Saturday, December 12, 2015

How Media Misleads the Public, Exaggerating E-Cigarettes Harm?

Do E-Cigarettes Lead to Popcorn Lungs?

A Harvard study claiming most e-cigarette brands expose users to harmful chemicals omits critical information and exaggerates the risks of flavored e-cigarettes, according to tobacco control experts.

The study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, analyzes a host of e-liquid flavors to discover levels of potentially dangerous chemicals diacetyl, acetyl propionyl, and acetoin.

The researchers found one or more of the three chemicals in 92 percent of the 51 unique flavors of e-liquid. Diacetyl is identified in 39 of 51 flavors – 75 percent of the total.

Following the study, an array of media outlets focused on the presence of diacetyl, a chemical used for food flavoring that if inhaled in large amounts can lead to a severe respiratory disease – bronchiolitis obliterans.

Bronchiolitis obliterans is commonly known as “popcorn lung,” because it was identified in workers who inhaled the artificial butter flavor used to make microwavable popcorn. A number of cases of popcorn lung have been found to be so severe in some patients that they have required a full-blown lung transplant.

The Harvard study whipped up a storm of hyperbolic headlines including “Harvard study finds that E-cigarette flavors cause lung disease” and “Chemicals in Flavored E-Cigarettes Tied To ‘Popcorn Lung’ Disease.

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But the headlines may be shielding the truth about the potential risk of popcorn lung from using e-cigarettes. Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, an expert on e-cigarette research and an opponent of putting diacetyl in e-liquids, writes, “tobacco cigarette smoke contains high levels of diacetyl and acetyl propionyl, on average 100 and 10 times higher,” compared to average e-cigarette exposure.

Farsalinos draws the disparity between tobacco and e-cigarettes from research conducted by himself and colleagues published in the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research in 2014.

Not only are levels of diacetyl far higher in tobacco smoke than e-cig vapor, but the levels of dangerous compounds found in many of the products studied “are absolutely minimal, and it is not expected to raise any concerns about human health effects,” according to Farsalinos.

Farsalinos adds that the researchers fail to mention the presence of these compounds in tobacco cigarette smoke. “This omission creates the impression that e-cigarettes are exposing users to a new chemical hazard while in reality their exposure will be much lower compared to smoking.” He concludes that the study is guilty of “creating false impressions and exaggerates the potential risk from diacetyl and acetyl propionyl exposure through e-cigarettes.”

But even more concerning for those who may want to exaggerate the risks of using e-cigarettes, is that even tobacco smoke has no identifiable link with any cases of popcorn lung.

According to Critical Reviews in Toxicology, “smoking has not been shown to be a risk factor for bronchiolitis (popcorn lung).

Since tobacco smoke contains far higher levels of diacetyl than flavored e-cigarettes and there has not been a single confirmed case of a smoker contracting popcorn lung, the likelihood that vapers will contract this particular lung disease is minimal, to say the least.

Bill Godshall, executive director of Smokefree Pennsylvania and a long-time anti-smoking activist, is even more damning in his criticism of the Harvard study.

“This is yet another Department of Health and Human Services-funded study that is intended to deceive and scare the public about vaping to lobby for Food and Drug Administration’s deeming ban.

“While finding zero evidence of ‘Popcorn Lung,’ the authors are trying to create a public panic,” Godshall tells The Daily Caller News Foundation. Pro-vaping groups are also quick to point out that few people have claimed e-cigarettes are completely free of any health risk.

Greg Conley, president of the American Vaping Association tells TheDCNF, “in the debate over vaping, the concept of relative risk should not be ignored. Vapor products are a far safer alternative to smoking, but it has long been recognized that they are not 100 percent safe.

“Earlier this year, a dozen public health groups endorsed Public Health England’s briefing estimating vaping to be approximately 95 percent less hazardous than smoking. Their assessment left room for some unknown risk from ingredients like flavorings.”

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Are E-Cigarettes Safer Alternative for Smoking?

Vaping is safer than smoking and could lead to the demise of the traditional cigarette, Public Health England (PHE) has said in the first official recognition that e-cigarettes are less damaging to health than smoking tobacco. The health body concluded that, on “the best estimate so far”, e-cigarettes are about 95% less harmful than tobacco cigarettes and could one day be dispensed as a licensed medicine in an alternative to anti-smoking products such as patches.

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While stressing that e-cigarettes are not free from risk, PHE now believes that e-cigarettes “have the potential to make a significant contribution to the endgame for tobacco”.

The authors of the report also found that regular users of e-cigarettes are almost exclusively adults who are already smokers. In fact, the rate of youths and adults who smoke cigarettes has continued to decline in England, and there is no current evidence that e-cigarettes are "renormalizing smoking or increasing smoking uptake," they write.

In addition, there is no evidence that e-cigarettes are a "gateway" to tobacco products for teens and young adults. Despite some experimentation among never smokers, e-cigarettes are attracting very few people who have never smoked, the authors, led by Ann McNeill, PhD, professor of tobacco addiction at the National Addiction Centre, King's College, and Peter Hajek, PhD, CClinPsych, director of the tobacco dependence research unit at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine in London, United Kingdom.

Additional E-Cigarettes Benefit over Regular Cigarettes

Since you are “burning” tobacco, not to mention using an open flame to light it, traditional cigarettes by default pose serious fire hazards. Cigarettes are in fact the #1 cause of fire-related death in the United States and seven other countries. Worldwide, fires started by lit cigarettes constitute 10% of all fire-related deaths.

With e-cigarettes, you are not burning an open flame and do not have a hot cherry that can burn you, your clothes, your furniture, and so on.

There was an incident where an e-cigarette exploded in the user’s face in early 2012. It was determined though that the particular unit the person was using was a “mod,” which is a way vapers can alter their devices for more power that involves stacking the batteries. When used as intended, there have been no reports of an e-cigarette exploding.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Parents Unrealistic Expectations May Harm Their Kids

Our research revealed both positive and negative aspects of parents' aspiration for their children's academic performance. Although parental aspiration can help improve children's academic performance, excessive parental aspiration can be poisonous.

Kou Murayama, PhD, of the University of Reading

Turns out all that loving support from moms and dads, who let their kids know that they have high hopes for their academic success, can backfire — big time.

According to a new study recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, when parents aspired for their child to get higher grades than they expected the student would actually get, the teen’s performance tanked. “Much of the previous literature conveyed a simple, straightforward message to parents — aim high for your children and they will achieve more,” the study’s lead author Kou Murayama, a professor of psychology at the University of Reading in England, explained in a press release. But that wasn’t what he found in his research — on more than 3,500 teens over the course of five years, looking at students’ math grades each year along with parents’ assessment of how much they want their child to earn a specific grade and to what degree they believe that the teenager will do so. “Unrealistically high aspiration,” he added, “may hinder academic performance.”

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In fact, all that well-meaning cheerleading that can help boost a kid’s grades, can be downright “poisonous” if it is “excessive,” he said. “There are parents who put a lot of pressure [on kids] to get good grades even if it is very difficult for the children to get such a high grade,” Murayama tells Yahoo Parenting. “They tend not to look at children as they are but as their ideal children.”

