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Largest Study Of Its Kind Finds Cannabis Helps Prevent Alcohol-Related Liver Damage

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Photo Credit: Power of Possibility

John VibesGuest Writer

In a study published earlier this year by researchers at the National Institute of Scientific Research at the University of Quebec, cannabis can actually help counteract the harmful effects of alcohol to some degree.

The study found that cannabis use significantly lowered the odds of liver diseases like hepatitis, cirrhosis, steatosis, and even hepatocellular carcinoma, a type of liver cancer.  Researchers formed these conclusions based on the medical records of roughly 320,000 patients who had a history of alcoholism.

According to the study:

“Abusive alcohol use has well‐established health risks including causing liver disease (ALD) characterized by alcoholic steatosis (AS), steatohepatitis (AH), fibrosis, cirrhosis (AC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Strikingly, a significant number of individuals who abuse alcohol also use Cannabis, which has seen increased legalization globally. While cannabis has demonstrated anti‐inflammatory properties, its combined use with alcohol and the development of liver disease remain unclear.”

Researchers have not determined why alcoholics who used cannabis had less of a chance of developing liver disease, but many suspect that it has something to do with the proven anti-inflammatory properties of cannabis.

These findings support the results of another study last year which concluded that cannabis helps with non-alcoholic liver disease as well.

According to last year’s study:

“It can be hypothesized that cannabis use may have potential beneficial effects on metabolic abnormalities such as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Whether cannabis use plays a role in NAFLD pathogenesis via modification of shared risk factors, or by an independent pathway remains uncertain. In this population-based study, we assessed the association between cannabis use and NAFLD in the US.”

Despite the proven health benefits of cannabis and the fact that it becoming legal in new states every year, lawmakers and mainstream media pundits refuse to give up on the reefer madness hysteria that they built their careers on.

Just after these studies were published, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control banned the sale of cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages, totally ignoring the science that this actually makes the alcohol less harmful.

This attitude can be seen in the hysteria that was created when Elon Musk took a hit of cannabis on the Joe Rogan Podcast, after spending two hours drinking liquor. Of course, even though the herb is legal in the state where they recorded, and it is far less harmful than alcohol, people decided to focus on the cannabis use because of the stigma against it.

A 2015 study, published in the journal, ‘Scientific Reports,’ suggests that smoking cannabis is roughly 114 times safer than drinking  alcohol. Ironically, out of all the drugs that were researched in the  study, alcohol was actually the most dangerous, and it was the only  legal drug on the list.

Just behind alcohol, dope and coke were listed as the next most dangerous, followed by tobacco, ecstasy, and meth. The criteria that  these drugs were arranged by, was according to the likelihood of a  person dying from consuming a lethal dose.

 “The results confirm that the risk of cannabis may have been  overestimated in the past. At least for the endpoint of mortality, the (margin of exposure) for THC/cannabis in both individual and  population-based assessments would be above safety thresholds (e.g. 100  for data based on animal experiments). In contrast, the risk of alcohol  may have been commonly underestimated,” the report states. “Currently, the MOE results point to risk management  prioritization towards alcohol and tobacco rather than illicit drugs.  The high MOE values of cannabis, which are in a low-risk range, suggest a  strict legal regulatory approach rather than the current prohibition  approach,” the report continues.

While this is not the first study to rank cannabis very low in terms of danger, it comes at a time when the debate surrounding cannabis legalization is more heated than ever before, with more and more people agreeing that it is time to end prohibition.

By Mandy Froelich | TruthTheory.com

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Science & Technology

Scientists Resurrect 100-Million-Year-Old Life Buried Under Seafloor Since Dinosaur Age

Researchers found that by simply adding food they were able to ressurect bacteria life that has laid dormant for 101.5-million-years.

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Scientists Revive 100 Million-Year-Old Microbes from Deep under Seafloor
Magnified image showing microbes revived from 101.5 million-year-old sediment. Credit: JAMSTEC

(TMU) – Researchers studying ancient mud from below the seafloor recently made a stunning discovery. They found that by simply adding food they were able to revive bacteria life that has laid dormant for 101.5-million-years.

Scientists at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology extracted sediment from 70 meters below the seafloor. At this depth, the sediment represented about 100 million years of time and could not have contained any modern bacteria. Researchers plied the mud with sugar and ammonia and soon microbial cells began to feed and grow, activity that was confirmed by carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis.

Researchers believe the extraordinary microbes are oxygen-consuming aerobic bacteria, which differentiates them from anaerobic bacteria that flourish in seafloor environments where food is abundant.

Yuki Morono (left) and Steven D’Hondt (far right) aboard the research drillship JOIDES Resolution with sediment cores gathered from the South Pacific Gyre. Credit: Photo courtesy of IODP JRSO

In their paper on the discovery, they write:

“Our results suggest that microbial communities widely distributed in organic-poor abyssal sediment consist mainly of aerobes that retain their metabolic potential under extremely low-energy conditions for up to 101.5 [million years].”

