Brain Teasers For Adults – Test Your Brain Power!

Quite often adults become so busy taking care of family, work, homes that we forget, or just don’t have time, to take care of ourselves. Keeping fit is usually equated with watching our weight, what we eat, and getting plenty of exercise and rest. But there’s another part of our body that requires exercise to stay healthy. It’s our brain. As we get older many adults will experience some loss in memory and other cognitive skills. There are many online brain fitness sites to help combat the degenerative cycle of age. One of these sites is the The Hartford, and they offer the following brain teasers, plus brain puzzles and activities, brain games, brain fitness tips, brain fitness programs and how to build a better brain.

Ready to give your brain a little exercise? See if you can solve the brain teasers below. You’ll find the answers at the bottom of the post. Good luck!

Brainteaser #1

You’re standing at three light switches at the bottom of stairs to the attic. Each one corresponds to one of three lights in the attic, but you cannot see the lights from where you stand. You can turn the switches on and off and leave them in any position. How can you identify which switch corresponds to which light bulb if you are only allowed one trip upstairs?

Brainteaser #2

A man is trapped in a room with only two possible exits: two doors. Through the first door, there is a room constructed from magnifying glass. The blazing sun instantly fries anyone or anything that enters. Through the second door, there is a fire breathing dragon. How does the man escape?

Brainteaser #3

You have a 3 gallon jug and a 5 gallon jug. You need to measure out exactly 7 gallons of water. How do you do it?

Brainteaser #4

You and a good friend go out and have a nice dinner together, and the bill is $25. You and your friend each pay $15 in cash which your Waiter gives to the Cashier. The Cashier hands back $5 to the Waiter. The Waiter keeps $3 as a tip and hands back $1 to each of you. So, you and your friend paid $14 each for the meal, for a total of $28. The Waiter has $3, and that makes $31. Where did the extra dollar come from?

Brainteaser #5

In this puzzle, three numbers: 16, 14 and 38, need to be assigned to one of the rows of numbers below. To which row should each number be assigned?
(Hint: This is not a mathematical problem. The numerical values are irrelevant.)

A – 0   6   8   9   3

B – 15   27   21   10   19

C – 7   1   47   11   17

Answer #1

Turn on the first two switches and leave them on for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, turn off the second switch, leaving the first switch on. Now go upstairs to the attic. The light that is on is connected to the first switch. A light that is off but has a bulb that is still warm to the touch is connected to the second switch. The light that is both off and cold to the touch is connected to the third switch, which was never turned on.

Answer #2

The man waited for nightfall, and once it was dark, he exited through the door to the room made of magnifying glass.

Answer #3

Fill the 5 gallon jug with water, pour it into the 3 gallon jug until the 3 gallon is full, leaving 2 gallons in the 5 gallon jug. Now pour out the water in the 3 gallon jug. Pour the 2 gallons of water (in the 5 gallon jug) into the empty 3 gallon jug. Fill the 5 gallon jug. You now have exactly 7 gallons!

Answer #4

The statement that you and your friend each paid $14 for the meal is misleading and is, in fact, not accurate. The $14 actually includes the meal and the tip. You each paid $12.50 for the meal (half of $25), $1.50 for a tip (half of $3) and each got back $1 in change. Add it all up and it comes to $15 each, for a total of $30.

Answer #5

The numbers are organized by shape!
In Row A, all the numbers have rounded shapes.
In Row C, all the numbers have linear shapes.
Row B is mix of curves and lines.
Therefore, 16 goes to B, 14 goes to C and 38 goes to A.

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Is Small-Scale Farming the Answer with Close to One Billion People Malnourished and Food Prices Rising?

David Suzuki, David Suzuki Foundation (Huffington Post) – We often assume the only way to feed the world’s rapidly growing human population is with large-scale industrial agriculture. There is also the argument that genetically altering food crops is also necessary to produce large enough quantities on smaller areas to feed the world’s people. Close to one billion people are malnourished and many more are finding it difficult to feed their families as food prices increase. But is large-scale industrial farming the answer?