Figuring out what’s realistic isn’t as tricky as it may sound, though. Linda Houser, president of The Association of Teacher Educators, tells that it is simply a matter of putting academic achievement in perspective. “What we see from parents is that ‘A’ is the grade that everyone is expecting their child to receive if they’ve studied and worked hard but it’s just not the case that that will happen,” she says. “Over the years what an ‘A’ means has changed too. It used to be considered above and beyond and only a very few received it. Now, it’s almost become the normal grade expected. That’s why we see ‘A+’ grades now and grade inflation.”

Top results on standardized test scores are often expected by parents as well, she adds. “But the way these tests are structured, you’re always going to have people in the lower quartiles,” says Houser. “Many parents think that their kids always have to be at the top yet they can’t all be.”

Flawless homework assignments are another off-base target. “Obviously children are learning,” she says. “If they already knew all this, there wouldn’t be any reason to have the learning experience. Sometimes, parents don’t realize that homework is about practicing a new idea and students may not be perfect at it the first few times. Learning takes time and to always strive for your child to ‘get it’ easily and perfectly the first time is not only unrealistic, it doesn’t benefit the child because they don’t get the experience of investigating the concepts, practicing and improving on it.”

Even the expectation of active class participation every day can be over the top, Houser adds. “Every child is a different and unique human being. Some learn by listening and thinking. Sure we want them to participate but that may look different from raising their hand each time and volunteering to answer every question. Sometimes it’s the quiet student who may be thinking and using her critical skills the best.”

So before parents spell out specific academic achievements that they hope their teens will achieve, Houser urges moms and dads: “Base your expectations on the student’s personal strengths and their individual areas of encouragement.” That, she says, is A+ parenting.

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The recent study supports the data received from the previous researches, and have well-grounded theoretical perspectives, helping parents not to overestimate their kids capabilities, willpower, and not setup the level of expectations so high that it might become dangerous both for the students and their parents. That is true – it is not good for your kid, it is not good for you!

When a child does not perform according to expectations, the parent's stress level rises. Changes occur in the parent's behavior—extra doses of impatient body English and insistent harshness in the voice, for instance—, which become setting events for deviant behavior by the child. When you bear down harder, in other words, you increase the likelihood that your child will escape and avoid your authority, which will inspire you to bear down even harder, and so on. The spiral of escalation twists up and up, sometimes to the point that a parent loses it and ends up doing something normally unthinkable—slapping small children, for instance, for failing to nap when they're supposed to.

When we enforce unreasonable expectations, and especially when we punish according to them, we put stress on kids, who respond by avoiding, escaping, and becoming irritable. Ironically, that puts them off whatever activity, skill, or virtue we are trying to inculcate, making it aversive rather than attractive.

At the same time, parental expectations can have a strong, positive effect on children’s academic success. In a study conducted published by the Harvard Family Research project, Professor William H. Jeynes of California State University at Long Beach found that parental expectations affected children’s academic outcomes more than other types of parental involvement, including attendance of school events and clear rules. Thus, establishing healthy academic expectations and communicating these expectations to kids can be an important key to fostering success in school.

So, the key is moderation – be reasonable with your expectation. Be a loving parent – listen to your child, do not ignore verbal and non-verbal signs of tiresomeness and exhaustion. Be reasonable, evaluating your kids’ capabilities, and try to highlight the strong traits, leading to the right choice of the area of application in the future. If your kid is not good in chemistry, do not hope him or her to become the Nobel Prize winner in the field. May be, programming will be better target application?

We always try to do what we consider as the best for our kids. Sometimes, we really overdo on our efforts, potentially affecting their happy childhood and youth and converting them to the adults, recovering from tough childhood experience on therapy sessions. What your kids need most of all is unconditional love. Please do not hide your real feeling – let your kids know that you love them!

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

15 Facts Cat Owners may not know about their Cats

Today, October 29, is a National Cat Day! “What greater gift than the love of a cat?” Charles Dickens once mused. Cats are one of the most beloved human companions of all time. They were first domesticated in the Middle East’s Fertile Crescent as early as 12,000 years ago. When humans relied on hunting as their main source of food, dogs were most useful – but when the first agricultural societies emerged, cats became invaluable. Domesticated cats became responsible for keeping grain stores free of mice and other rodents. Today, cats can be found in 34% of American households, making them the most popular house pet in the United States.

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Here are some amazing facts about cats, you may not been aware:

1. Cats can drink seawater
If you’re ever lost at sea, don’t drink the ocean water. The large amount of salt in the water dehydrates humans. Cats, on the other hand, can drink sea water in order to survive. Cats have crazy kidneys that filter out the salt from the water so they can re-hydrate themselves.

2. Cats sweet through their paws
Cats do not have sweat glands, like humans. Instead, when they want to cool off they sweat through their paws. The sweat glands on cats’ paws secrete a scent that they use to mark their territory. So whenever they are walking or scratching they are actually marking that spot as their own.

3. Cats as sleeping beauties
How much time do you sleep daily? Not enough I guess? Well, if so you would be jealous as your favorite kitty spends 70% of his lives sleeping? That’s 16 hours a day! Cats need an enormous amount of energy to hunt, or pounce on the little toy mouse they have. Sleeping is their way of storing up energy.

4. Kitty Alzheimer’s
Senior cats start to experience something like human dementia or Alzheimer’s when they reach an old age, usually around 8. The cats wander around the house a little dazed and confused, which is why they meow constantly. If your cat is displaying these symptoms, experts say it is best to comfort it and provide an extra blanket at night.

5. Whiskers purpose
Unlike men’s mustache, cats’ whiskers grow to be as long as the cat is wide. Whiskers don’t just make cats adorable they also serve an important purpose. Cats use their long whiskers to make sure their body will be able to fit through tight openings. If the whiskers bend or move, the cat knows it won’t be able to fit.

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6. Survival rates for cats are better when falling from higher heights
It takes some time for cats’ bodies to realize they are falling and properly adjust. Cats are more likely to survive a higher fall because they have more time to prepare their body and decelerate. The death rate for cats falling from a 2 to 6-story building is much higher than falling from a 7 to 32-story building. Some cats have survived falls of over 65 feet (20 meters), due largely to their “righting reflex.” The eyes and balance organs in the inner ear tell it where it is in space so the cat can land on its feet. Even cats without a tail have this ability. Humans are definitely not as good at it. In 1972, stewardess Vesna Vulovic lived after falling over 9,000 meters—30,000 feet—from a damaged plane, but that is kind of a very rare exception.

7. Cats might be allergic of humans
Does your cat cough frequently? You might be to blame. According to a 2005 study, feline asthma—which affects one in 200 cats—is on the rise thanks to human lifestyle. Since cats are more frequently being kept indoors, they’re more susceptible to inflammation of their airways caused by cigarette smoke, dusty houses, human dandruff, pollen and some kinds of cat litters. And in rare cases, humans can even transmit illnesses like the flu to their pets.