The team took precautions to assure that there was no contamination from higher-level sediment and confirm that the bacteria they were looking at was as ancient as the mud samples suggested. They were able to corroborate that the dormant microbes originated when dinosaurs still roamed the Earth.

They also found cyanobacteria, or “blue-green algae” that utilizes photosynthetic processing even in the most extreme of conditions. Given that their growth occurred in the total absence of light, this is yet another mystery in the finding.

“What we found was that life extends all the way from the seafloor to the underlying rocky basement,” said oceanographer and study co-author Steven D’Hondt said“And what [lead author Yuki Morono’s] paper now shows is that those organisms are not only alive in the deepest form of sediment, but they’re capable of growing and dividing.”

The discovery has profound implications for the perseverance and adaptability of life. It shows bacteria can slow itself down during an absence of food or energy and hibernate for enormous periods of time.

The research may also have implications for alien microbial and bacterial life, as Earth has now demonstrated that organisms can survive in extremely hostile environments – including boiling-hot hydrothermal vents and in remote areas without access to sunlight or food. When presented with these unfriendly conditions, life can essentially go into a very long deep sleep without dying.

There is no reason to think microbes on exoplanets aren’t just as adaptable and stubborn given the right planetary conditions.

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Science & Technology

Scientists May Have Identified What Existed Before Our Universe

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Photo Credit: Mint Press News

Paul SeaburnGuest Writer

Bad news, Big Bang believers … scientists may have discovered something that existed before our universe was born and want to change the name of that singularity from the violent Big Bang to the more playful yet controversial Big Bounce. Did we really bounce out of a past universe?

“The standard inflationary paradigm based on general relativity treats space-time as a smooth continuum. Consider a shirt that appears like a two-dimensional surface, but on closer inspection, you can see that it is woven by densely packed one-dimensional threads. In this way, the fabric of space-time is really woven by quantum threads. In accounting for these threads, loop quantum cosmology allows us to go beyond the continuum described by general relativity where Einstein’s physics breaks down—for example beyond the Big Bang.”

Loop Quantum Cosmology” sounds like a great name for a prog-rock album, but anything that causes Einstein’s physics to break down is disconcerting in this age where people are not sure what to believe anymore. Abhay Ashtekar — an Evan Pugh Professor of Physics, holder of the Eberly Family Chair in Physics, and director of the Penn State Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos (this is why he has an accordion-folded business card) – co-authored the paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters about this Big Bounce theory that future satellite missions may actually be able to test.

The leftover radiation from the Big Bang tells us how our Universe began and might lead us to what came before it. NASA/ WMAP Science Team

“The primordial fluctuations we are talking about occur at the incredibly small Planck scale. A Planck length is about 20 orders of magnitude smaller than the radius of a proton. But corrections to inflation at this unimaginably small scale simultaneously explain two of the anomalies at the largest scales in the universe, in a cosmic tango of the very small and the very large.”

The “cosmic tango” co-author Brajesh Gupt refers to in the press release relates to anomalies in the Cosmic Microwave Background (the electromagnetic radiation left after the birth of the universe) which are minuscule primordial fluctuations that were stretched under gravity’s influence and are now visible in the CMB. Instead of a bang, the Big Bounce theory views the creation of the current universe as a double funnel with a previous universe shrinking into the tiny connecting middle, passing through the “bounce” and then expanding again into a new universe. (Apologies to physicists that this simple explanation may offend.)

The timeline of our universe. NASA/WMAP Science Team

“The researchers also produced new predictions about a fundamental cosmological parameter and primordial gravitational waves that could be tested during future satellite missions, including LiteBird and Cosmic Origins Explorer, which will continue to improve our understanding of the early universe.”

LiteBIRD will be a small space observatory whose mission is to detect the footprint of the primordial gravitational wave on the cosmic microwave background (CMB) and is hoped to launch in the 2020s. COrE (Cosmic Origins Explorer) would be a full-sky, microwave-band satellite proposed to launch by 2025. Neither are approved, so the Big Bounce theory might help in that process.

Big Bang or Big Bounce? While you’re trying to decide, LiteBird and Cosmic Origins Explorer would both be great names for bands.

Recommended Articles by Paul Seaburn
About the Author

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as “The Tonight Show”, “Politically Incorrect” and an award-winning children’s program. He’s been published in “The New York Times” and “Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humour. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humour to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn’t always have to be serious.

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Innovation

Elon Musk: We Are One Year Away From Fully Autonomous, Self-Driving Cars

Elon Musk says we are essentially within a year of fully autonomous cars being a reality.

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Elon Musk: We Are One Year Away From Fully Autonomous, Self-Driving Cars
Photo Credit: TMU

(TMU) – Would you entrust your life to a car’s algorithmic intelligence? Would you curl up in the backseat and take a nap while your vehicle navigates hectic freeway traffic or busy intersections? Would you let your car be the designated driver while you have a night out on the town?

