Homeopathy: the air guitar of medicine

From Gadgette:  http://www.gadgette.com/2016/02/03/homeopathy-the-air-guitar-of-medicine/

This subhead contains as many active ingredients as your sugar pill

By Jennifer Harrison, Science Officer
February 3, 2016

Homeopathy is an alternative medicine, which means a few things. It means it’s not medicine, it’s an alternative; it means it’s seen by many as somehow better and healthier than modern medicines; and it means that people are incredibly emotional in their support for it.I’ve received death threats pretty much every time I’ve ever written about homeopathy, which is incredible if you think about it. How can a remedy cause so much hatred? And what could I possibly say that would make people upset? Well, it doesn’t work. Homeopathy is a £40 million industry in the UK and it doesn’t even work. I once deliberately overdosed on homeopathic sleeping pills. I ate the whole tube, about a month’s worth. I did fall asleep but it was 10 hours later and at bedtime.

Like cures like

Many alternative medicines are a bit silly. Crystal healing anyone? However, none are as frustratingly absurd as homeopathy. There are not one but two unbelievable aspects of homeopathy that people are often unaware of, the first being like cures like. Homeopathy was invented in 1796 by a German named Samuel Hahnemann. He believed that you could treat and cure illnesses by using substances that cause the symptoms of the illness in healthy people.

If you had insomnia, a suitable substance would be caffeine. Caffeine will keep healthy people awake but if you’re unable to get to sleep then according to homeopathy, it will help you. You can buy homeopathic remedies on the high street that supposedly contain caffeine to help you sleep. And worse, Reddit user papafree claims to have used dangerous and hilarious ingredients while working in a homeopathic manufacturing plant according to this entertaining and disturbing thread.

No active ingredients

Homeopathic remedies come as water or a sugar pill. There are no other ingredients. If you take a remedy for curing insomnia and another for treating the cold and mixed them up, nobody on Earth could figure out which was which. Every test of the pill’s composition would find only sugar. Every study of patients taking the pills would reveal no difference because they are identical pills. There are no active ingredients in homeopathy.

As if Hahnemann’s belief of like cures like wasn’t weird enough, he felt that the more you diluted the substance the more effective it was. This almost makes sense at first because his ingredients were chosen to make symptoms worse (e.g. caffeine for insomnia), so using less of the ingredient would obviously give better results than more. But Hahnemann took it further, introducing the Law of Infinitesimals.If you take one drop of your ingredient and dilute it in 99 drops of water, you’ve got 1 centesimal. If you take one drop from this solution and mix it into another 99 drops of water, you’ve got 2 centesimals written as 2C. With each further dilution, you very quickly lose the initial ingredient. Remedies are frequently sold at a 30C dilution. At that dilution you could buy enough of the product to fill the entire solar system and not find a single molecule of the original ingredient. You’re more likely to win the lottery five weeks running than find a single molecule of active ingredient in your remedy from Boots.

Continue reading at:  http://www.gadgette.com/2016/02/03/homeopathy-the-air-guitar-of-medicine/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Homeopathy: the air guitar of medicine

Naomi Klein: Climate Change “Not Just About Things Getting Hotter… It’s About Things Getting Meaner”

From Bill Moyers:  http://billmoyers.com/story/naomi-klein-climate-change-not-just-about-things-getting-hotter-its-about-things-getting-meaner/

In a wide-ranging conversation, the journalist and climate activist discusses the recent Paris climate accords, the politics of global warming, climate change denial and environmental justice.

By Michael Winship
February 3, 2016

A week and a half ago, just as a blizzard was barreling up the East Coast, I traveled to my hometown, Canandaigua, NY, and before a standing-room-only audience of more than 400 at Finger Lakes Community College, had a conversation with author and climate activist Naomi Klein.

Our talk was part of the George M. Ewing Forum, named in honor of the late editor and publisher of our local newspaper. He was a worldly and informed man, dedicated to good talk and a lively exchange of ideas. The forum brings to town a variety of speakers each year, some of them from the area, others not.

The Finger Lakes region is a beautiful part of the country. As has often been said, it runs on water, and as I grew up, there was an increasing realization that what we have is an invaluable natural resource we could be in danger of losing. Over the years, the threats have grown ever more complex with greater hazards revealed as pollution and development have encroached on the landscape. As a result, much of our audience was composed of environmentalists and concerned citizens, including a contingent from We Are Seneca Lake, the grassroots campaign fighting against the use of crumbling salt mines under the hillsides to store fracked natural gas and liquefied petroleum gases. (One of its leaders is biologist, mother and Moyers & Company guest Sandra Steingraber.)

The conversation with Naomi Klein was billed as “Capitalism vs. The Climate: Reflections on the 2015 UN Climate Conference,” and while we certainly spoke a great deal about that recent climate agreement in Paris, our talk ranged more widely as we discussed her life and work, politics, the continuing right-wing denial of global warming, and the climate justice movement.

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the bestseller, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. She’s a member of the board of directors for 350.org, the global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. Among many other honors, in 2015 she received The Izzy Award – named after the great writer and editor IF Stone — celebrating outstanding achievement in independent journalism and media.

Klein’s most recent book, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate, was shortlisted for the 2015 PEN Literary Awards in the nonfiction category. A documentary based on the book, directed by Avi Lewis, was released last fall.

Continue reading at:  http://billmoyers.com/story/naomi-klein-climate-change-not-just-about-things-getting-hotter-its-about-things-getting-meaner/

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on Naomi Klein: Climate Change “Not Just About Things Getting Hotter… It’s About Things Getting Meaner”