8. Cats are sophisticated animals
Sure, their brains are small, accounting for just 0.9 percent of their body mass. But according to Psychology Today, "the brains of cats have an amazing surface folding and a structure that is about 90 percent similar to ours." The cerebral cortex—the part of the brain that's responsible for cognitive information processing—is more complex in cats than in dogs, and cats have some 300 million neurons, as compared to 160 million in dogs. Some research does suggest that dogs are slightly smarter than cats, but cat owners might have a different opinion on that.

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9. Cats don’t like sweets
Cats aren't interested in sweet stuff because of a defect in the gene that codes for part of the mammalian sweet taste receptor. The receptor contains two protein subunits, T1R2 and T1R3, which are each coded for by a separate gene. The defect occurs on the T1R2 protein in domestic cats, as well as in cheetahs and tigers.

10. Cats can’t see food?
Yes, it may be the case: cats can’t see directly below their noses. That’s why they miss food that’s right in front of them. In general, a cat’s eyesight is both better and worse than humans. It is better because cats can see in much dimmer light and they have a wider peripheral view. It’s worse because they don’t see color as well as humans do. Scientists believe grass appears red to cats.

11. Where the cats’ navigation capabilities come from?
Cats’ homing instinct may be due to magnets in their brains. Cats find their way home through a process called “psi-travelling” — experts think they navigate via the angle of sunlight, or that they have magnetized brain cells that act like compasses.

12. Right and left handed cats
Female cats tend to be right pawed, while male cats are more often left pawed. Interestingly, while 90% of humans are right handed, the remaining 10% of lefties also tend to be male.

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13. Cats on diet
Foods that should not be given to cats include onions, garlic, green tomatoes, raw potatoes, chocolate, grapes, and raisins. Though milk is not toxic, it can cause an upset stomach and gas. Like some humans, as they grow, cats stop making the enzyme lactase, which breaks down their mother’s milk. Tylenol and aspirin are extremely toxic to cats, as are many common houseplants. Feeding cats a dog food or canned tuna that’s for human consumption can also cause malnutrition.

14. Earthquake monitor
Cats are extremely sensitive to vibrations. Cats are said to detect earthquake tremors 10 or 15 minutes before humans can.

15. Cats and depression
The latest studies revealed the strange correlation between the cats’ ownership and level of depression. Unlike expected, the correlation is positive, and claims that having a cat at home puts the owner on higher risk of depression and suicide. That is not right! Cat is the most therapeutic pet, being able to calm down the distressed owner. So what is the catch? While it is still under investigation, the common consensus is that the guilty is parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, commonly found in cat feces, which might be infecting the brains of cat owners, causing the depression (well, that  theory works well for the specialists who believe that infection is the main source of the clinical depression). Another research claims that owning a cat can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes by more than a third.

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Monday, October 26, 2015

Last Moment Halloween Costume Selection

Well, the Halloween is coming really soon, and you got it under control – your costume is ready to final details, and you expect to have a lot of fun. But, if you need emergency fix, and you still have not decided in favor of particular character, stop and check this site! You may find that you do not want to choose whatever most people may shoot for, having the similar ideas.

Google's new Frightgeist map allows you to see exactly, what are the most popular costumes around the country... just to avoid using them.  You can check the popularity of the particular costumes on multiple levels – nationwide, state, city you – all based on Google searches.

Just to give you an idea, here are the top nationwide leaders:
1. Harley Quinn
2. Star Wars
3. Superhero.

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But who cares if most of the costumes in New York will be from Star Wars, as soon as no one will be in these costumes at your party in Denver? That is correct, check locally and avoid crowds.

For example, the most popular costume in Alaska is Pirate, In Montana, that is Batman and Batgirl, and it is Dinosaur in Austin, Texas.

Get the fresh Google creature – Frightgeist:

Friday, October 9, 2015

Who cares if Russian missiles aimed at Syria killed civilians in Iran?

After distinctive failure in Ukraine, Russian military forces shifted their disastrous criminal activities to the Middle East, in efforts to restore its downgraded reputation for having strong and efficient forces and to save its long-term ally Assad from being overpowered by the opposition.  

Russian involvement in Syrian bloodshed is getting deeper and more distinctive, and yesterday, it was outlined from somehow unexpected angle.  Yesterday, Russia fired at least 26 Kalibr cruise missiles from their ships in the Caspian Sea, aimed at the predefined 11 targets in Syria. Because of their launching location, the missiles had to fly through northwest Iran and northern Iraq to make it to their targets in Syria. Based on the CNN reports, at least four of the launched cruise missiles indeed crashed in Iran, harming several Iranian civilians.

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It is not exactly clear if these crashes occurred during a new round of attacks today or if officials are referring to yesterday’s launch, although they say there may have been casualties associated with the wayward missiles. Yesterday, Russian officials claimed that all the missiles they fired made their way to their targets precisely, over a range of almost 1,000 miles. This is unlikely as even the highly proven American BGM-109 Tomahawk, with over 2,000 uses, still experiences an occasional failure.

Therefore, the mere use of cruise missiles, launched from Caspian Sea against targets in Syria, is quite a questionable subject. Russia has sufficient air force, deployed in Syria and capable of striking harder than a Kalibr cruise missile ever can. Since there is no anti-air threat aimed at Russia in Syria, they could simply use their fighter and attack aircraft to strike these targets instead of sending expensive missiles through two of countries to do so. So, experts suggest that the only reason for such peculiar act is to show off its capabilities in the region and to fly over Iraq in defiance of the United States and its coalition partners. Additionally, all the ships and missiles used in these attacks are for sale. In other words, demonstrating their capability on the world stage is great marketing.

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Well, missiles hitting the supposedly friendly country to the spot, located extremely far from the original targets, cannot be considered as a successful marketing campaign. The same as Putin’s efforts to show that Russia is “wild and dangerous player” on the World political arena has turned into farce.

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Iran's Irna news agency reported on Wednesday that an unknown flying object had crashed in the village of Ghozghapan in the Iranian province of West Azerbaijan, said to be under the missiles' flight path. But conservative Iranian media described the reports of missiles landing in Iran as "psychological operations by the US against Moscow". Iran has huge hopes on Putin to save Assad presence in Syria, so destroying a single village is not a sufficient reason to spoil relationship with one of the few Iran’s supporters in the World.

As you may guess, Moscow, meanwhile, denied the U.S. allegations, with Russian Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov saying the accusation "more than vividly characterizes a current level of political culture of certain representatives of U.S. administration. More precisely it characterizes their level of cynicism as regards to the rest of the world."

Russia inadvertently revealed problems with seaborne missiles this summer when its navy conducted an errant launch. The episode happened during a military parade in Sevastopol, the Crimean port city annexed from Ukraine in 2014, when a missile blew apart on a ship during a demonstration firing. Spectators wondered aloud what had happened after pieces of the missile flopped into the sea.

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Some Russian analysts say the Kremlin is using the conflict in Syria to test a new generation of weaponry from a major procurement program that military officials began in 2010 after years of oil-boom profits.

