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Holy smoke! The church of cannabis

As congregations dwindle, a new religion is lighting up Denver, Colorado. Aaron Millar joins the elevationists of the International Church of Cannabis who worship the weed It started, naturally, with a group of friends smoking a joint. Steve Berke, a graduate of Yale University, was temporarily living in an old church in Denver, Colorado. His estate agent parents had bought the 113-year-old building with the plan to turn it into flats. He and Lee Molloy, as well as a few friends, had just moved from Miami to capitalise on Colorados…

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why do men suffer depression in silence?

When Kevin Braddock hit rockbottom, he had every intention of killing himself. He recounts what happened next and reveals why so few men ask for help It was a Monday when TV Tower: the gun, the noose, the blade, the pills, the bottle. The gun, the noose the mantra that would not stop. Since the only thing to hand was the nearby sptkauf (off-licence), Id resolved to drink my way to unreality. Id told the doctor my history of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, drink, drugs, meds, love and fear, my…

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Are smartphones really making our children sad?

US psychologist Jean Twenge, who has claimed that social media is having a malign affect on the young, answers critics who accuse her of crying wolf Last week, the childrens commissioner, Anne Longfield, responded to the campaign. The assumption that time online or in front of a screen is life wasted needs challenging. It is driven by fear, he said. The best thing we can do is to focus less on the time they spend on screens at home and more on the nature of the activity. This exchange is…

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Why we fell for clean eating

The long read: The oh-so-Instagrammable food movement has been thoroughly debunked but it shows no signs of going away. The real question is why we were so desperate to believe it In the spring of 2014, Jordan Younger noticed that her hair was falling out in clumps. Not cool was her reaction. At the time, Younger, 23, believed herself to be eating the healthiest of all possible diets. She was a gluten-free, sugar-free, oil-free, grain-free, legume-free, plant-based raw vegan. As The Blonde Vegan, Younger was a wellness blogger in New…

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HRT and vaginal moisturisers? Here’s what really helps menopausal women

Products claiming to fix the menopause are now a multibillion-dollar global industry. We asked the experts for their advice on what works and what doesnt Even though 80% of women going through the menopause will get symptoms, such as hot flushes and night sweats (and in 25% of cases they will be severe enough to affect quality of life), few are confident talking about it. A Kathy Abernethy, chair of the British Menopause Society, says: Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is absolutely the best treatment for hot flushes and sweats that…

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100 best nonfiction books: No 79 The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano by Olaudah Equiano (1789)

The most famous slave memoir of the 18th century is a powerful and terrifying read and established Equiano as a founding figure in black literary tradition Black literature begins with the slave memoirs of the 18th century. Equianos Interesting Narrative is the most famous of these, especially once it was taken up by supporters of the abolition movement, but he was not the first African slave to publish a book in England, or, if we remember Dr Johnsons manservant, Mary Prince in 1831 (The History of Mary Prince, a West…

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How Facebook groups bring people closer together neo-Nazis included

Mark Zuckerbergs new mission is to bring the world closer together. But Facebook groups can unite extremists as easily as they serve hobbyists Ricky Caya was looking for something. A 43-year-old postal service worker and father of two in Quebec, he felt unsettled and unconnected. The great social movements of the 1960s, the American civil rights movement, flower power, the big trade union movements people today dont have that, he said. So when a Facebook post crossed his news feed promoting a new organization that sought to bring together good…

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‘The worst it’s been’: children continue to swim as raw sewage floods Gaza beach

For most of the 2 million people in this overcrowded strip of land largely cut off from the outside world the beach and sea are the only affordable form of recreation. The only option now is to swim and even fish in filthy water It is high summer on Gaza Citys beach. A horse and cart patrols the shore selling brightly coloured swimming rings. A small boat is giving joy rides out to sea. Families sit on chairs while a few children play in the water. Normally, in the midst…

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How to conquer our obsession with eternal life | Matt Haig

Our anti-ageing quest only increases anxiety, says Matt Haig. Instead, we need to understand the tricks of time As a culture, we are obsessed with ageing. We have always been obsessed but now, paradoxically, in an era where we live longer than ever, we fear it more than ever before too. There is, of course, a whole industry devoted to capitalising on our fears of the natural ageing process and its a lucrative one. In fact, the anti-ageing industry, which is the largest part of the beauty industry, is now…

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Is the world really better than ever?

The long read: The headlines have never been worse. But an increasingly influential group of thinkers insists that humankind has never had it so good and only our pessimism is holding us back By the end of last year, anyone who had been paying even passing attention to the news headlines was highly likely to conclude that everything was terrible, and that the only attitude that made sense was one of profound pessimism tempered, perhaps, by cynical humour, on the principle that if the world is going to hell in…

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Rule that patients must finish antibiotics course is wrong, study says

Experts suggest patients should stop taking the drugs when they feel better rather than completing their prescription Telling patients to stop taking antibiotics when they feel better may be preferable to instructing them to finish the course, according to a group of experts who argue that the rule long embedded in the minds of doctors and the public is wrong and should be overturned. Patients have traditionally been told that they must complete courses of antibiotics, the theory being that taking too few tablets will allow the bacteria causing their…

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I told a lie to claim benefits. Now I am an MP and I want to talk about why | Metiria Turei

I decided to reveal a deception I undertook as a struggling single mother because I am outraged at how society treats the poor Last weekend I revealed a lie, a lie that I decided to talk about because of the situation we as a society find ourselves in. I am the co-leader of the Green party of Aotearoa New Zealand the third biggest political party in our small democracy. We are two months from growing up in poverty. How the welfare system set up to help people actually keeps them…

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Journalist under fire for calling it ‘crazy’ not to be disgusted by homeless people

Prominent Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum says critics deliberately misreading his response to study on peoples reaction to seeing homelessness A high-profile Mother Jones writer has suggested that it would be crazy not to have a reflexive disgust of homeless people, stirring the anger of those who say he is perpetuating the worst kinds of stereotypes. outside in america He seemed to just be endorsing the worst stereotypes without any nuance or without any humanization of these people, said Scott Clifford, one of the authors and an assistant professor of…

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How the middle class hoards wealth and opportunity for itself

American society is dominated by an elite 20% that ruthlessly protects its own interests When I was growing up, my mother would sometimes threaten my brother and me with electrocution. Well, thats not quite right. In fact, the threat was of lessons in elocution, but we wittily, we thought renamed them. Growing up in a very ordinary town just north of London and attending a very ordinary high school, one of our several linguistic atrocities was failing to pronounce the t in certain words. My mother, who was raised in…

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