Prophet 451's Journal
Member since: Wed Jul 27, 2005, 05:10 PM
Number of posts: 8,429
Number of posts: 8,429
Elected officials and anti-smoking advocates need to re-think their knee-jerk reaction and hostility to e-cigarettes and vaping. It seems like every day we hear a new attack – yet these products are actually helping some people quit or cut back on the much more dangerous alternative of smoking tobacco. In May, a large study out of England that was published in the journal Addiction made worldwide news when they announced that smokers trying to quit were 60 percent more likely to succeed if they used electronic cigarettes than over-the-counter therapies such as nicotine patches or gum.
Despite these promising results, politicians are grilling e-cigarette companies. In a major New York Times piece last week, Senator Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia denounced manufacturers of flavored e-cigarettes, saying they should be ashamed of themselves and that they are “what’s wrong with this country.” He claims that flavors like coconut, cherry, and peach are designed to hook young people.
While I understand the concern of marketing e-cigarettes to young people and nonsmokers, we cannot lose sight of the fact that these products are helping millions of people stop or cut back on smoking. Vaping is a safer delivery system for nicotine, and many people enjoy the flavor and find it pleasant – that’s why more and more people are turning to it. Do we really want to limit flavors if they are helping people move away from smoking? It is ironic that anti-smoking advocates, whose goal is to get people not to smoke, are attacking a practice that is succeeding in getting people not to smoke. Shouldn’t we be applauding the fact that so many people are embracing this harm reduction practice?
I'm now just over three months from my last cigarette (50-a-day smoker for 25 years) with no cravings, no bad temper, just a couple of days of feeling like I should be doing something with my hands. E-cigs help people quit and the existing research says that the number of people who take up vaping without being smokers first barely exists.
Posted by Prophet 451 | Thu Jul 24, 2014, 11:29 PM (134 replies)
I may have observed this before but the GOP have essentially created a new religion. Like Mormonism, it's a religion that's grown out of Christianity but is quite distinct from it. Unlike most religions, which get drawn into politics by events, this religion exists directly BECAUSE of politics, to confer divine approval onto fringe-right policies. It melds lip service to Jesus with a more-or-less complete repudiation of everything Jesus actually taught. It has it's own high priests (Limbaugh, Beck, etc), it's own devil figure (Obama), it's own articles of faith and it's own messianic figure (Reagan). While it claims to be Christian and has appropriated the Bible for it's own ends, it's actual teachings are a blend of Randian wealth worship, Nieztchian will-to-power, classist loathing of the poor as weak and Nazi-level nationalism.
I'm a Luciferian Satanist myself but I have read the Bible and I have a lot of time for that Jesus bloke. His teachings of compassion, love and tolerance inspired my grandmother (who raised me) to devote her entire life to caring for disabled and disturbed kids. But here's teh funny thing: You'd never have known she was a Christian unless you asked. She'd complain loud and long about the local council shrinking the budget for childcare and about the stipend she got for looking after them never being enough but I never once heard her complain that her faith wasn't getting preferential treatment. I know (from conversations we had toward the end of her life) she drew a lot of comfort and inspiration from her faith but she never tried to lord her faith over others.
Posted by Prophet 451 | Wed Jul 16, 2014, 04:19 PM (1 replies)
Not kidding, I'm a Luciferian Satanist (in the simplest terms, I worship Father Lucifer as the justified rebel against a tyrannical god). I'd be overjoyed if Hillary shared my faith.
Posted by Prophet 451 | Tue Jun 17, 2014, 12:08 AM (2 replies)
I grew up poor. We don't have food stamps over here (UK) but we were on various forms of welfare for most of my childhood and we got the same kind of moralising bullshit that says poor people shouldn't have nice things. I'm on disability now and I still get the same kind of moralising bullshit. And it's all based on class resentment. The bastards at the top have, through their tame media, trained people to always resent the underclass, to always kick downward.