There is one more theory, which you may consider as far-fetched, but do not waive it right away, no matter how strange it may sound today. Several experts mentioned that Russia deliberately goes to the open conflict with the West in Syria (incidents with Turkey, American Drones, and Israeli war planes) trying to create the situation when its military plane can be shot down by the coalition forces. The reason – to divert World attention from the independent report on the responsible for the Boeing destruction over the Ukrainian skies. The informational leaks suggest that the main responsibility for the terrorist act will be ultimately put on the Russia-supported rebels in Eastern Ukraine, at least, or direct involvement of the Russian military in the terrorist act might be pointed out. That would be extremely dangerous development for Putin as it may lead to the new round of sanctions against Russia, and could bring him and his circle one step closer to the Hague Tribunal.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

How to Test your Chakras Balance Online?

What is Chakra Balance, and why is it important?

An “imbalance” in your Chakras means that some Chakras are over-active, and some are under-active. Many people who are new to the ideas of “Chakra balancing” and “Chakra healing” mistakenly think that means “opening the Chakras”. Just like anything else in life, the keyword is “balance”, not too much, and not too little. Since the Chakras receive and transmit energy (which translates into psychic, emotional and physical energy) too much or too little may affect the way we think, act and feel; for instance, too little flow through the Heart Chakra could translate into a “hard hearted” and selfish personality, and too much flow through the Heart Chakra could translate into a person with a “bleeding heart”, someone who’s generous compassion can easily be taken advantage of. You might find that “closing” a Chakra or two actually provides more psychic and emotional relief than “opening” a Chakra.

Another concept most people don’t understand (or even reject) is that we are not alone, either as individuals, or as a human race; “open Chakras” is a primary means for “energy vampires”, either the ones we can see, or the ones we can’t see, to attach to us, to drain our energy, manipulate our thoughts and emotions, and to attempt to live through us. This is why “closing” or “covering” your Chakras is equally as important as “opening your Chakras”. Finding that perfect balance between openness to outside and Universal energies, and keeping up our own energetic boundaries, is the main purpose of Chakra balancing and Chakra healing. While being “One with the Universe” may be the ideal state of Being and the ultimate spiritual goal, don’t rush it; first you need to learn to differentiate between you, the Universe, and “others”, who may not be as spiritually advanced as you, and will only hold you back or drain you, if you are open to their energetic influence.

Mental states of being and our emotions have resonant frequencies; this is the secret force behind the transformational power of spiritual song and music, mantras and spoken prayers. Our various mental states and emotions are related to specific Chakra sound frequencies, and will respond to color, which is also a frequency. When exposed long enough to a resonant Chakra sound frequency, the Chakras will be brought into balance; and when your Chakras are in balance, so is your mind and emotions. Binaural beat sound therapy techniques, combined with the Chakra tones, can be used to quickly and directly realign the imbalances you may be experiencing within your emotions and mind, by exposing you directly to the most potent sounds for aligning your Chakras, and to make the life changing transformations you crave.

Take this free chakra test to find out how open each of your seven chakras is. The questionnaire consists of 56 questions, to which you can answer "not at all" through "definitely." Try to be as honest as possible about yourself, as this will get you the most accurate results.

Next to a list indicating whether each chakra is under-active, open or over-active, the test results consist of a graph displaying the activity of each chakra.

Below is a short questionnaire to help you learn more about your energy centers. Most questions have two parts. Be honest with your answers. Remember that this questionnaire is to help you to understand more about yourself. So don’t rush through the questions but rather try to reflect on each question before answering. And make sure you can honestly answer each question to be true at least 90% of the time.

Once you complete and add up your totals to each part, read the following section on “How to Use the Test Results.” Use your results to see what energy centers you are strongest in as well as what ones you need to work on...

Which of your chakras needs healing? Take our 2 minute free chakra test to find out (43 questions).

Take this 3-minute test and find out how each of your 7 Chakras are influencing your life.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Are you ready to forget about motion sickness?

Motion sickness can happen from any kind of movement, even movement that you are anticipating. People tend to get motion sickness on a moving:
* Boat
* Train
* Airplane
* Car
* Amusement park rides

It usually stops as soon as the motion stops.


Motion sickness happens when the body, the inner ear, and the eyes send conflicting signals to the brain. This most often happens when you are in a car, boat, or airplane, but it may also happen on flight simulators or amusement park rides. From inside a ship's cabin, your inner ear may sense rolling motions that your eyes cannot see. On the other hand, your eyes may see movement on a "virtual reality" ride that your body does not feel. Even viewing a 3D movie may cause symptoms of motion sickness.

Once a person gets used to the movement and the motion stops, symptoms may come back (although usually only briefly). Sometimes just thinking about movement can cause anxiety and symptoms of motion sickness. For example, a person who had motion sickness before might get nauseous on an airplane before take off.


Researchers believe that they could develop a new treatment for seasickness in the next few years, thanks to a breakthrough in the area of concern.

A group of researchers from Imperial College London (ICL) found in a new study that after shooting a mild electrical current to the scalp, people suffering from overstimulation of their responses like motion sickness will lessen their inadaptive capacities. With that said, feelings of nausea or even vomiting during a boat or a roller coaster ride will considerably be lessened when an adequate amount of electrical current is given beforehand.

It helps the brain in reducing the impact of the confusing inputs that it receives. Thus is becomes able to prevent the problem that originates motion sickness’ symptoms. According to researchers, people who suffer seasick in a ship will be able to get an effective cure within five to ten years.

The lead researcher, Dr. Qadeer Arshad said that after a series of tests, their team concluded that using such technique is safe for use. Eventually, when all the paperwork is done, the electrical devices will then be available in drugstores.  The proponents of the study also added that the device would be very similar to that of a tens machine used to alleviate back pain. They are also thinking of integrating the technology in mobile phones by putting it into headphone jacks wherein the jacks will deliver small amounts of electricity into the surface of the skin.

Before coming up with the conclusion, they experimented on the effects of the electrical signals by attaching electrodes on the scalp of their respondents for about ten minutes. After such, the participants of the study were asked to ride on a motorized rotating chair, which could induce motion sickness. After collating data, the scientists concluded that those who received the electrical signals were less likely to report feelings of nausea.

The researchers think that this breakthrough technique will be the ultimate solution to motion sickness because the tablets available to treat such can cause severe drowsiness. The goal of the study is to give people quality experiences even in motion-packed activities.

Findings of the study appeared in the most recent edition of the prestigious journal Neurology.

Sources and Additional Information:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

“Female Viagra” Finally Approved by FDA

FDA officials finally approved the first-ever prescription drug intended to treat women suffering from a lack of sexual desire. That is correct – Women Viagra exists, and will be appearing on the market late October.

Sprout Pharmaceuticals Inc. will sell the drug, flibanserin, under the name Addyi for women who have not yet gone through menopause and suffer from low libido, according to a statement from the regulatory agency.

However, the FDA put restrictions on who can prescribe the drug to address serious side effects such as fainting if combined with certain other drugs or alcohol. Additionally, doctors will not be able to prescribe it unless they complete an online certification test.

How does it work?

Addyi acts on brain chemicals associated with mood and appetite, similar to antidepressant drugs. In fact, it was originally studied as a treatment for depression before being repurposed into a libido drug. It is not entirely clear why the drug increases sexual desire but researchers point to its ability to increase dopamine — a brain chemical associated with appetite — while lowering serotonin — another chemical linked with feelings of satiation.

Who will take this drug?