Large-scale agriculture uses a lot of water, contributes to soil erosion and degradation, and causes oxygen-starved ocean “dead zones” as nitrogen-rich wastes wash into creeks and rivers and flow into the oceans. Agriculture also affects the variety of plant and animal species in the world. Yet despite the incredible expansion of industrial farming practices, the number of hungry people continues to grow.

Author and organic farmer Eliot Coleman points out in an article for, in the 19th century when farming was shifting from small scale to large, some agriculturists argued “that the thinking behind industrial agriculture was based upon the mistaken premise that nature is inadequate and needs to be replaced with human systems. They contended that by virtue of that mistake, industrial agriculture has to continually devise new crutches to solve the problems it creates (increasing the quantities of chemicals, stronger pesticides, fungicides, miticides, nematicides, soil sterilization, etc.).”

Volumes of research clearly show that small-scale farming, especially using “organic” methods, is much better in terms of environmental and biodiversity impact. But is it a practical way to feed seven billion people? Michael Jahi Chappell and Liliana Lavalle published in the journal Agriculture and Human Values, point to research showing “that small farms using alternative agricultural techniques may be two to four times more energy efficient than large conventional farms.” They also found studies demonstrating “that small farms almost always produce higher output levels per unit area than larger farms.” Another study looked at concluded that “alternative methods could produce enough food on a global basis to sustain the current human population, and potentially an even larger population, without increasing the agricultural land base.”

The global food shortage is a myth. The fact that we live in a world where hunger and obesity are both epidemic shows that the problem is more one of equity and distribution than shortage. With globalized food markets and large-scale farming, those with the most money get the most food.

Written with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation editorial and communications specialist Ian Hanington

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New Canadian Plastic Banknotes Almost Impossible to Fake and Now Recyclable Instead of Destroyed

Jeremy Torobin, The Globe and Mail — Just think, cleaner, synthetic banknotes that will stand more wear, will not tear, and will be recycled into other products instead of destroyed when their usefulness has been expended. Starting in November, the polymer-based $100 bill will be introduced into circulation, the $50 bill next March, and then in late 2012, the central bank will roll out the new $20 bill.

Despite the growing impression that we’ve become a cashless society, Ottawa says half of all financial transactions in Canada still involve cash, which means faith in banknotes’ authenticity still makes the economy go round. According to the Bank of Canada, the $20 bill has almost exclusive presence in bank machines and represents more than half of all notes in circulation. But with this new money format, the hope is to quash the sense that it’s harder to use bigger bills.

A Bank of Canada background paper on the new money reports that in some regions in 2002, almost one in ten Canadian retailers displayed a sign indicating that they did not accept $100 bills, counterfeits of which had triggered the problem in 2001. Confidence in banknotes, once lost, is not easily regained; although 99 percent of retailers now accept $100 notes, the perception persists that these notes are ‘difficult to spend.’ So, will the new notes mean an end to the days of standing at a checkout mortified as the cashier holds your $50 or $100 note to the light to see if you’re a deadbeat in disguise? Maybe. Unless, of course, the real reason many retailers prefer smaller bills is to deter against armed robbers, not counterfeiters.

Beefed-up security features on the current cotton-paper notes, and an aggressive campaign to train retailers to spot imposters, have helped bring the number of counterfeit bills found each year to 35 per one million in circulation compared to the rash of fraud between 2001 and 2004 when that number peaked at 470 per million bills. But even 35 per million, which translates into a small fraction of one percent of the value of all bills in circulation, is higher than the share found each year in Australia, where polymer-based currency was first introduced in 1988.

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Get to Know . . . Paul Elam’s A Voice for Men

The information about Paul Elam and his MRA work to bring justice to men and equality to current laws has been reposted from his website A Voice for Men

Paul’s A Voice for Men website is a product of two years of writing, a half century of living, along with over twenty years as an observer and activist in the strange realm of socio-sexual politics. As a bad match for the military and uninterested in manual labor he settled on psychology and chose a career of trying to talk crack heads and alcoholics into staying out of bars and crack houses for the better part of twenty years. Somewhere along the way, about the time gender feminists brought their “feminist therapy” theories to the community of practitioners, things took a most bizarre turn for the worse in a treatment industry that already struggled with efficacy and recidivism. “Simply put, we stopped really treating addiction and started practicing sexual politics with our clients. We segregated them by sex, more accurately we built walls around female clients, and started teaching them that all their problems, in one way or another, stemmed from men.”

