Cannabis legalised in South Africa

Earlier this week, South Africa’s Constitutional Court upheld a ruling from the Western Cape High Court that people were allowed to smoke dagga aka cannabis aka marijuana in private. The Court rejected now discredited arguments by those opposed to legalisation.
The jokes began immediately. The most obvious one was that the Constitutional Court was now the highest in the land. That raised a chuckle the first time I saw it, but by the twelfth time it had worn very thin.
But what does the ruling mean?
All it means is that you can use cannabis in private. You can also share it with others in the privacy of your own home.
You can’t buy any part of the cannabis plant.
You can’t grow cannabis and sell it.
As with tobacco, you can’t smoke cannabis if people present object, or in front of children.
You can’t drive under the influence of cannabis. The police have announced that driving under the influence of cannabis is impaired driving, and anyone doing so will be arrested and charged.
You can’t show up to work high or get high on the job. It will be viewed the same way as being drunk on duty, and you will face disciplinary action, possibly even dismissal.
You can’t be high in public. The Police will treat that the same as public drunkenness.
The ruling also raises a “chicken and egg” problem: in order to grow cannabis for personal use, you need to buy cannabis seeds, which is still illegal.
My own thoughts on drug use have evolved. I used to agree with banning drugs. Now I believe that legalising and regulating the drug trade is the best way to handle the matter. People are always going to take mind-altering substances, and banning them just drives the problem underground. It also makes it very difficult for addicts to seek treatment.
Further to the above, some countries will actually give heroin to those who want to shoot up. And even though it sounds insane, it works.
Part of the attraction of taking illegal substances is the forbidden fruit aspect. The government giving people heroin to shoot up strips that away, and reveals just how pathetic drug addiction really is. Many people who shoot up under these circumstances realise this and quit very quickly.
Here’s hoping that decriminalisation continues.

Posted in Segue | Tagged , , ,

The Big Lie about Bullying

You’ve probably come across the belief that bullying builds character. I have, and having been severely bullied in school, not just by my classmates but also by some teachers, I can confirm it is a lie.
Bullying did not build my character. It only built up my anger and resentment, and gave me PTSD. Not severe PTSD, but still PTSD.
When I mentioned this online, someone responded with the following insightful remark:

Suffering does shape character. The idea that the result is always going to be positive is absurd.

The only character bullying builds is that of a sadistic bully. In those not of that bent, it damages them. I still occasionally desire revenge on the ones who bullied me.

Posted in Autism Awareness, Life, Segue | Tagged

Gardasil used to treat skin cancer

So this was on Health24 last week.

HPV shot eliminates advanced skin cancer in 97-year-old

A doctor treated a woman with advanced squamous cell carcinoma by injecting each tumour with Gardasil, the HPV Vaccine. The unconventional method was a huge success. All of the tumours completely and rapidly disappeared.
Although Gardasil is known to prevent HPV-caused cancers, there was very little research on whether it could help with existing tumours. According to the article:

Nichols’ own research, involving two prior patients, had suggested the vaccine might curb skin cancer growth. So, in the new case, her team decided to try Gardasil as an “off-label” therapy – a use not yet approved by the US Food and Drug Administration.

This raises a lot of questions: Was the carcinoma caused by HPV? If not, why did the treatment work? Can other cancers be treated with this method?
Some antivaxxers claim that vaccines cause cancer. This refutes that laughable conjecture.

Posted in Anti-antivaccination | Tagged , , ,

Mockery of antivaxxers on Bored Panda

I regularly see posts from the site Bored Panda on my Facebook. As with Cheezburger, it’s now also started to slam antivaxxers. I saw one such post today.
The Internet Is Shutting Down Anti-Vaxxers One By One And It’s Too Entertaining To Read

Posted in Anti-antivaccination | Tagged ,

Harmful childhood diseases

The inevitable has happened.
In California, an infant has died of pertussis, the first such death since 2016.
In France, the third measles death of 2018 has occurred.
From the above report:

As of July 08, 2018, 2646 cases reported since November 6, 2017 from 85 departments. 22% of reported cases were hospitalized.

And crucially:

89% of measles cases occurred in [the] unimmunized or underimmunized.

In Brazil, measles has killed dozens of members of an isolated tribe.
Several things need to be said.
Firstly, the diseases we vaccinate against are NOT harmless. Even in First World countries with the best medical care available, they can still disable and even kill.
Secondly, as the French outbreak shows, vaccines are exceptionally effective at stopping these diseases. Most people are vaccinated fully and on time, yet the overwhelming majority of the afflicted were unvaccinated.
Finally, I believe part of the problem is that vaccines have been the victims of their success. The reason these deaths were newsworthy is that they were very rare. And the reason they are rare is because of vaccines. The only childhood disease I ever had was chickenpox, which wasn’t yet on the schedule. I never had measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, tuberculosis or polio, and I can’t remember anyone I went to school with having them either.
When my mother was a child, these diseases were not considered harmless. They were considered an inevitable part of growing up. Vaccines changed that. A fellow student of my mother’s was a polio victim. My driving instructor was deaf in one ear from measles. I and everyone I know from school was spared these things, thanks to vaccines.

Posted in Anti-antivaccination | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Dear Telemarketers, kindly F%#* Off!

No thank you, I do not wish to change my insurance provider. I’m very happy with my current one.
No thank you, I do not wish to take out a new cellphone contract or change my network.
No, I don’t want to change my Internet Service Provider.
No, I do not need a financial planning assessment. I already have investments and a Retirement Annuity with a competitor of yours.
No, I do NOT want another credit card! Especially not one from a bank I do no business with! Go away!!!!
I get that this is your job, but there is a boundary between advertising and harassment, and you have crossed that line.

Posted in Life | Tagged

Polio case confirmed in Papua New Guinea

Damn it, Damn it, DAMN IT!
18 years after Papua New Guinea was certified polio free, a new case has been confirmed.

The victim was a six-year-old boy who developed weakness in his lower limbs, later confirmed to be the result of a polio virus infection.

This is terrible. An outbreak in a formerly polio free country is a huge setback to the final eradication of the disease. Authorities acted quickly and began an inoculation campaign. The problem is that the child lived in an area where vaccination rates are very low, and like a dropped cigarette can start a conflagration, this threatens to become a severe outbreak. Hopefully, the swift action will prevent that.

Posted in Anti-antivaccination | Tagged , , ,