The FDA approved Addyi for premenopausal women with hypoactive sexual desire disorder, described as a lack of sexual appetite that causes emotional distress.

Surveys estimate that between 5.5 million to 8.6 million U.S. women have the condition, or roughly 8 to 14 percent of women ages 20 to 49. Because so many other factors affect sexual appetite, there are a number of alternate causes, doctors must rule out before diagnosing the condition, including relationship problems, medical conditions and mood issues caused by other medications like sleeping aids and painkillers.

The diagnosis is not universally accepted and many psychologists argue that low sex drive should not be considered a medical condition.

The rumors are this decision was controversial, why?

The drug followed a long, contentious path to approval, including two previous rejections by the FDA. For years, two opposing sides have argued over the fate of the drug.

On one hand, drugmakers and some medical experts argue that women need FDA-approved medications to treat sexual disorders, which they consider serious medical problems. On the other side, consumer-safety advocates have said the drug's side effects are too risky, and there are those who question whether low libido is a medical condition.

On top of this debate, Sprout Pharmaceuticals enlisted outside politicians and women's groups to lobby the FDA to approve the drug.

Does the drug work?

Experts usually describe Addyi's effect as "modest." In company studies, women taking flibanserin reported a slight increase in sexually satisfying events each month. Their answers to separate questionnaires indicated they experienced a slight increase in desire and a slight decrease in stress.

While FDA scientists describe these effects as "small," they were significant enough to meet FDA effectiveness standards.

In clinical trials, women who took Addyi recorded a median increase of 0.5 to one more satisfying sexual events each month than those who got a placebo. Women began the trials experiencing two to three satisfying sexual events a month. Some women experienced as many as six to eight more satisfying sexual events each month.

Addyi’s label will advise women to stop taking the pill if they do not respond after eight weeks.

What are the side effects?

About 10 percent of patients in Sprout's studies experienced the most common problems: dizziness, fatigue and nausea. The drug will also bear a boxed warning that women should not drink alcohol or take certain types of other medications, including antifungal drugs, because of an interaction that can cause low blood pressure and fainting.

How much will it cost?

Sprout says women who have health insurance will pay between $30 and $75 for a month's supply of Addyi, depending on their coverage terms.

History of Research

The search for a pill to treat women's sexual difficulties has been something of a holy grail for the pharmaceutical industry. It was pursued, and later abandoned, by Pfizer, Bayer and Procter & Gamble, among others. All drugs that act on blood flow, hormones and other biological functions, were proved being ineffective.

Sources and Additional Information:

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Did you Know, that Ernest Hemingway was a Russian Spy, thou not a very Good one?

July 21, 1899, Ernest Miller Hemingway, author of such novels as “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and “The Old Man and the Sea,” was born in Oak Park, Illinois. The influential American literary icon became known for his straightforward prose and use of understatement. Hemingway, who tackled topics such as bullfighting and war in his work, also became famous for his own macho, hard-drinking persona.

Many people are familiar with the fact that after surviving two plane crashes in Africa in 1953, Hemingway became increasingly anxious and depressed. On July 2, 1961, he killed himself with a shotgun at his home in Ketchum, Idaho. (His father had committed suicide in 1928.). However, less know fact is that Hemingway may had at the time other reasons to get depressed, besides the near death experience, and familial predisposition to suicide.

Spying for Russia

In the last few years of his life, Ernest Hemingway grew paranoid and talked about FBI spying on him. He was even treated with electroshock therapy as many as 15 times at the recommendation of his physician in 1960. It was later revealed that he was in fact being watched, and Edgard Hoover had personally placed him under surveillance. In 2009, the publication of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, revealed that the FBI was in fact right to spy on Ernest Hemingway, the Nobel prize-winning novelist, because he really was on the KGB’s list of its agents in America. Based on notes from a former KGB officer who was given access in the 1990s to intelligence archives in Moscow from the Stalin era, the book reveals that Hemingway was recruited in 1940 before making a trip to China, and was given the cover name “Argo”.

According to Soviet documents, he met with Soviet agents during the 1940s in Havana and London and “repeatedly expressed his desire and willingness to help us”. In the end, Hemingway turned out to be of little use to the Soviets however, as it has claimed he failed to give them any political information and was never “verified in practical work”. By the 1950s, “Argo” was no longer an active Soviet contact. Some project that Hemingway’s escapades as a KGB spy were more likely all part of an elaborate charade by him to gather literary inspiration. Others suspect his paranoia over being watched by the FBI may have led him to take his own life.

But Why?

Though Hemingway was publicly anti-Communist, he maintained some unofficial contacts with the NKVD even before his forma recruitment - from as early as 1935 - and it was his Soviet contacts, that allowed the author to enter Spain for the research, that eventually became For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Given the Hemingway personality and his expressed public views, it is hard to reconcile his decision to work for NKVD with his individualism and many of his statements about communists and communism. He admired a number of communists, and how they fought for their ideals, but he said that he did not subscribe to their ideology. Joyce remembered Hemingway as “apolitical”: “The leftist intellectuals… were angry… because he always refused to enter their “camp”…. [Hemingway said,] “I like communists when they’re soldiers but when they’re priests, I hate them.” He was always particularly contemptuous of the “ideology boys.”

Considering the timing, it is especially hard to reconcile Hemingway’s becoming a spy for the NKVD with his longstanding antifascist views. In January 1941, when Hemingway reportedly accepted the pitch, the Hitler-Stalin pact was still in force; the Nazi and Soviet dictators were allies.

More than 70 years later, it is hard to appreciate what a blow the cynical pact, signed in 1939, had been to many on the left, especially those who had seen Stalin as the only real counterweight to Hitler. Lifelong communists experienced agonizing doubts. More than a few, like Hemingway’s communist friend Regler, abandoned the party. Those who found a way to rationalize the Hitler-Stalin alliance were on their way to qualifying as true believers.

Interesting is the statement of the NKVD station chief in Madrid, Alexander Orlov, who considered Hemingway to be one of these true believers. Well, despite numerous statements and actions to the contrary, Hemingway did occasionally write or talk like a true believer, especially in the cause of antifascism and, by extension, its communist and Soviet supporters. Robert Jordan, the American guerrilla who is the hero of For Whom the Bell Tolls, is disturbed by atrocities on both sides of the Spanish Civil War, to say nothing of the cynical intrigues of at least one communist leader that undermine the war effort. But, for the greater good, he decides to suspend judgment for the duration of the war.

Is Jordan speaking for himself or for Hemingway when he extols the benefits of communist discipline—“the best…and the soundest and sanest for the prosecution of the war”? Then there is Philip Rawlings, the hero in Hemingway’s little-known play The Fifth Column. Rawlings is an American journalist who, behind the scenes, is happy to help a ruthless communist counterintelligence officer uncover fascist spies by spotting them in the cafes and hotels of Madrid, all in order to save the Spanish Republic.

In a remarkable letter dated 13 February 1947 and written in his own handwriting, Hemingway appeared to be speaking for himself when he defended the Soviet Union and its work in Spain. He started with the disclaimer that is familiar to generations of Hemingway readers: “It’s politics I do not agree with.” Then he continued with more passion than logic, sounding like many other true believers on the left who argued that the ends justified the means, to include political killings.