According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, we are essentially within a year of such technology existing, though he adds the caveat that it will likely take longer before the system is fully deployed and adopted.

Earlier this month, Musk announced the advance at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai. He has since elaborated during several podcast interviews.

To Cathie Wood and Tasha Keeney of ARK Invest in a podcast, he stated: 

“I think we will be feature complete — full self-driving — this year. Meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you all the way to your destination without an intervention, this year.”

Musk added that you can expect to be able to take a nap behind the wheel if you want.

“My guess as to when we would think it is safe for somebody to essentially fall asleep and wake up at their destination? Probably towards the end of next year.”

Such technology would be a first-of-its-kind level 5 autonomous vehicle in which the car capable of handling all driver functions without human assistance or supervision.

Musk acknowledges that it is a difficult task. Currently, Tesla offers an Enhanced Autopilot feature that “guides a car from a highway’s on-ramp to off-ramp, including suggesting and making lane changes, navigating highway interchanges, and taking exits.”

“On a development level, [there is] no problem recognizing stop signs and traffic lights,” Musk has said. “But you do get ambiguity in some complex intersections with traffic lights. Like, which one’s the right light to focus on? Even if you’re a person, it’s not always clear. So that’s what we’re working on there.”

Technology experts and economists, citing multiple studies, suggest self-driving cars, or automated vehicles (AVs), will have massive beneficial effects on cities and human society.

AVs will free up an additional 50 minutes a day for human users, accumulating to an extra billion hours of productivity around the world. Perhaps even more importantly, AVs will dramatically reduce car accident fatalities (by up to 90% of the annual 1.2 million worldwide deaths), which will also save $190 billion in the U.S. alone.

AVs will also transform cities, leading to an 80% reduction in the overall number of vehicles, which will drastically reduce traffic congestion, free up new land, and lead to an overall reduction of pollution.

Tesla is currently in an AV race with other companies developing self-driving cars, including Waymo, Uber, Lyft, and traditional automakers. In 2018, Alphabet’s Waymo launched its robo-taxi service, though it was not fully autonomous.

AVs are expected to simultaneously usher in a new gold rush of consumer robotics and machine learning, including remote advanced sensing, hyperprecise positioning/GPS, image recognition, and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) development.

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Science & Technology

Scientists Say A Supermassive Black Hole Glitched, Inexplicably Turning Off And On Again

The corona at the center of a black hole abruptly disappeared and then reformed, essentially turning the black hole off and then starting up again.

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black hole
Photo Credit: NASA

(TMU) – Supermassive black holes are already recognized as some of the most bizarre objects in the universe. Past their high-energy coronas, inside the event horizons, the known laws of physics seem to shut down.

But recently, astronomers observed something happening to a black hole that seemed impossible even by the object’s own outlandish standards.

About 100 million light-years away, the super-hot, ultra bright corona at the center of a supermassive black hole (1ES 1927+654) abruptly disappeared and then reformed, essentially turning the black hole off and then starting up again, as though it had glitched. It is the first time such a phenomenon has ever been documented.

Lead author of the study, Claudio Ricci, remarked,

“It was so strange that at first we thought maybe there was something wrong with the data. When we saw it was real, it was very exciting. But we also had no idea what we were dealing with; no one we talked to had seen anything like this.”

Ricci and the other MIT astronomers studying the event believe a rogue star may have caused a massive “tidal disruption,” that may have acted like “a pebble tossed into a gearbox,” which subsequently caused the entire corona of highly charged particles to come collapsing into the black hole.

As a result, the black hole’s brightness diminished precipitously, dimming by a factor of 10,000 in under a year.

“We expect that luminosity changes this big should vary on timescales of many thousands to millions of years,” Erin Kara, assistant professor of physics at MIT and co-lead on the study, explained. “But in this object, we saw it change by 10,000 over a year, and it even changed by a factor of 100 in eight hours, which is just totally unheard of and really mind-boggling.”

So, from the point of view of scientists on Earth, the black hole seemed to just eat itself, close up shop, and disappear from radar, something corroborated by multiple telescopes and observed in X-ray, optical, and ultraviolet wave bands. But that wasn’t the end. Since the core singularity of the black hole still existed, it began to gobble up particles again and spin up a new accretion disk, re-generating its old luminosity in only months.

The MIT team first discovered the anomaly in March 2018, when they recorded an active galactic nucleus (AGN) using ASSASN, the All-Sky Automated Survey for Super-Novae. They also observed the black hole with NASA’s NICER, an X-ray telescope mounted to the International Space Station.

“This seems to be the first time we’ve ever seen a corona first of all disappear, but then also rebuild itself, and we’re watching this in real-time,” Kara recalls“This will be really important to understanding how a black hole’s corona is heated and powered in the first place.”

Kara and her co-authors believe the sudden “glitch” could be caused by the accretion disk’s magnetic field lines collapsing. They published their findings in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

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