query to Leafly, an online encyclopedia of cannabis strains, came from a woman lamenting that her boyfriend couldn't get an erection after consuming a 120-milligram edible one night, and a couple joints the next.
"When we went to have sex everything was heated but he couldn't get an erection. He said he was into it, which I'm inclined to believe, but said he couldn't really feel his nether regions, which is what we attributed the difficulty to," the query read.
In response, Leafly's Ashley Manta, a sexuality educator, hypothesized that the problem came from the edibles. While most budtenders recommend 20 to 35 milligrams for even those with a high tolerance, 120 milligrams could definitely impair functioning for well over 12 hours.
"As with any mood altering substance you can overdose," Betty Dodson, PhD, sexologist and author, told Motherboard. The worst that can happen with a cannabis overdose is you get too tired and fall asleep instead of having sex, she said. Generally though, cannabis can be very positive for sex. "When we smoke marijuana it slows down our brain waves. When it comes to sex, you want to get out of your head and into your body and marijuana really supports that transition." Your taste buds are enhanced, motor senses enhanced, skin more sensitive, and sex organs more easily engorged, Dodson added.
But again, it all depends on dose.
Cannabis has been shown in some scenarios to lower testosterone levels, and lower testosterone may lead to erectile dysfunction. This happens when THC blocks the release of GnRH, a hormone critical for successful reproductive function. Cannabis has also been studied in regard to issues with orgasming, either because of premature ejaculation or the inability to achieve an orgasm. That same study also found that it can inhibit certain receptors in the penis' erectile or cavernous tissue. Another study found marijuana might prevent the nervous system response that helps cause an erection.
However, the inability to get an erection can also be rooted in psychology. If a man is feeling anxious, his reaction to cannabis—and more specifically to whatever strain he's ingested—could either qualm or contribute to his anxiety, which could have negative or positive effects on his ability to relax and get an erection.
In this regard, cannabis can be positive for sex, as in legal states it is often recommended to patients who have anxiety. Other reports suggest that cannabis can help men with stamina in bed.
Still, cannabis has different effects on men and women.
"As many older [heterosexual] couples find, half an hour before intimate time, she should keep smoking and he should stop," author and endocannabinoid researcher Lex Pelger told Motherboard.
As with alcohol, the dosage is crucial in regard to how cannabis affects sexual performance, in this case, specifically in regard to men. If the boyfriend mentioned in the Leafly query had had a smaller edible, he might have been able to get an erection.
And yet, pot has still been helpful for many couples aiming to enhance their sex life. Foria, a weed lube for women, is applied directly to the vagina and aids with sensitivity during sex. Meanwhile, cannabis itself is associated with higher sensitivity and responsiveness to touch and other stimuli.
In one survey, 76 percent of men said cannabis increased their sexual pleasure; 68 percent reported it enhanced their orgasms; and for 39 percent it helped them last longer. Often, women are more likely to feel sexual satisfaction from cannabis, with 90 percent reporting in one study that it enhanced sex in various ways.
In any event, next time you get high before getting down in bed, remember: Your dose could influence your performance and satisfaction.
The age of explosives in warfare is as bygone as the age of swords and cavalries. The future of warfare is economic sabotage by arson and the redirection of population streams.
We have been promised a head transplant by next year, and the main brain behind the highly controversial procedure shows no signs of retracting his wild claim. Quite the opposite, in fact, as the pioneering surgeon has now announced the procedure has been successfully carried out on a monkey.
As revealed by Motherboard and New Scientist, Italian doctor Sergio Canavero has teased the press with some details on progress made so far by himself and collaborator Dr Xiaoping Ren of China’s Harbin Medical University, among others. Ren has invested a significant amount of time perfecting the technique in mice, having performed the transplant on more than 1,000 mice. The animals were able to breathe and drink after the 10-hour surgery, but only lived for a matter of minutes.