“Eventually I left, watching what was left of professional treatment go down in flames like Rome. So, to let you know, I did not get into this type of writing because I hate women, because of a bad divorce or a bad mother; and not because I want to return to any imagined days when women stayed in the kitchen and men ran the world. I do what I do for the same reasons that I chose to work with people who were headed for jails, destruction and death . . . because something needs to be done.”

Going to War

. . . the Men’s Rights Movement (MRM) has moved into a new phase. Specifically, the mainstream opponents of male human rights are no longer able to pretend we don’t exist, and have begun to attack. Troublesome as this can be at a personal level, it signals the growing success and effectiveness of the MRM. However, as good as that development is, it requires adoption of a few new tactics by individual men.

This is a war waged against human rights, and those of us who identify as MRAs are a tiny minority fighting an established mainstream. The past and present attempts to personally smear and destroy individual men seen so far are just the beginning of a fight that we should expect to get ugly. While we must and do continue to adhere to strictly truthful rhetoric and ethical tactics, our opponents don’t, and we should not expect them to. There’s money to be made is denigrating masculinity, and we directly threaten the income of war profiteers . . .

Manuel Dexter, MRA, A Voice for Men


A summary of issues fueling the need for an active Men’s Rights Movement

The issues named here are discussed at length in other locations. In this section, they are provided as a list, consolidated into one place to illustrate the scope of the problem.

Neal Hansen, MRA, A Voice for Men

False Rape Accusations

Men are routinely jailed based on completely false criminal accusation of rape or child abuse. Police, Lawyers, and Judges are complicit in this abuse of the law.

Example: A Corrupt District attorney in Maine prosecuting false rape against Vladek Filler;

Women who accuse men of rape are protected by legal anonymity. Men so accused are named and destroyed prior to any legal evidential inquiry. Anything that is subsidized will increase. Rape accusations are no different in this respect.

A man accused of rape is destroyed from the start. He is dragged, defenseless, through the tar-and-feather machine of the media, ritually named and shamed, severed from family and colleagues, barred from employment, publicly demonized before any legal or evidential inquiry is begun.

Rape shield laws protect the accuser, both from scrutiny and condemnation for the increasingly common false accusation, and the standardized lack of legal consequences stand as an open invitation to accuse any man at any time with impunity.

Women caught in making false rape accusations are tut-tutted, and police will make formulaic statements about “waste of police resources”, but never mention the lives destroyed by those accusations – even after they’re proved false.

Male Gender Witch-Hunting, or Male Sex Witch-Hunting

This is prominent element of college and university life across North America. Events such as rape and domestic violence candle light vigils, and walk events about violence against women are little more than rape and domestic violence witch-hunts which occur in open defiance of legitimate statistics and data on the issues being hyped. Also, male bashing events such as Vagina Monologues and Take Back the night are built on the foundation of male-hate, but have the hypocritical approval of the educational system and Politically Correct thought police.

Vigilante Justice

Metropolitan police departments have been documented publicly endorsing and funding civilian mob violence against men based on unverified accusations.

Blacklists and Slander

Whispering campaigns of slander, criminal libel and criminal accusation are being pursued against individuals who speak up. Erin Pizzey, founder of the women’s shelter movement in England was ousted from her own movement by ideological radical feminists using this tactic.

Organized campaigns to blacklist men and organizations who refuse to comply with misandric lies, with the intent to bar them from gainful employment or from funding are underway now.

Murder Excused on the grounds of Being Female

Criminal courts now routinely manufacture excuses for female murderers when the victims are men. Effectively, this is the implicit legalization of murder when the killer is female and the victim male.