NKVD and Agent Argo

NKVD file on Hemingway reflects the service’s frustration in keeping in touch with the agent. A NKVD operative met with Hemingway twice between September 1943 and April 1944 in Cuba, once in June 1944 in London, and once in April 1945 in Cuba. The NKVD file summarizes Hemingway’s poor record as a Soviet spy: “Our meetings with “Argo” in London and Havana were conducted with the aim of studying him and determining his potential for our work. Through the period of his connection with us, “Argo” did not give us any polit. Information [sic], though he repeatedly expressed his desire and willingness to help us. “Argo” has not been studied thoroughly and is unverified.”

Nevertheless, in spite of the practical use of the author as NKVD spy, his secret affiliation with Russian intelligence service opened the door for his books to the Russian book market, bringing him a great popularity among several generations of the Soviet people.

Sources and Additional Information:

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Go Set a Watchman (To Kill a Mockingbird #2) by Harper Lee - First Chapter Online

When Harper Lee's lawyer and close friend, Tonja Carter, went combing through the secure archive near the author's Alabama home last fall, she only intended to check on the condition of the original manuscript of Lee's beloved best-seller, To Kill a Mockingbird. What she found was something else entirely: a complete second book, believed to have been lost for more than 50 years.

The discovery, and recent announcement that the uncovered manuscript, Go Set A Watchman, would be published this summer, shocked both the publishing industry and the legions of Lee fans who had long ago given up hope that they'd ever read a new work by the 88-year-old Pulitzer Prize winner. Go Set a Watchman was written before Mockingbird, but takes place about 20 years later, during the civil rights movement. Scout Finch, the precocious 12-year-old narrator of Mockingbird, is now an adult woman who has returned home to Alabama after living and working in New York City.

The first chapter of ‘Go Set a Watchman’ introduces Ms. Lee’s beloved character, Scout, as a sexually liberated woman in her twenties, traveling from New York to Alabama to visit her ailing father and weigh a marriage proposal from a childhood friend. It also includes a bombshell about Scout’s brother.--Jennifer Maloney

Below, the first chapter:

Since Atlanta, she had looked out the dining-car window with a delight almost physical. Over her breakfast coffee, she watched the last of Georgia’s hills recede and the red earth appear, and with it tin-roofed houses set in the middle of swept yards, and in the yards the inevitable verbena grew, surrounded by whitewashed tires. She grinned when she saw her first TV antenna atop an unpainted Negro house; as they multiplied, her joy rose.

Jean Louise Finch always made this journey by air, but she decided to go by train from New York to Maycomb Junction on her fifth annual trip home. For one thing, she had the life scared out of her the last time she was on a plane: the pilot elected to fly through a tornado. For another thing, flying home meant her father rising at three in the morning, driving a hundred miles to meet her in Mobile, and doing a full day’s work afterwards: he was seventy-two now and this was no longer fair.

She was glad she had decided to go by train. Trains had changed since her childhood, and the novelty of the experience amused her: a fat genie of a porter materialized when she pressed a button on a wall; at her bidding a stainless steel washbasin popped out of another wall, and there was a john one could prop one’s feet on. She resolved not to be intimidated by several messages stenciled around her compartment—a roomette, they called it—but when she went to bed the night before, she succeeded in folding herself up into the wall because she had ignored an injunction to PULL THIS LEVER DOWN OVER BRACKETS, a situation remedied by the porter to her embarrassment, as her habit was to sleep only in pajama tops.

Luckily, he happened to be patrolling the corridor when the trap snapped shut with her in it: “I’ll get you out, Miss,” he called in answer to her poundings from within. “No please,” she said. “Just tell me how to get out.” “I can do it with my back turned,” he said, and did.

When she awoke that morning the train was switching and chugging in the Atlanta yards, but in obedience to another sign in her compartment she stayed in bed until College Park flashed by. When she dressed, she put on her Maycomb clothes: gray slacks, a black sleeveless blouse, white socks, and loafers. Although it was four hours away, she could hear her aunt’s sniff of disapproval.

When she was starting on her fourth cup of coffee the Crescent Limited honked like a giant goose at its northbound mate and rumbled across the Chattahoochee into Alabama.

The Chattahoochee is wide, flat, and muddy. It was low today; a yellow sandbar had reduced its flow to a trickle. Perhaps it sings in the wintertime, she thought: I do not remember a line of that poem. Piping down the valleys wild? No. Did he write to a waterfowl, or was it a waterfall?

She sternly repressed a tendency to boisterousness when she reflected that Sidney Lanier must have been somewhat like her long-departed cousin, Joshua Singleton St. Clair, whose private literary preserves stretched from the Black Belt to Bayou La Batre. Jean Louise’s aunt often held up Cousin Joshua to her as a family example not lightly to be discountenanced: he was a splendid figure of a man, he was a poet, he was cut off in his prime, and Jean Louise would do well to remember that he was a credit to the family. His pictures did the family well—Cousin Joshua looked like a ratty Algernon Swinburne.

Jean Louise smiled to herself when she remembered her father telling her the rest of it. Cousin Joshua was cut off, all right, not by the hand of God but by Caesar’s hosts:

When at the University, Cousin Joshua studied too hard and thought too much; in fact, he read himself straight out of the nineteenth century. He affected an Inverness cape and wore jackboots he had a blacksmith make up from his own design. Cousin Joshua was frustrated by the authorities when he fired upon the president of the University, who in his opinion was little more than a sewage disposal expert. This was no doubt true, but an idle excuse for assault with a deadly weapon. After much passing around of money Cousin Joshua was moved across the tracks and placed in state accommodations for the irresponsible, where he remained for the rest of his days. They said he was reasonable in every respect until someone mentioned that president’s name, then his face would become distorted, he would assume a whooping crane attitude and hold it for eight hours or more, and nothing or nobody could make him lower his leg until he forgot about that man. On clear days Cousin Joshua read Greek, and he left a thin volume of verse printed privately by a firm in Tuscaloosa. The poetry was so ahead of its time no one has deciphered it yet, but Jean Louise’s aunt keeps it displayed casually and prominently on a table in the livingroom.

Jean Louise laughed aloud, then looked around to see if anyone had heard her. Her father had a way of undermining his sister’s lectures on the innate superiority of any given Finch: he always told his daughter the rest of it, quietly and solemnly, but Jean Louise sometimes thought she detected an unmistakably profane glint in Atticus Finch’s eyes, or was it merely the light hitting his glasses? She never knew.

The countryside and the train had subsided to a gentle roll, and she could see nothing but pastureland and black cows from window to horizon. She wondered why she had never thought her country beautiful.

The station at Montgomery nestled in an elbow of the Alabama, and when she got off the train to stretch her legs, the returning familiar with its drabness, lights, and curious odors rose to meet her. There is something missing, she thought. Hotboxes, that’s it. A man goes along under the train with a crowbar. There is a clank and then s-sss-sss, white smoke comes up and you think you’re inside a chafing dish. These things run on oil now.