So they demand ever more austere welfare and ever more stringent tests. Here, teh Tories abolished council tax benefit (which paid all teh CT bill) and instituted council tax support (which only pays 2/3), effectively cutting benefits by several hundred pounds a year. And they make the tests that I have to go through ever harsher. I suffer from MDD, GAD, "visions" and voices. My knees and back are so shot that I have to use crutches if I'm standing for more than a minute-or-so and my mental illness makes me carve myself up with razors a couple times a week but still, the general public thinks no-one should be on welfare and we should fall on our knees in thanks for even the tiniest crumb of support. The only reason I haven't been re-assessed this year is because teh last reassessment caused me such terror that it led to a suicide bid and my SO and doctor said they feared for my life if I had to go through it again.
Fuck this morally superior bullshit, fuck every prick who thinks like this.
Posted by Prophet 451 | Mon Jun 16, 2014, 08:51 PM (1 replies)
Let's say that we have a proposition to make cannabis legal, subject to the same restrictions as booze (i.e. age regulation, no driving, no handling a firearm). That would include provision to grow your own for personal use or sharing with a few friends.
Would you support legalisation under those provisions?
Posted by Prophet 451 | Fri May 30, 2014, 09:47 PM (92 replies)
Smokers who use e-cigarettes to quit are more likely to succeed than those who use willpower alone or buy nicotine replacement therapies, such as patches or gum, a study suggests.
The study also shows that use of e-cigs by people who've never smoked barely exists, that the NHS regulator is looking into adding them to the NHS's aids to stop smoking and that, while not everything is yet known about the effects of e-cigs, they're likely to be far less harmful than tobacco smoke.
I've been using my e-cig for a little under two months. I was a 50-a-day smoker for 25 years. As soon as I started using an e-cig, that went down to four or five and within a month, I was able to cut out those last few. On Thursday, it'll be a month since my last cigarette and I'll consider myself as having quit. That's with no cravings, no irritability and no real downside. I had a couple of days of feeling like I needed to do something with my hands but that was easily dealt with (I just painted more). There's no second-hand smoke (so my SO and cats are better off), just the smell of cinnamon. In time, I'll gradually reduce the amount of nicotine in my liquids until I'm just puffing flavoured steam (I'll keep doing that simply because I enjoy it).
Posted by Prophet 451 | Tue May 20, 2014, 08:30 AM (51 replies)
Right, "Rom" means "man" (in the sense that one might speak of mankind) but can also mean "male" or "husband" depending on context. "Roma" is the collective name we give ourselves. "Romani" (sometimes with two "i"s) can be used instead of "Roma" but more commonly refers to the Romani language. Sinti, I'll get to in a second. Our language is shared... to an extent. Again, I'll come back to that in a second. The word "gypsy" is controversial. It's patently inaccurate (it's derived from "Egyptian" from the Middle Ages assumption we were from Egypt) but some find it offensive and some don't. Personally, I don't find it offensive. "Gyppo", however, is roughly akin to using the n-word to a black man and a really good way to start a fist-fight.
Right, potted history is that we originated in Northern India. We left India sometime around the Ninth century. According to current theories, the Roma left India in three distinct waves which give rise to the great clans: Roma (yes, also used to refer to us as a people, it's confusing) who travelled among central Europe and the UK; Sinti (Germany & Austria) and Kale (Spain). We're also related to the Dom (MidEast and Turkey) and Lom (Caucasus) but whether they're simply clans of the Roma people or distinct but related ethnic groups depend on who you ask. Personally, I tend to think of them as two more great clans because that gives us five and that's a psychologically appealing number (yes, sometimes I can be that shallow). Each great clan is sub-divided into smaller clans such as the Rom/Romale, Kalderesh, Lovari, Gurbeti, etc. And the smaller clans are subdivided into families. I am of the family Nock, which is part of the clan Rom/Romale, which is part of the great clan Roma. To add to your confusion, the Roma of different nations use different terms for themselves. Here in England, the preferred term is "Romanichal".
When we left India, we had a shared language and to some extent, we still do. However, in the intervening eleven hundred years, the language has evolved into seven related languages and numerous slightly different dialects. According to Ethnologue, the most widely spoken are the Vlax, Balkan, Carpathian and Sinte. To make all this even more complicated, Romani has thousands of words appropriated from areas we travelled through or settled in and we're traditionally an oral culture, it's only very recently that we've started writing down things like our history. The result is that a Kalderesh and a Sinti could communicate enough to get the basic gist of what each was saying but would lose finer, more subtle meanings.
For books, I can't help you. However, I've heard good things about "I Met Lucky People" (Yaron Matras). I can direct you to several websites though:
InOtherWords have a pretty good overvie (http://www.inotherwords-project.eu/content/project/media-analysis/terminology/terminology-concerning-roma)
Wiki has a pretty good account of our history (although it differs from our folklore origin myths): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Romani_people
ScottishGypsies is a pretty good info source, just be aware that it has a stated area of focus: http://www.scottishgypsies.co.uk/
Finally, GRTHM have a fair bit of decent info: http://grthm.natt.org.uk/index.php
Posted by Prophet 451 | Fri May 16, 2014, 03:01 AM (1 replies)
A study by ASH has found that almost all e-cig users are either current or former smokers, not new users. Yes, this is from a British survey but I'd imagine that US results are pretty similar. What's more, the study found that the majority of e-cig users are using rechargeable batteries and refillable cartridges/tanks, rather than the disposables released by the big tobacco firms.
Posted by Prophet 451 | Wed May 7, 2014, 04:53 PM (99 replies)
This is why the anti-ecig crusade some seem to be on is so misguided. In the space of about six weeks, I've gone from 50 a day to 0, thanks to the e-cig. I'm going between three flavours of liquid, a tobacco, a cherry and a cinnamon.
Without the e-cig, I would still be smoking. With it, I've quit smoking with no real cravings. The slightly different sensation takes a few days to get used to and I haven't quite gotten up the courage to get rid of my tobacco yet (not least because tobacco is expensive so if I dump it, I'm out £50) but essentially, I've quit. And I keep hearing complaints about e-cigs having sweet flavours, like adults are only allowed to have "used ashtray", "boiled jockstrap" and "stale beer" flavours, all others are for kids.
This is why the crusade is so misguided. I'd been smoking for 25 years and I've been able to quit. My mother, who's been smoking for fifty years, is using e-cigs to quit. If you ban e-cigs or regulate them out of existence, we would still be smoking.
Posted by Prophet 451 | Thu May 1, 2014, 02:02 PM (103 replies)
I think my graphics drivers need updating. Anyway...
I do wish atheists would stop trotting out the mental illness accusation. I actually am mentally ill (MDD, GAD, "visions" and voices), I'm also a man of faith (Luciferian Satanist, if it matters) and, by coincidence, studying psychology. There's a strong difference between the two that can't really be explained to someone who hasn't experienced both. My "visions" are when an image (in my case, always a violent image) fixes itself in my mind's eye and won't go away. My voices are... difficult to explain. It's like someone talking in the next room. You can hear the sound but can't make out the words.
My religious experience is an entirely different sensation. It's a feeling of connectedness (is that a word? Fuck it, it is now). If you'll forgive the mysticism, it's a sensation of oneness with the deity (Father Lucifer, in my case), of being part of something much older and wiser and larger than the self. It's a quite different sensation.
Now, could this just be a different type of mental illness? Yes, that's entirely possible. However, my drug regime includes a fairly powerful dose of anti-psychotics so I consider it doubtful. In the end, I'm not sure it matters. If my faith demanded that I ignore simple facts (denying evolution or global warming, for example) or caused me to harm anyone, then I could understand trying to talk me out of it. But since my faith doesn't require me to deny facts or cause me to harm anyone including myself (my mental illness frequently does but not my faith), I would suggest that it doesn't really matter very much to anyone outside my close family. I'm happy with my faith, it provides me with a sense of purpose and a code to live by (Note: I am categorically not saying that atheists lack either) and since I'm not affecting anyone else, where's the harm (rhetorical question)?
Posted by Prophet 451 | Mon Apr 28, 2014, 04:00 PM (5 replies)