The National Post has removed this article from their site, however, a copy was uploaded to AVFM – and can be seen here

Human Factor Comment: The anger and frustration is palpable from the men who gather on this site, as well as from the women supporters. After reading many of the articles written by members and listening to one of the site’s many radio programs, it’s clear that there is an inequality between men and women caused by a kind of feminist blanket effect that suggests all men are rapists, killers, pedophiles, unfit to be anything more than muscle, protectors, and cash machines to women. News reports are mounting at an alarming rate of false imprisonment for false claims of domestic violence and rape; father’s living in poverty while struggling to pay child support for children they can’t see or jailed because they simply can’t pay; women not enforced to pay child support or do jail time for non-payment when they leave the family.

Visit A Voice for Men to find out more about these critical human inequality issues, the men’s rights movement, and what’s needed to change current laws, provide services, and recourse for men and boys falsely accused or abused.

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Proposition 8 Declared Unconstitutional But Under Appeal

Julian Bond, USA Today, has written an excellent article comparing the significance of the Loving v. Virginia case (June 1967), where the Supreme Court decision struck down anti-miscegenation laws that ended all race-based legal restriction on interracial marriages in the United States, to the current Proposition 8 which declares a marriage is valid only when between a man and a woman. In the same sense that anti-miscegenation laws denied people basic human rights, Proposition 8 continues to label gay and lesbian couples as second class. It denies same-sex couples the fundamental rights afforded their fellow citizens: the freedom to marry.

The Loving decision was a landmark moment in civil rights when a unanimous court held that marriage is “one of the basic civil rights of man . . . fundamental to our very existence and survival.” The court also held that “under our constitution the freedom to marry, or not to marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State.” Mr. Bond and his second wife married in Virginia. Had they married before the Loving decision, they could have been sentenced to time in prison for inter-marrying. Had the parents of President Obama lived in Virginia prior to the Loving decision, they would have been committing a felony.

Bond has spent his life fighting to make society more just for all Americans and is a supporter of marriage equality. He believes this to be a fight for civil rights because ‘we do not create separate classes of Americans based upon inherent characteristics. Sexual orientation is immutable and unchangeable. It is as much a part of our DNA as our race.’ On the 40th anniversary of the Loving v. Virginia decision, Mildred Loving reflected on the impact of her case. “I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight, seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all.”

Last summer, after a lengthy trial, a federal court declared Proposition 8 to be unconstitutional, saying this discriminatory law does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution “the notion that opposite-sex couples are superior to same-sex couples.” Almost a year later, the case is on appeal, Proposition 8 still remains on the books, and a motion to throw out the case on blatantly homophobic grounds will be heard in federal district court. Proposition 8 must not stand.

Julian Bond is on the advisory board for the American Foundation for Equal Rights, chairman emeritus of the NAACP, professor of history at the University of Virginia and a scholar in residence at American University.

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Renowned Cartoonist Chester Brown Chronicles His Experiences in the Sex Industry as a ‘Typical John’

Mark Medley, National Post – One of the world’s foremost cartoonists, 50-year-old Chester Brown candidly chronicles his experiences in the Toronto sex industry in a painfully honest new graphic memoir, Paying For It. The format is a return to the autobiographical musings that established Brown’s career and seems the perfect companion piece to The Playboy, which came out in 1992. In that book a young Brown grappled both emotionally and physically with his love of Hugh Hefner’s titillating magazine and dealing with issues of shame. In his new book, Paying For It, Brown is open and somewhat proud about his relationship with sex workers. The Playboy “kind of freed me up to be able to talk about that side of myself. To be open, not to be ashamed, about admitting to watching pornography or talking about my sex life,” he says.

This all comes about when Brown and his long-time girlfriend broke up in the summer of 1996. In the months that followed, Brown began to question the necessity of “romantic love” and the arguments, jealousy, and effort that usually accompanies such relationships. After a prolonged period of celibacy, Brown decided to visit a prostitute. After leaving the brothel, Brown writes that he felt “exhilarated and transformed” and that “a burden that I had been carrying since adolescence had disappeared.” That burden has never come back. “I just kind of felt like I’d been freed or something,” says Brown. “All these people walking around with their concerns about romantic love, and how do I find love, and how is my relationship going, and all that kind of stuff. And suddenly, I felt like I wasn’t involved in that world or that way of thinking anymore.”