For no reason an ancient fear gnawed her. She had not been in this station for twenty years, but when she was a child and went to the capital with Atticus, she was terrified lest the swaying train plunge down the riverbank and drown them all. But when she boarded again for home, she forgot.

The train clacketed through pine forests and honked derisively at a gaily painted bell-funneled museum piece sidetracked in a clearing. It bore the sign of a lumber concern, and the Crescent Limited could have swallowed it whole with room to spare. Greenville, Evergreen, Maycomb Junction.

She had told the conductor not to forget to let her off, and because the conductor was an elderly man, she anticipated his joke: he would rush at Maycomb Junction like a bat out of hell and stop the train a quarter of a mile past the little station, then when he bade her goodbye he would say he was sorry, he almost forgot. Trains changed; conductors never did. Being funny at flag stops with young ladies was a mark of the profession, and Atticus, who could predict the actions of every conductor from New Orleans to Cincinnati, would be waiting accordingly not six steps away from her point of debarkation.

Home was Maycomb County, a gerrymander some seventy miles long and spreading thirty miles at its widest point, a wilderness dotted with tiny settlements the largest of which was Maycomb, the county seat. Until comparatively recently in its history, Maycomb County was so cut off from the rest of the nation that some of its citizens, unaware of the South’s political predilections over the past ninety years, still voted Republican. No trains went there—Maycomb Junction, a courtesy title, was located in Abbott County, twenty miles away. Bus service was erratic and seemed to go nowhere, but the Federal Government had forced a highway or two through the swamps, thus giving the citizens an opportunity for free egress. But few people took advantage of the roads, and why should they? If you did not want much, there was plenty.

The county and the town were named for a Colonel Mason Maycomb, a man whose misplaced self-confidence and overweening willfulness brought confusion and confoundment to all who rode with him in the Creek Indian Wars. The territory in which he operated was vaguely hilly in the north and flat in the south, on the fringes of the coastal plain. Colonel Maycomb, convinced that Indians hated to fight on flat land, scoured the northern reaches of the territory looking for them. When his general discovered that Maycomb was meandering in the hills while the Creeks were lurking in every pine thicket in the south, he dispatched a friendly Indian runner to Maycomb with the message, Move south, damn you. Maycomb was convinced this was a Creek plot to trap him (was there not a blue-eyed, red-headed devil leading them?), he made the friendly Indian runner his prisoner, and he moved farther north until his forces became hopelessly lost in the forest primeval, where they sat out the wars in considerable bewilderment.

After enough years had passed to convince Colonel Maycomb that the message might have been genuine after all, he began a purposeful march to the south, and on the way his troops encountered settlers moving inland, who told them the Indian Wars were about over. The troops and the settlers were friendly enough to become Jean Louise Finch’s ancestors, and Colonel Maycomb pressed on to what is now Mobile to make sure his exploits were given due credit. Recorded history’s version does not coincide with the truth, but these are the facts, because they were passed down by word of mouth through the years, and every Maycombian knows them.

“. . . get your bags, Miss,” the porter said. Jean Louise followed him from the lounge car to her compartment. She took two dollars from her billfold: one for routine, one for releasing her last night. The train, of course, rushed like a bat out of hell past the station and came to a stop 440 yards beyond it. The conductor appeared, grinning, and said he was sorry, he almost forgot. Jean Louise grinned back and waited impatiently for the porter to put the yellow step in place. He handed her down and she gave him the two bills.

Her father was not waiting for her.

She looked up the track toward the station and saw a tall man standing on the tiny platform. He jumped down and ran to meet her.

He grabbed her in a bear hug, put her from him, kissed her hard on the mouth, then kissed her gently. “Not here, Hank,” she murmured, much pleased.

“Hush, girl,” he said, holding her face in place. “I’ll kiss you on the courthouse steps if I want to.”

The possessor of the right to kiss her on the courthouse steps was Henry Clinton, her lifelong friend, her brother’s comrade, and if he kept on kissing her like that, her husband. Love whom you will but marry your own kind was a dictum amounting to instinct within her. Henry Clinton was Jean Louise’s own kind, and now she did not consider the dictum particularly harsh.

They walked arm-in-arm down the track to collect her suitcase. “How’s Atticus?” she said.

“His hands and shoulders are giving him fits today.”

“He can’t drive when they’re like that, can he?”

Henry closed the fingers of his right hand halfway and said, “He can’t close them any more than this. Miss Alexandra has to tie his shoes and button his shirts when they’re like that. He can’t even hold a razor.”

Jean Louise shook her head. She was too old to rail against the inequity of it, but too young to accept her father’s crippling disease without putting up some kind of fight. “Isn’t there anything they can do?”

“You know there isn’t,” Henry said. “He takes seventy grains of aspirin a day and that’s all.”

Henry picked up her heavy suitcase, and they walked back toward the car. She wondered how she would behave when her time came to hurt day in and day out. Hardly like Atticus: if you asked him how he was feeling he would tell you, but he never complained; his disposition remained the same, so in order to find out how he was feeling, you had to ask him.

The only way Henry found out about it was by accident. One day when they were in the records vault at the courthouse running a land title, Atticus hauled out a heavy mortgage book, turned stark white, and dropped it. “What’s the matter?” Henry had said. “Rheumatoid arthritis. Can you pick it up for me?” said Atticus. Henry asked him how long he’d had it; Atticus said six months. Did Jean Louise know it? No. Then he’d better tell her. “If you tell her she’ll be down here trying to nurse me. The only remedy for this is not to let it beat you.” The subject was closed.

“Want to drive?” said Henry.

“Don’t be silly,” she said. Although she was a respectable driver, she hated to operate anything mechanical more complicated than a safety pin: folding lawn chairs were a source of profound irritation to her; she had never learned to ride a bicycle or use a typewriter; she fished with a pole. Her favorite game was golf because its essential principles consisted of a stick, a small ball, and a state of mind.

With green envy, she watched Henry’s effortless mastery of the automobile. Cars are his servants, she thought. “Power steering? Automatic transmission?” she said.

“You bet,” he said.

“Well, what if everything shuts off and you don’t have any gears to shift. You’d be in trouble then, wouldn’t you?”

“But everything won’t shut off.”

“How do you know?”

“That’s what faith is. Come here.”

Faith in General Motors. She put her head on his shoulder.

“Hank,” she said presently. “What really happened?”

This was an old joke between them. A pink scar started under his right eye, hit the corner of his nose, and ran diagonally across his upper lip. Behind his lip were six false front teeth not even Jean Louise could induce him to take out and show her. He came home from the war with them. A German, more to express his displeasure at the end of the war than anything else, had bashed him in the face with a rifle butt. Jean Louise had chosen to think this a likely story: what with guns that shot over the horizon, B-17s, V-bombs, and the like, Henry had probably not been within spitting distance of the Germans.

“Okay, honey,” he said. “We were down in a cellar in Berlin. Everybody had too much to drink and a fight started—you like to hear the believable, don’t you? Now will you marry me?”

“Not yet.”


“I want to be like Dr. Schweitzer and play until I’m thirty.”

“He played all right,” said Henry grimly.

Jean Louise moved under his arm. “You know what I mean,” she said.