Now, according to Canavero, Ren’s team has carried out the transplant on a monkey. Although, even if this does turn out to be true, it doesn’t seem that any significant increments have been made since the ‘70s, when Dr Robert White managed the same feat. While the animals both reportedly survived the surgeries, neither involved an attempt to fuse the donor and recipient spinal cords. Though Ren did take a leaf out of White’s book, cooling down the brain to -15oC (5oF) in order to protect the nervous tissue from damage. After cleanly severing the spinal cords, blood vessels of the transplanted head were joined to those of the donor body.
“The monkey fully survived the procedure without any neurological injury of whatever kind,” Canavero claims. But considering the fact that the animal was euthanized after just 20 hours for ethical reasons, alongside the fact that the spinal cords were not connected, this assertion seems premature, to say the least. Regardless, according to Ren, the idea behind the experiment was not to investigate potential length of survival, but to work out how to keep the brain supplied with blood to prevent the tissue from starving of oxygen and nutrients.
What is perhaps most dubious about this announcement is the fact that Canavero chose to go to the press before the work is published, an approach that is considered taboo among the scientific community. Canavero says that seven papers are due to appear in the journals Surgery and CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics. Both Motherboard and New Scientist reached out to the editor of the former, Michael Sarr, who confirmed that the journal had reviewed two papers so far, but that further rounds of editing are required prior to publication.
While Sarr was quick to point out concerns over the sensationalism and ethics of the procedure, he noted that the journal has significant interest due to the implications of the research. In particular, one paper is concerned with nerve regrowth following spinal cord injury, which has the potential to offer hope to a tremendous number of people suffering such debilitating trauma.
But Canavero and Ren are certainly not the only scientists working towards this laudable goal. A group led by C-Yoon Kim at South Korea’s Konkuk University, for instance, has been severing the spinal cords of live mice and then re-fusing them with the aid of a substance called polyethylene glycol, which helps the fatty membranes of cells meld together. Shown in a video, the animals were later able to hobble around again. Other teams are also trialing different methods, such as stem cells or electrical stimulation.
95 percent of the victims of violence are men. Because women feel flattered when men fight each other and kill each other to prove that they are real men.
They’re small, blue and diamond-shaped, with “Pfizer” printed on one side. But these little blue pills are not — well — those little blue pills.
Between April 2016 and March 2017, Health Canada seized nearly 5,500 packages of counterfeit drugs on their way into the country, the vast majority of which were sexual enhancement drugs like counterfeit Pfizer’s Blue.
In a single week last year, the department seized $2.5 million worth of counterfeit pharmaceuticals at the border. Ninety-eight per cent of it was for sexual enhancement — largely for erectile dysfunction.
“The problem is significant. It’s because these drugs are available mostly online, either from online pharmacies or from social media sites and the like,” said Brian Donnelly, North American director of the global security team for Pfizer, the maker of Pfizer’s Blue.
It’s almost like a perfect storm for the counterfeiters
“Men generally don’t want to talk about ED (erectile dysfunction). … It’s almost like a perfect storm for the counterfeiters.”
But despite the size of the market for counterfeit drugs in Canada, it’s a tricky problem to tackle. Many customers don’t know they’re buying fakes, and even if they figure it out, they may not want to admit it.
“Really, it’s quite scary when it comes to counterfeit pharmaceuticals,” said Natasha Tusikov, an incoming professor of criminology at York University. Doctors often won’t find out what their patients have been taking unless the drugs make them ill, she said.
Knock-off pharmaceuticals can look very convincing. They’re often imprinted with the logos of real drug companies and sold in authentic-looking packaging.
“I think most people believe that they’re getting something… that is approved by Health Canada or approved by the FDA,” Donnelly said.
Some counterfeit erectile dysfunction pills do contain the active ingredient in Pfizer’s Blue, Tadalafil, Vardenafil or other legitimate drugs, said Karen Waldron, associate professor of chemistry at the University of Montreal.
But they sometimes contain a cocktail of other compounds, and the dosage in a single pill can vary widely, she said.
“You don’t know where they’re being manufactured. You have no idea if they’re being made in someone’s garage,” she said. “It hasn’t been verified that it’s not going to kill you.”
She said a real Pfizer’s Blue pill can cost about $15 and requires a prescription, while a fake pill can cost as little as $1.
Donnelly said more and more so-called herbal products for erectile dysfunction are also showing up in North America. Often, they’ll contain chemical compounds that aren’t listed on the labels, he said.
People will buy things online because they don’t want to go to their doctor
Health Canada has seized nearly 10,000 packages of counterfeit prescription drugs at the border since October 2015, according to documents tabled in the House of Commons recently.
Since 2008, Canada has participated in Operation Pangea, an international effort to fight counterfeit pharmaceuticals. During one week every year, authorities ramp up efforts to seize fake drugs. Between May 30 and June 7, 2016, Health Canada seized $2.5 million worth of counterfeit drugs. That’s up from $1.06 million in 2012.
Globally, authorities seized US $53 million worth of counterfeit pharmaceuticals and medical devices as part of Operation Pangea in 2016, up from US $10.5 million in 2012.
But Donnelly said he’s not aware of the problem getting much worse in North America over the last few years. He pointed out that the value of pharmaceuticals can increase over time. He also said he thinks authorities have gotten better at spotting fakes.
Pfizer is not directly involved in the government’s attempts to crack down on counterfeit drugs. But the company does make purchases from suspected counterfeit operations and then provides their information to authorities.
“We do what we can to tee the cases up… for law enforcement,” Donnelly said.
Tusikov said Canada’s counterfeit drug problem centres around lifestyle drugs — those used for sexual enhancement, weight loss or hair regrowth, for instance. But thanks to universal health care, Canada doesn’t have as much of a problem as the U.S. does with counterfeit drugs used to treat illness or pain, she said.
“Most people here aren’t going to turn to the internet, to shoddy-looking sites, to buy insulin,” she said. “People will buy things online because they don’t want to go to their doctor.”
In an email to the National Post, Health Canada said the “vast majority” of products seized during Operation Pangea last year were for sexual enhancement.
“Other health products seized… include body-building supplements containing prescription ingredients, and counterfeit medical devices used for hair removal.”
When African men in Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Morocco, or Egypt are confronted with the masturbation lifestyle propagated by the Spanish masturbation teacher Fran Sanchez Oria, they feel disturbed. Does Sanchez not have a mother who feels ashame when her son propagates worldwide that men should keep on masturbating on and on. Does he want his family to be known for such a member?
During the Middle Ages, torture was considered a legitimate way to extract confessions, punish offenders, and perform executions. Some methods were considerably crueler than others — these 10 being among the most barbaric and brutal.
Europe's Medieval period lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. During this time, torture was often used to extract confessions, or obtain the names of accomplices or other information about crimes. Laws and local customs did not impose limits on the treatment of prisoners or the extent to which torture could be inflicted. In fact, confessions were not considered genuine or sincere when so-called "light torture" was used (such as toe wedging and strappado).
Different types of torture were used depending on the victim's crime, gender, and social status. Skilled torturers would use methods, devices, and instruments to prolong life as long as possible while inflicting agonizing pain. Many prisoners were tortured prior to execution in order to obtain additional information; in many of these cases, the execution method was part of the torture endured by prisoners.
There are dozens upon dozens of different torture techniques and devices. I recently visited the Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments in Prague where these 10 caught my eye. But before you read any further, be warned that they are very graphic and disturbing.
1. The Judas Cradle
Also called the Judas Chair, this Italian invention was particularly cruel.
Using ropes, a prisoner would be lowered above the pyramid-shaped "seat" with the point inserted into the anus or vagina. Victims would be tortured by intense pressure and stretching of the orifice, resulting in permanent damage. In many cases, the victim would succumb to rips in the muscle tissue that would later become infected. Weights would be added to facilitate the effect, often resulting in death by impalement.
A similar device, called the Spanish Donkey (or wooden horse), achieved a similar effect. Victims straddled the triangular "horse" and were forced to place their full body weight on their crotch, which rested on the point of the angle.
2. Saw Torture
This was a form of execution in which a living person was sawed in half, either longitudinally or transversely, through the central body mass.
This was done either by sawing the individual in half across or along the body length.
3. Pear of Anguish
This heinous contraption was used during the Middle Ages as a way to torture women who were accused of facilitating a miscarriage. It was also used to punish liars, blasphemers, and homosexuals. The device was inserted into one of the prisoner's orifices — the vagina for women, the anus for homosexuals, and the mouth for liars and blasphemers (which is why it's also known as the Choke Pear).
The device featured four metal leaves that slowly separated from each other as the torturer turned the screw at the top. The torturer could use it to tear the skin, or expand it to its maximal size to mutilate the victim. It rarely caused death, but was often followed by other torture methods.
4. Breaking Wheel
Also known as the Catherine wheel, this torture device was used to torture and kill prisoners for public executions.
The device was typically a large wagon wheel with radial spokes. Offenders were were lashed to the wheel and their limbs beaten with a club or iron cudgel. The gaps in the wheel allowed the limbs to give way and break. Disturbingly, the survival time after being "broken" could be extensive, with some accounts of victims living for several days prior to succumbing to their mortal injuries.
5. Iron Chair
This torture device was used extensively during the Middle Ages. Victims would be placed onto the chair — which featured hundreds of sharp spikes — followed by the progressive tightening of iron restraints, forcing the spikes deep into the
This could go on for hours, sometimes days. The spikes did not penetrate vital organs and blood loss was minimized — at least until the person was released from the chair. Death often followed. The Iron Chair was often used as a psychological instrument of torture; victims would often confess after being forced to watch other prisoners being tortured by the device.
6. Head Crusher
The device, which is basically a vise for the head, slowly crushes the skull and facial bones. Even if the torturer stopped before death, permanent damage to the facial muscles and structure would occur.
7. Rat Torture
Rats have also been employed to perform torture. There were many variants, but a common technique was to force a starving rat through a victim's body (usually the intestines) as a way to escape.
To make it work, prisoners were completely restrained and tied to the ground or any horizontal surface. A rat was then placed on the stomach covered by a metallic container, which was gradually heated. The rat began to look for a way out, which inevitably meant through the victim's body. Digging through the body usually took a few hours, resulting in a painful and gruesome death.
8. Coffin Torture
This was one of the most dreaded forms of torture during the Medieval Period.
The accused were placed inside a caged coffin, rendering them completely immobile. The period of time was determined by the crime, with some infractions, like blasphemy, punishable by death. Victims were often put on public display, where they would be mocked and abused by angry locals.
9. Breast Ripper
This one's particularly nasty — not that the other items on this list aren't. Also known as the Iron Spider, it was mainly used on women who were accused of adultery, self-abortion, heresy, blasphemy, or accused of being witches. It was also used for interrogations.
The device, which was often heated during torture, contained four "claws" which were used to slowly and painfully rip off the breasts. The instrument would be latched onto a single breast of the woman. Blood sometimes splattered onto her children. If the woman did not die, she would be disfigured for the rest of her life. Image credit: Flominator.
Other variations of this torture also existed.
10. Knee Splitter
Popular during the Inquisition, this device consisted of two spiked wood blocks which were placed in front of and behind the knee.
The blocks, which were connected by two large screws, would be turned and made to close towards each other, destroying the knee underneath. The technique would render the knees useless. The number of spikes on the blocks varied from three to twenty, often depending on the nature of the crime and the status of the prisoner.
Fake news is great news. The more, the better. Because it undermines the media's credibility.
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