Paying For It documents all his visits with prostitutes over the course of five years. And by the end of his odyssey, he’d learned that it’s not just prostitutes who are stereotyped, but johns as well. Brown says one of the motivations to write this book was to explain things from a john’s point of view, and sees himself as just “a typical john.” One of the most interesting moments in the book occurs when he recounts his visit to friends and fellow cartoonists Seth and Joe Matt, who is blunt in his judgment: “You cheated.” But Brown rejects the idea that sex is something one works for, almost like a reward.

“One of the things a man is supposed to do is he’s supposed to be able to get sex easily,” he says. “The more easy you can do it (convince women to go to bed with you) the more manly you’re seen as being. So if you don’t use your personality or your wit or your whatever to get women, if you’re just paying for it, you’re seen as cheating somehow. Brown didn’t care about “cheating” anymore. He’d had girlfriends in the past, and knew he could get another girlfriend if he wanted. It’s that he didn’t want to. “I just found myself not wanting that type of relationship anymore. It wasn’t a matter of not wanting to make the effort. It was I didn’t like being a boyfriend. I didn’t like how I felt when I was a boyfriend. So that left me with fewer options. If I wanted to have sex, it was going to have to be a different way.”

The book does end with a twist: Brown falls in love with a prostitute, who’s no longer in the business. They’ve been together for eight years and Brown still sees her every two weeks where money changes hands, but each has feelings for the other. So does that mean he’s changed his stance on romantic love? “In our culture we’re always having this discussion about what romantic love is. So I guess I leave it open for that reason. I don’t think anyone’s really sure what we mean by romantic love or love in general. We know it when we feel it.”

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San Francisco Measure, Religion, and Human Rights ‘Intactivists’ Battle Over the Possible Ban on Circumcision

Valerie Richardson, The Washington Times – A measure to ban circumcision in San Francisco won a place on the November 8th city ballot after advocates gathered the necessary 7,143 signatures that would outlaw circumcisions on males younger than 18, except in cases of medical necessity, within city limits. No religious exemptions would be permitted, even though circumcision is a traditional rite of the Jewish and Muslim faiths. Anyone convicted of performing circumcisions could be sentenced to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

‘Intactivists’ equate infant male circumcision to female genital mutilation, which, despite its prevalence in some cultures, has been illegal in the United States since 1996. Their answer to religious objectors is for boys to wait until they’re 18 and can chose for themselves. Lloyd Schofield, the measure’s proponent in San Francisco, strongly advocates that religion doesn’t justify subjecting infants to “this harmful, painful and irreversible procedure.” Studies show that circumcision is on the decline in the West. Analysts say that about 30 percent of European men are circumcised, while rates of circumcision in the United States have dropped from 80 percent to less than 50 percent.

“I can guarantee you a person who receives cutting on his genitals as an infant is not getting any religious uplifting from the event,” said Schofield. “When you do it when you’re older, you’re making a choice and it’s meaningful to you. We want to stop this and put choice back in the hands of men.” Matthew Hess, author of the proposal’s language, feels a bill like this will pass because it’s in San Francisco. “The heartbeat of the movement is in San Francisco. San Francisco has always been a beacon of progressive thought.” Hess also contributes with a controversial comic book, ‘Foreskin Man,’ which depicts a muscled blond superhero fighting ‘Monster Mohel,’ an evil-looking Jewish circumciser that has Jewish organizations appalled at the publication. Hess says, “My position is that I fail to see how a superhero trying to save a Jewish boy from circumcision is anti-Semitic. It’s not anti-Jewish, it’s anti-Jewish circumcision.”

Jewish groups have joined with legal professionals, doctors, and elected officials in opposing the measure through the recently formed Committee for Parental Choice and Religious Freedom. “We’re opposing the ban on the grounds of religious freedom,” said Nancy Appel, Anti-Defamation League associate regional director. “San Francisco has a reputation for crazy things happening here, but we are concerned that this may embolden others.” Joel Paul, professor at the University of California Hastings College of the Law, says the proposal could face a legal challenge on First Amendment grounds, given that it denies Jews and Muslims their right to free exercise of their religious beliefs. Even placing the issue on the ballot violates the Constitution’s establishment clause, regardless of the election’s outcome.

In spite of the hurdles, Schofield says, “It’s up to us to reach out and let people know that this is not a joke. It’s a real human rights issue.”

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High Dollar Helps Canadian Manufacturers See the Perks of Cheaper Foreign Assets

Barrie McKenna, The Globe and Mail, writes that the dollar’s ascent in the past decade has been a major force in reshaping Canadian manufacturing. That success means shifting what was traditionally done in Canada to somewhere else because foreign assets are temptingly cheaper and a strong dollar is providing that compelling business incentive to locate manufacturing closer to customers such as the United States, Europe, or in super low-cost developing countries in Asia and Latin America.

McKenna introduces Gerry Price, a proud Canadian and the head of E.H. Price, a company that has been making ventilation equipment for commercial buildings in Winnipeg since 1946. But remove the emotional involvement, and Mr. Price can’t think of a good reason to build anything in Canada. E.H. Price started its U.S. venture tentatively in 1989 with one plant in a suburb of Atlanta, GA. Since the loonie began its run to par in 2003 the company expanded to five plants from two, and more than doubled its U.S. work force to nearly 1,000, as one production line after another moved south. Nearly half of its $300 million in sales are in the U.S., up from 1 percent in 1989.

Likewise, a growing number of Canadian manufacturers are steadily shifting production outside the country to plants in places like Georgia and Arizona. The southern U.S. is closer to main markets, and virtually everything is cheaper, including wages that are half what they are in Canada. These Canadian manufacturers keep head office functions at home, along with the engineering, branding, research and development, and the most specialized of fabrication. For companies already operating outside Canada, a dollar at parity creates a huge incentive to invest there. Jayson Myers, president of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters trade association, sees it happening with alarming frequency. “Companies are investing, but they’re investing outside Canada.”

This trend is reflected in Canada’s stock of direct investment abroad which nearly doubled from 2000 to 2008, rising to $640 billion from $360 billion. However, a recent study for the Institute for Research on Public Policy thinks this is not necessarily a bad news story and that the surge in foreign direct investment abroad has “brought benefits to the domestic economy” and states “direct investment abroad serves as a beachhead for market access, stimulating domestically produced exports and high value-added head office activities.” Locating production outside Canada is a natural form of currency hedging and can lower manufacturers’ costs, boost foreign sales, and ultimately make them more productive, said Stephen Poloz, president and chief executive of Export Development Canada.

E.H. Price hasn’t abandoned Winnipeg but found a role for its Canadian operations, which now employs 800 employees, up from 500 eight years ago. While the company has moved production of high-volume “commodity” products to the U.S., Winnipeg, in turn, is the hub for research and development, patenting, and software development, as well as production of key niche, custom and low-volume products. The company’s success rests on a significant investment in innovation, developing new products, tools, and manufacturing processes for its plants in both countries.

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Are There Good Reasons to End the War on Drugs?

Debra J. Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle, provides an interesting overview on the government’s long grinding drug war that is generally credited as starting under the presidency of Richard Nixon when he told Congress in June of 1971, “If we cannot destroy the drug menace in American, then it will surely destroy us.” But while Nixon talked tough about going after drug traffickers, he emphasized that rehabilitation would be a priority and dedicated $105 million of the $155 new antidrug funding “solely for the treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicted individuals.”

So here we are, 40 years later, and drug use is up with 118 million Americans having used illegal drugs, and the cost of prosecuting the drug war and offenders continues to mount. “The war you plan is not necessarily the war you end up fighting,” noted Eric Sterling, president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, who also helped write the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act which featured draconian federal mandatory minimum sentences.

White House statistics show drug abuse was responsible for the death of 38,371 Americans in 2007. In 2009, 10.5 million Americans reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs. If prohibition didn’t work for alcohol why does the government think it will work for drugs? Daniel Okrent, author of ‘Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition,’ wrote, “In almost every respect imaginable, Prohibition was a failure. It encouraged criminality and institutionalized hypocrisy. It deprived the government of revenue, stripped the gears of the political system, and proposed profound limitations on individual rights.”

1. Encouraged criminality: in 2009 the Dept. of Justice reported that mid-level and retail drug distribution in the U.S. was dominated by more than 900,000 criminally active gang members, representing more than 20,000 U.S. gangs.

2. Institutional hypocrisy: President Obama has admitted to using illegal drugs, President George W. Bush sidestepped admitting anything, and President Clinton said he didn’t inhale.

3. Deprived revenue: in 2008 Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron estimated that legalizing drugs could save federal, state, and local governments $44 billion per year, while taxing drugs could yield an added $33 billion.

4. Limiting individual rights: Neill Franklin, former Baltimore narcotics copy and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition said, “President Obama needs to think about where he would be right now had he been caught with drugs as a young black man. It’s probably not in the Oval Office, so why does he insist on ramping up a drug war that needlessly churns other young black men through the criminal justice system?”

The drug war has already begun to wind down on the state level. In 2000 Californians passed Proposition 36 which mandates probation and treatment for those charged with drug possession. And last year Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law that made possession of small amounts of marijuana an infraction; 13 other states have similar laws.

So is there a war on drugs or not?

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Removing a Tattoo Can Feel Like an Elastic Band Continually Snapping Over a Bad Sunburn

Chris Zdeb, The Edmonton Journal, takes readers into the world of Ben Alway, a 41 year-old certified laser technician and owner of Second Skin Tattoo Removal Studio in Edmonton. He specializes in the removal and fading of tattoos within feet of people being inked at Urge 2 Tattoo Studio. “I’m not anti-tattoo,” says Alway, who is himself heavily tattooed. “My motivation is the same as a good tattoo artist’s: I want people to be happy and excited about their body art. If they have a tattoo they’re not happy with, that’s when a laser can really help out.” And the tool in question is his $100,000 laser machine.

Not everyone with ‘tattoo regret’ wishes they had never got one. About half the clients he sees really like tattoos. But what they thought was cool at 19 may not be cool now that they’re a parent with two kids. Alway admits he doesn’t “see a lot of good tattoos” in his studio. There is no exact number describing the percentage of people with ‘tattoo regret’ who want or have had their tattoos removed or faded, but Alway sees four to five clients a day and is one of several people in the city removing tattoos, including several dermatologists.

Almost half the people under age 45 have a tattoo these days, so there’s no use telling someone not to get inked, says Edmonton dermatologist Dr. Gordon Searles, vice-president of the Canadian Dermatology Association. “What we can say is if you’re going to get a tattoo, or have one removed, make sure the person doing it knows how to do it safely and knows how to do it properly. Make sure they’re using sterile materials and they practice sterile technique so you don’t contract HIV, or hepatitis C, or hepatitis B from contaminated needles.” After you get a tattoo or have one removed, you have an open wound that has to heal, “so there is always a risk of secondary infection, so you need to use proper dressings and protect the area.” Plus be aware that some people can develop an allergic reaction to chemicals in the inks.

The removal process is more painful and about 10 times more expensive than getting a tattoo. Alway compares the pain to continually snapping an elastic band over a bad sunburn. After cleaning the skin, he numbs it with a stream of cold air for about five minutes before and while he runs the laser over the tattoo. The brightness of the laser requires everyone in the room to wear yellow-shaded safety glasses. Different wavelengths of the laser target different shades of ink under the skin, heating it up and breaking it apart into droplets that are absorbed over time by the body and the sun. There’s a snapping sound with each firing of the laser and a slight smell of skin burning. People can be left with permanent scarring but the risks of that depend on the tattoo and the skill and training of the laser operator.

On average a session lasts between five and 10 minutes. So depending on the size and amount of inking, removal or fading of a tattoo could take hundreds of laser shots. Cost of removing a tattoo depends on the tattoo itself and how many treatments are required. The older a tattoo is, the easier it is to remove because it has already faded with time and sun exposure. The color black is the easiest to remove, whereas blues and greens are the most difficult. And Alway finds that tattoos done by amateurs are less of a challenge than those professionally inked.

Jenn Desan, one of Alway’s clients who had a tattoo removed and has three more tattoos she would eventually liked removed, advises those thinking about getting a tattoo to really THINK about it. “Nothing against tattoos, but choose something that has meaning to you, that you’re not going to get sick of.”

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