There was no finer young man, said the people of Maycomb, than Henry Clinton. Jean Louise agreed. Henry was from the southern end of the county. His father had left his mother soon after Henry was born, and she worked night and day in her little crossroads store to send Henry through the Maycomb public schools. Henry, from the time he was twelve, boarded across the street from the Finch house, and this in itself put him on a higher plane: he was his own master, free from the authority of cooks, yardmen, and parents. He was also four years her senior, which made a difference then. He teased her; she adored him. When he was fourteen his mother died, leaving him next to nothing. Atticus Finch looked after what little money there was from the sale of the store—her funeral expenses took most of it—he secretly supplemented it with money of his own, and got Henry a job clerking in the Jitney Jungle after school. Henry graduated and went into the Army, and after the war he went to the University and studied law.

Just about that time, Jean Louise’s brother dropped dead in his tracks one day, and after the nightmare of that was over, Atticus, who had always thought of leaving his practice to his son, looked around for another young man. It was natural for him to engage Henry, and in due course Henry became Atticus’s legman, his eyes, and his hands. Henry had always respected Atticus Finch; soon it melded to affection and Henry regarded him as a father.

He did not regard Jean Louise as a sister. In the years when he was away at the war and the University, she had turned from an overalled, fractious, gun-slinging creature into a reasonable facsimile of a human being. He began dating her on her annual two-week visits home, and although she still moved like a thirteen-year-old boy and abjured most feminine adornment, he found something so intensely feminine about her that he fell in love. She was easy to look at and easy to be with most of the time, but she was in no sense of the word an easy person. She was afflicted with a restlessness of spirit he could not guess at, but he knew she was the one for him. He would protect her; he would marry her.

“Tired of New York?” he said.


“Give me a free hand for these two weeks and I’ll make you tired of it.”

“Is that an improper suggestion?”


“Go to hell, then.”

Henry stopped the car. He turned off the ignition switch, slewed around, and looked at her. She knew when he became serious about something: his crew cut bristled like an angry brush, his face colored, its scar reddened.

“Honey, do you want me to put it like a gentleman? Miss Jean Louise, I have now reached an economic status that can provide for the support of two. I, like Israel of Old, have labored seven years in the vineyards of the University and the pastures of your daddy’s office for you—”

“I’ll tell Atticus to make it seven more.”


“Besides,” she said, “it was Jacob anyway. No, they were the same. They always changed their names every third verse. How’s Aunty?”

“You know good and well she’s been fine for thirty years. Don’t change the subject.”

Jean Louise’s eyebrows flickered. “Henry,” she said primly, “I’ll have an affair with you but I won’t marry you.”

It was exactly right.

“Don’t be such a damn child, Jean Louise!” Henry sputtered, and forgetting the latest dispensations from General Motors, grabbed for a gearshift and stomped at a clutch. These denied him, he wrenched the ignition key violently, pressed some buttons, and the big car glided slowly and smoothly down the highway.

“Slow pickup, isn’t it?” she said. “No good for city driving.”

Henry glared at her. “What do you mean by that?”

In another minute this would become a quarrel. He was serious. She’d better make him furious, thus silent, so she could think about it.

“Where’d you get that appalling tie?” she said.


She was almost in love with him. No, that’s impossible, she thought: either you are or you aren’t. Love’s the only thing in this world that is unequivocal. There are different kinds of love, certainly, but it’s a you-do or you-don’t proposition with them all.

She was a person who, when confronted with an easy way out, always took the hard way. The easy way out of this would be to marry Hank and let him labor for her. After a few years, when the children were waist-high, the man would come along whom she should have married in the first place. There would be searchings of hearts, fevers and frets, long looks at each other on the post office steps, and misery for everybody. The hollering and the high-mindedness over, all that would be left would be another shabby little affair à la the Birmingham country club set, and a self-constructed private Gehenna with the latest Westinghouse appliances. Hank didn’t deserve that.

No. For the present she would pursue the stony path of spinsterhood. She set about restoring peace with honor:

“Honey, I’m sorry, truly sorry,” she said, and she was.

“That’s okay,” said Henry, and slapped her knee. “It’s just that I could kill you sometimes.”

“I know I’m hateful.”

Henry looked at her. “You’re an odd one, sweet. You can’t dissemble.”

She looked at him. “What are you talking about?”

“Well, as a general rule, most women, before they’ve got ’em, present to their men smiling, agreeing faces. They hide their thoughts. You now, when you’re feeling hateful, honey, you are hateful.”

“Isn’t it fairer for a man to be able to see what he’s letting himself in for?”

“Yes, but don’t you see you’ll never catch a man that way?”

She bit her tongue on the obvious, and said, “How do I go about being an enchantress?”

Henry warmed to his subject. At thirty, he was an adviser. Maybe because he was a lawyer. “First,” he said dispassionately, “hold your tongue. Don’t argue with a man, especially when you know you can beat him. Smile a lot. Make him feel big. Tell him how wonderful he is, and wait on him.”

She smiled brilliantly and said, “Hank, I agree with everything you’ve said. You are the most perspicacious individual I’ve met in years, you are six feet five, and may I light your cigarette? How’s that?”


They were friends again.

— Excerpted from Ms. Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman,’ to be published July 14 by HarperCollins

Intrigue and Controversy

To add spices to the epic discovery, it is not without controversy or complications. Harper Lee's sister Alice Lee, who ferociously protected Harper Lee's estate (and person) from unwanted outside attention as a lawyer and advocate for decades, passed away late last year, leaving the intensely private author (who herself is reportedly in ill health) vulnerable to people who may not have her best interests at heart.

Tonja Carter, Harper Lee's attorney since Alice Lee retired at the age of 100, acknowledges that the author—who was left forgetful and nearly blind and deaf after a stroke in 2007—often does not understand the contracts that she signs. "Lee has a history of signing whatever's put in front of her, apparently sometimes with Carter's advice," Gawker's Michelle Dean reported last July.

"The existence of 'Go Set a Watchman' was unknown until recently, and its discovery is an extraordinary gift," said HarperCollins publisher Jonathan Burnham in a statement.

But was the gift willingly given?

"After much thought and hesitation I shared it with a handful of people I trust and was pleased to hear that they considered it worthy of publication," Lee said in a statement of her own. "I am humbled and amazed that this will now be published after all these years."

That might seem like confirmation of Lee's willing involvement in Go Set a Watchman's publication, except for the fact that we know about Lee's messy relationship with her attorney (who, again, often gets her to sign things that she does not understand) and Lee's own publicity-shy character.

Lee once told Oprah over lunch that she hated being compared to To Kill a Mockingbird's spunky protagonist Scout Finch. "I'm really Boo," she said, referring to the reclusive hero whose actions—by the grace of Atticus Finch (and the benevolent Heck Tate)—were allowed to go unpublicized.

In the past, Lee affectionately referred to her sister Alice as "Atticus in a skirt." Not just because she was an amazing lawyer, but because she was the protector who shielded Harper Lee from the publishing world and press attention that she was so adamantly repelled by. But now Alice—her Atticus—is gone and an unhealthy and unstable Lee must alone face the publishers, interviewers and literary agents that she's spent her entire life avoiding.

Sources and Additional Information: