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Posted by: | Posted on: April 20, 2021

The past seven days in bakery

first_imgLast week was another busy one in the world of bakery – so here’s a round-up of the most read British Baker stories in case you missed them.There is, it seems, never a quiet moment in bakery. Last week saw IBA take place in Munich and a number of new launches from link-ups with Paul Hollywood to the onset of a new coffee chain.Here are our top five stories of the last seven days:1. Real Bread comes out fighting The campaign has called for a legal definition of sourdough:  http://tinyurl.com/n9ve4vp2. Wiltshire baker takes the National Cupcake crownMrs B’s Cakes was the star of the show at the National Cupcake Championships: http://tinyurl.com/oqahur33. The Canadians are comingSecond Cup Coffee Company, the Canadian chain, is planning to open 500 UK sites in the next 10 years: http://tinyurl.com/pfhabcf4. Paul Hollywood does breadThe Great British Bake Off judge launches a new range of premium ready-to-bake rolls: http://tinyurl.com/nkl5dpu5. Tartisan launches in Nottingham, thinks bigTartisan, the recently opened bakery in Nottingham, has revealed plans to grow nationally and abroad in the next five years: http://tinyurl.com/pnx5hbolast_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: March 2, 2021

Ween Delivers Johnny Cash Cover And A Slew Of Bustouts In Boston Tour Closer [Photos/Audio]

first_imgPhoto: Dave DeCrescente On Sunday, Ween wrapped up their spring run–the most extensive since their reunion last summer–with a performance at Boston, MA’s Blue Hills Bank Pavillion. As they did throughout the tour, the band worked in several tour debuts throughout their main set (“Up On The Hill,” “I’m In The Mood To Move,” “Awesome Sound,” “I’ll Miss You,” “Put The Coke On My Dick,” “The Enabler,” “Fluffy” and “Sweet Texas Fire”).Ween Paints The Borough Brown In Brooklyn Steel Debut [Review/Photos]After a 26-song set, the band returned for the encore with Dean Ween (aka Mickey Melchiondo) wielding a blue acoustic guitar rather than his signature red Stratocaster. The encore began with “Homo Rainbow,” which was followed by the evening’s biggest bust-out: a rendition of “There’s A Pig” featuring both Deaner and Gener (Aaron Greeman) on vocals, after a gap of 375 shows. Next the band debuted a cover of Johnny Cash‘s “Sunday Morning Coming Down” to the delight of the crowd, which was followed by “I’m Holding You” (the first in 412 shows), “Sorry Charlie,” and “You Were The Fool,” after which Deaner smashed his “new” blue acoustic guitar to bits in true rock and roll style (and, apparently, threw what was left of the instrument to a fan in the crowd according to this post in a Ween fan group):SETLIST: Ween | Blue Hills Bank Pavilion | Boston, MA | 6/11/17Set: Fiesta, Nan, Transdermal Celebration, Boy’s Club, Gabrielle, Up on the Hill, I’m in the Mood to Move, Learnin’ to Love, Ice Castles> The Golden Eel, Cover It With Gas and Set It on Fire, Back to Basom, Awesome Sound, I’ll Miss You, Mutilated Lips, Doctor Rock, Put the Coke on My Dick, The Enabler, Springtheme, Monique the Freak, Fluffy, The HIV Song, Mister Richard Smoker, Sweet Texas Fire, The Stallion pt 1, Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down)Encore: Homo Rainbow, There’s a Pig, Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down, I’m Holding You, Sorry Charlie, You Were the FoolNotes: – soundcheck: Pork Roll Egg and Cheese, Light Me Up– false start on Nan– Gener solo for I’ll Miss You– Deaner on vocals for Sunday Mornin’– Deaner played a blue acoustic guitar for the entire encore, and then thoroughly smashed it to tiny bits over his ampYou can listen to the full show below, courtesy of taper tgakidis on archive.org:Enjoy the gallery from Sunday night’s Ween show below by photographer Dave DeCrescente.Next up for Ween is a performance at High Sierra Music Festival in Quincy, CA on June 29th. For a full list of dates on the books for Ween, head to the band’s website.Ween | Blue Hills Bank Pavilion | Boston, MA | 6/11/17 Load remaining imageslast_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: March 1, 2021

Where ideas trump devices

first_imgShoulder to shoulder in the Northwest Labs, students gathered around laptops — 200 at a time — at the CS50 Fair. An annual fixture at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), the fair is an opportunity for students taking the introductory computer science course to show off their final projects to the wider community. It also provides an opportunity for others to see what programming is all about.For Emilie R. Wong ’17, studying literature at Harvard Extension School, computer science offers a way to visualize and play music, using Google Glass. For William Anthony Greenlaw ’17, it’s a tool to attract new recruits to the ballroom dance team. For Gabriel Amador ’16, studying organismic and evolutionary biology, it helps to modernize a long-running study of the plant life in Harvard Yard.Interest in computer science has been growing every year. With more than 800 students enrolled this fall, CS50 became the largest course at Harvard College. Excitement about the field further increased in November, when the University announced plans to increase the size of the computer science faculty at SEAS by 50 percent, with support from former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer ’77.And David J. Malan, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science, is sending teaching fellow Jason Hirschhorn ’15 to help set up a collaborative version of CS50 at Yale University, where Harvard lectures will be live-streamed next fall.Standing amid row upon row of long tables strewn with laptops, raffle tickets, helium balloons, and CS50 stress balls during the Dec. 8 fair, Malan noted, “It should be an exciting experiment to try to execute a CS50 Fair not only in Cambridge but in New Haven next year as well.”Students in CS50 have almost free rein to select final projects that appeal to their curiosity, although they are asked to “strive to create something that outlives this course.”“All that we ask,” the syllabus says, “is that you build something of interest to you, that you solve an actual problem, that you impact campus, or that you change the world.”David Malan, Gordon McKay Professor of the Practice of Computer Science, said a higher percentage of students in CS50 this fall came into the course with no coding experience at all. Eliza Grinnell/Harvard SEASPutting names to faces“I was always the kid at the museum who wanted to get the audio guide and listen to every entry,” said Jacob Rienstra ’17. A sophomore studying computer science, Rienstra has spent the last 18 months wondering about the old portraits that hang in halls across the campus, from Annenberg Hall to Lowell House. Noting that many have no name plaque to identify them, he said, “Harvard has a very long history … and a lot of people have shaped Harvard. Some of them are immortalized in portraits, but they’re not really immortalized because no one knows who they are.”Knowing that a face on the wall belonged to a former House master would be a good start, Rienstra says, but rich historical details would be better. “Increase Mather,” he said, for example, “was involved in the Salem witch trials. One of his close friends was one of the judges at the trials, and he urged a more rational approach.” Knowing the stories behind the faces on the wall would bring history to life and could spark conversations over meals in the dining hall.Rienstra’s CS50 project catalogs all of the portraits in Lowell House and makes historical information about each one available through a searchable website that draws on a database. He hopes to expand the project campus-wide, adding a feature that suggests nearby portraits based on a user’s location.In homage to a sketch by the student comedy group On Harvard Time (Rienstra is a member), the portrait project is titled “Old White Dudes of Harvard.”“That’s poking fun at the fact that there are a lot of white dudes in our history — and the ones who aren’t are usually pretty awesome people — but to open up a conversation about that,” Rienstra says. “It allows us to discuss where we have come from and where we have to continue to go.”Language, simplifiedJennifer Hu ’18 studied German, Latin, and Greek in high school, “and I know Chinese,” she added casually. So when Problem Set 5 asked her to write a fast spell-checking program, she recognized quickly that part of the challenge arose from the difficulty of spotting irregularities in a highly irregular language.German, she knew, capitalizes the first letter of all nouns, so a computer presented with a capitalized word in the middle of a sentence could save time by comparing it to a list of only nouns, instead of searching the entire language for a match. She wondered: Could there be a computationally “perfect” language that eliminates ambiguity and facilitates fast processing?With her friend and classmate Kevin Loughlin ’18 — the two met at Visitas last April — Hu decided to find out.For their final CS50 project, the pair wrote a program that reconstructed and optimized the English language. The structure of every word in their new language system incorporates cues about the part of speech and where a word begins and ends. There are no homonyms or homophones. Adjectives and adverbs always follow the word they modify.The result is a language thoroughly lacking in nuance, and that’s the point. When speed and precision matter, it doesn’t mince words.“No one wants to take the time to learn something completely new that’s useless,” Loughlin admitted. “The reason to learn our language would be that you can easily communicate with artificial intelligence.”Most of the project work went into identifying constraints and designing the language carefully, Loughlin said. “They tell you all the time in computer science that CS is not about coding, and this is the first project where a huge part of our thought had to go — before we wrote a single line of code — into, ‘What do we want to accomplish with this task, and why do we want to do it in this way?’”To demonstrate the benefits of the new language, Hu and Loughlin also ran experiments and statistical analysis on its performance. They found that their language could be spell-checked faster than English, even when their words were longer, on average, than English words, and regardless of the location of a misspelled character.“Already, the fact that with spell-check we’ve achieved some significant results bodes well for us in terms of going forward in the future research that we do,” Loughlin said. “We’re really hoping to turn it into something several years long.”Loughlin had some coding experience when he arrived at Harvard, but it wasn’t like CS50. The courses he had taken in high school and during his gap year were enlightening, but uninspiring, he said.“It wasn’t my favorite subject in the whole world,” he added. “I think I saw computer science as something where you just perform mathematical operations. CS50 has done a great job in not only showing me the many different applications that computer science has, but [also] getting me to see that those applications are quite exciting“I really came in thinking I was going to do raw math, and within two weeks of CS50 it blew my mind.”Hu plans to study applied mathematics and linguistics. Loughlin intends to concentrate in computer science.last_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: March 1, 2021

Nobel laureate honored with Humanitarian of the Year award

first_imgAddressing what he called the “world’s current and future top thought leaders, researchers and entrepreneurs,” Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi urged Harvard students to take action in defense of abused and enslaved children around the world.“Even a small act can dispel darkness in a room,” he told his audience at Harvard’s Memorial Church.“You all represent so many bright sparks. Do not simply look … act,” said Satyarthi, who was honored on Friday by the Harvard Foundation as its 2015 Humanitarian of the Year.“As the creator of the Global March Against Child Labor, [Satyarthi] ensured that both transnational awareness and organizational activism were at the center of the largest civil society movement in the world,” said College senior Irfan Mahmud in introducing Satyarthi. “As an advocate on the national level, he played a key role in the Right to Education law in India that made education not only a fundamental right for children up to 14 years of age, but also made it institutionally accessible and free.Indian children’ rights activist, Kailish Satyarthi greets children in the audience before he received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Harvard Foundation. Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff Photographer“This is just the surface of his work. It is no wonder that the Nobel Institute found him worthy for their highest honor for world peace … And today, we are lucky enough to honor him as the Harvard Foundation’s 2015 Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian of the Year.”For more than 25 years, Satyarthi has been a world-renowned activist for children’s rights, fighting against child slavery and exploitive child labor. He has waged a peaceful struggle to stop children being exploited as labor instead of attending school, and has contributed to the development of international conventions on the rights of children. He and his organization, Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, have rescued more than 84,000 children from exploitive conditions.In 2014, he and Malala Yousafzai were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.”“Friends, do you realize that fear, not freedom, is the primary driving force for all creation in this world today?” said Satyarthi. “We obsess about money for the fear of being left out. We chase power, for fear of being labeled inconsequential. We attach ourselves to brands, heroes, and celebrities for fear of not fitting in. On the international stage we try to establish our power by making bombs, drawing borders, and sending missiles, for fear of our security and position.”In offering a solution to combating this fear, Satyarthi urged the “globalization of compassion.” That is the key, he said. “Compassion for fellow man, regardless of ethnicity, race, religion, nationality, politics, or anything else.”He called for “compassionate intelligence” in politics, business, and religion. “Most of all, we need to teach our bright, young, energetic, and idealistic youth the value of compassion so they don’t become disillusioned or turn to violence.” He urged his Harvard audience to “come together to not lose any more of our children to needless violence. Let us inculcate compassion, global citizenship, and universal brotherhood from the earliest ages.“Harvard is a beacon of excellence, a repository of the best leadership in the world, representing the potential to change the world,” Satyarthi said. “The time to lead is now and this is the place. I am confident we can together make slavery, child labor and trafficking history. Let that be the legacy of our lives, our gift to the world. Freedom, freedom, freedom, for each and every one of us!” he concluded.The award is given in memory of the Rev. Professor Peter J. Gomes, Plummer Professor and Minister in Harvard’s Memorial Church, who died in 2011.last_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: January 26, 2021

Campus celebrities dress up as Santa for charity

first_imgAs Christmas approaches, sightings of Santa Claus become more frequent. Santa, in his characteristic bright red suit and white beard, makes frequent appearances around malls, toy stores, parks and other public places. Emma Farnan | The Observer Notre Dame freshmen Kent Hardart, left, and Will Ostergard, right, pose with psychology professor Anré Venter, who is dressed as Santa Claus. Venter was one of several well-known campus personalities who dressed up as Santa Clause for the annual event Snapshots with Santa, put on by Irish Fighting for St. Jude.Members of the South Bend community were able to have their photo taken with Santa at Irish Fighting for St. Jude’s annual event, Snapshots with Santa, which took place on Monday night at the Dahnke Ballroom. For the price of $5, participants were able to take a snapshot with their favorite Santa, who was brought to life by different Notre Dame campus celebrities, including several athletes and professors, as well as decorate cookies and write cards for the patients. The event benefits pediatric cancer research and treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.This year, Irish Fighting for St. Jude managed to enlist the help of athletes and more high-profile Notre Dame figures, accounting for more Santas than ever before. For the first time, the event was hosted in the Dahnke Ballroom and included raffle items by Fighting Irish men’s coach Mike Brey, explained senior Abe Mansour, president of Irish Fighting for St. Jude.“This year we definitely have amped it up quite a bit […] This is the biggest year yet,” Mansour said.Santa impersonators included football players junior quarter back Ian Book, graduate student punter Tyler Newsome, senior linebacker Jerry Tillery and senior wide receiver Chris Finke, as well as professors Chris Stevens, Eric Sims, Anré Venter and Fr. Joseph Corpora.Book said he was inspired by the event’s objective.“Like two weeks ago I got an email, and once I found out what it was for, it was a no-brainer. I knew I could help out in any way, so I was down to do that,” he said.Finke said he was excited to embrace his role as Santa.“I’ve never been Santa, so I hope I’m alright at it,” he said. “It will be fun to sit here with the kids and ask them what they want for Christmas. Hopefully they’re not too scared of me.”Many people went to the event to support their favorite athletes. Such was the case of junior Brandon Hardy. Participating in Snapshots with Santa for the first time, Hardy said he was looking forward to taking a picture with his friend, Tillery, as well as to get into the Christmas spirit of giving back.“This is what Notre Dame is about, about making a positive difference in the world. It’s cool to give back to your community,” Hardy said.Freshman Juliana Salvatierra, who is from Bolivia, said she was eager to take a picture with Venter, her psychology professor. She also referenced the prospect of helping others as her main reason for coming to the event.“I was really aware of the cause, and I really wanted to help too because in my country I don’t have the opportunity of doing many of these things,” Salvatierra said.For his part, Venter, a veteran of the event, said he was pleased to reprise his role as Santa. He has participated every year since Snapshots with Santa began, and said he truly enjoys meeting the children and students, and he describes the experience as “wonderful.”“It’s really cool to see little kids who still think that Santa’s real … it’s magical to them, and that’s really cool,” he said. “The other thing that I really like is seeing students outside of the classroom. It’s nice.”Another professor who took on the role of Santa Claus was business professor Chris Stevens. As the faculty advisor to Irish Fighting for St. Jude, Stevens said he was happy to undertake a different role to advance the club’s mission.“Santa is about spreading joy, and about bringing joy and happiness to others. And so, it’s the holiday season — Christmas is upon us — and it’s just a wonderful opportunity to really get into the Christmas spirit early in the season,” Stevens said.Stevens said he knows the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas” by heart, and said he may recite it for the children. He said he was approaching his role as Santa with an air of excitement and responsibility. He recognized the power of the role of Santa.“This is the time of giving, and 80 percent of the population in this world lives on less than $10 a day, and we’re all very, very blessed to be able to be here at Notre Dame, and do what we do,” he said. “So I think that during the holiday season, [students should] do things that bring happiness. It is impossible for students to sprinkle happiness on others and not get some on themselves.”Tags: Chris Finke, christmas, Ian Book, Irish Fighting for St. Jude, Jerry Tillery, Santa Claus, Tyler Newsomelast_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: December 30, 2020

Telemark Destinations

first_imgThe single best reason to learn to telemark?“It makes a small mountain a lot bigger,” says Brian McCormick, a ski patroller at Wisp Resort in Maryland. “Wisp has 600 vertical feet, and I ski there two dozen days a year. I needed something to make it more interesting, so I started to telemark.”Tapping into the telemark turn can transform our tame Appalachian mountains into behemoth peaks waiting to be conquered. Once you learn to telemark, you can do it anywhere given enough snow. Here are three prime telemark locations:GARRETT COUNTY, MDLocated in the far western corner of Maryland, the mountainous Garrett County takes advantage of the Great Lakes’ Snow Effect, pulling in an average 100 inches of fluffy a year. The county is Maryland’s telemark hub, with acres of backcountry skiing at Savage River State Forest, on-piste action at Wisp Resort, and groomed cross-country and telemark trails at Backbone Ski Farm. Wisp offers private telemark lessons, and Backbone Farm has introductory telemark classes as well as backcountry telemark tours with descents boasting 1,000 vertical feet. backbonefarm.com.For more information about Wisp Resort, check out  http://basecamp.blueridgeoutdoors.com/?p=2562ELK MOUNTAIN SKI RESORT, PENN.The telemark scene at Elk Mountain is vibrant and growing, with a regular crew of freeheelers shredding Elk’s 1,000 feet of vertical. Once a year, telemark skiers take over the mountain during Elk’s Telemark Fest (Feb. 28), where you can check out the latest telemark gear, join a clinic, or compete in races. Elkskier.com.CANAAN VALLEY, W.VA.The undisputed king of telemark in the Mid-Atlantic, there are more backcountry powder stashes in this corner of West Virginia than anywhere else in the region, and the telemark vibe is strong. Check out Timberline Resort for private on-piste telemark lessons (timberlineresort.com) and a host of group telemark workshops. Their annual Telemark Fest (March 1) features a backcountry race and Nordic hash. For backcountry tours, telemark lessons, and more freeheeling fun than you can handle, head to Whitegrass. Twice a year, Dickie Hall chooses Whitegrass for NATO workshops and adventure tours (Telemark Workshop Jan. 24-25; Telemark Adventure Tour: Feb. 7-8; telemarknato.com).TelepaloozaYou want to throw yourself into the freeheel culture head first? Hit Telepalooza, an annual telemark festival at Seven Springs Resort organized by the Appalachian Telemark Association. Beyond the standard clinics, demos, and revelry, Telepalooza features the biggest uphill/downhill race in the Mid-Atlantic. Ski up the mountain, ski down the mountain. First one to finish is king of the freeheelers. 7springs.com.last_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: December 18, 2020

Discrimination. So Easy, A Child Can Learn It In A Day

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Perhaps you are familiar with this rather famous piece of footage. It was part of a series of experiments, proven experiments, that display just how easily discrimination is taught, learned, how it feels to be on the other side and how, well, childish the concept is.If you’ve never seen it, watch it. If you’ve seen it before, take the opportunity to share it.It’s the kind of thing that can make quite a difference.As seen on Upworthy.comlast_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: November 18, 2020

In the first six months, Lošinj grew by 20 percent in overnight stays and arrivals

first_imgIn the first six months, Lošinj recorded very good tourist results, thus achieving a total of 491.700 overnight stays and 89.500 arrivals with an index of an increase in overnight stays of 19%, and arrivals of 20% compared to the previous 2016.The largest increase in guests was recorded in the segment of hotel accommodation, 19%, and the offer of Lošinj hotels was enjoyed by as many as 35.500 guests who spent 155.000 nights. ”We are extremely pleased with the tourist results so far, especially because this year we have invested a lot of effort to organize numerous events for the needs of all our guests. We expect even better results in the coming months and the continuation of positive indicators of a successful tourist year so far, said the president of the Tourist Board of the City of Mali Lošinj, Ana Kučić.After the excellent results achieved in the first six months, the island of vitality with the organization of numerous events continues to successfully navigate the tourist year.last_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: October 19, 2020

Two companies list shares on IDX despite pandemic-hit market

first_imgKarya Bersama pocketed Rp 613 million in net income as of September 2019 as it booked Rp 15.98 billion in revenue during the period.In the meantime, Sejahtera Bintang Abadi managed to raise a total of Rp 44.63 billion in fresh funds from the sale of 425 million shares during its IPO, the company said in a statement.The company plans to use about 78.55 percent of the IPO proceeds to buy new open-end machines, a finisher draw frame and other plant to produce its recycled-base material yarns. The company will also use the remaining 21.45 percent of the proceeds as capex to buy raw materials and fund marketing costs, among other things.As of September 2019, the company recorded a total of Rp 227.71 billion in revenue. However, it still recorded a loss of Rp 3.84 billion during the period.Although the market is currently in its least favorable condition, IDX assessment director I Gede Nyoman Yetna said companies were still interested in seeking fresh funds from the stock market.“These companies chose to offer their shares to the public as they need more funds to help develop their businesses,” he told the press by text message.The IDX main gauge, the Jakarta Composite Index (JCI), dropped 3.18 percent on Wednesday, having lost more than 26 percent of its value so far this year.Topics : Two companies went forward with their plans to list their shares on the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX) on Wednesday despite the COVID-19 pandemic that has rocked global and domestic stock markets.Property developer PT Karya Bersama Anugerah and yarn producer PT Sejahtera Bintang Abadi Textile became the 20th and 21st companies listed on the domestic bourse this year and the second and third companies to list their shares virtually amid the government’s large-scale social restrictions to prevent further spread of the highly contagious disease.Karya Bersama Anugerah, listed under the code KBAG, recorded a 35 percent jump in share price upon opening to Rp 135 (8 US cents) apiece from Rp 100 while Sejahtera Bintang Abadi (SBAT) soared 34.29 percent to Rp 141 just 30 minutes after its shares were available for trading. In a written statement obtained by The Jakarta Post, Karya Bersama plans to use the proceeds from its initial public offering (IPO) of around Rp 215 billion to add to its land bank in the Balikpapan area in East Kalimantan. Outside of Balikpapan, the company currently owns a total of 0.7 hectares of land in West Jakarta and another 150 hectares of land in Jonggol, West Java.“We will also use the proceeds to fund our capital expenditure [capex] and finish several of our ongoing projects,” the company said in the statement, adding that one of the projects included a townhouse complex in central Balikpapan.The company has expressed optimism that the project will have a positive impact on its financial performance as it expects the government’s upcoming new capital city project located near Balikpapan to increase real estate values in the area.Read also: To buy it or not: Retail investors are torn amid volatile stock marketlast_img read more

Posted by: | Posted on: September 27, 2020

Mary Cannon: Cannabis is harmful for young adults and teens

first_imgNZ Herald 3 August 2020Family First Comment: Superb article pushing back on the narrative that ‘cannabis is less harmful than alcohol’…“Cannabis, on the other hand, is strongly associated with psychotic symptoms and psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. In fact, cannabis use is now the most powerful single environmental risk factor for psychotic disorder… Recent studies from Europe have examined the risks associated with high-potency cannabis (defined as greater than 10 per cent THC) and have found that daily users of high potency cannabis have a nine-fold increased risk of developing schizophrenia or another clinical psychotic disorder… This “psychotogenic” effect is not confined to adolescent-onset cannabis use and appears more linked to frequency of use. In addition, it is not confined to people with a history of psychotic disorder in their family (although they are at high risk and should avoid cannabis). It has been estimated that between one third to half of all the cases of psychotic illness in places like London or Amsterdam could be due to cannabis… I would argue that cannabis use is actually more damaging to the brain – especially the brains of young adults and teenagers, and their life prospects. The failure of governments worldwide to control alcohol harms shows that once an addictive substance is legalised and freely available public health takes a second place to profit.”#VoteNopeToDopeA common argument in favour of legalising cannabis is that alcohol is legal and is more harmful to people and society than cannabis, and therefore cannabis should be legal too.This is a somewhat spurious argument along the lines of “Would you rather be eaten by a lion or a bear” or “Would you rather be run over by a truck or a bus”. Nevertheless, it provides a good opportunity to examine the differential harms posed by both substances.A recent article by a Professor of Psychiatry and Addiction Medicine (NZ Herald, July 28) stated, “both cannabis and alcohol are known to cause psychotic conditions, but in both instances, these are rare events.”This statement is true in one regard. Psychotic disorder related solely to alcohol is indeed a rare event. It is generally in the form of an uncommon condition called Alcoholic Hallucinosis, which occurs in older individuals who have been using alcohol heavily for many years. I have seen only one or two cases in my clinical career.Individuals who are withdrawing from alcohol can suffer with hallucinations and acute paranoia as part of the withdrawal reaction but this is not a psychotic disorder. Cannabis, on the other hand, is strongly associated with psychotic symptoms and psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.In fact, cannabis use is now the most powerful single environmental risk factor for psychotic disorder.Many well-designed studies have examined this association, and the majority have shown that cannabis is significantly related to psychotic disorder with the remainder showing a strong trend in that direction.In the early 2000s, I was involved in a research team investigating the link between cannabis use in adolescence and the risk of psychotic disorder in adulthood. This research was carried out on a group of approximately 1000 young people from Dunedin, who had been followed up since the 1970s (and are still being followed up to this day).We found that young people who started using cannabis before age 15 had had a four times increased risk of being diagnosed with schizophrenia or schizophreniform disorder by age 26. To put this in perspective, 10 per cent of the young people who had been using cannabis by age 15 developed a psychotic disorder in young adulthood compared with 3 per cent of the remainder of the group – a one in 10 chance is certainly not a rare occurrence.The association between cannabis and psychosis appears to be getting even stronger in line with the increase in strength of cannabis (the THC content is now regularly over 20 per cent, whereas it was only about 1-2 per cent in the 1960s and 70s.)Recent studies from Europe have examined the risks associated with high-potency cannabis (defined as greater than 10 per cent THC) and have found that daily users of high potency cannabis have a nine-fold increased risk of developing schizophrenia or another clinical psychotic disorder.This “psychotogenic” effect is not confined to adolescent-onset cannabis use and appears more linked to frequency of use.In addition, it is not confined to people with a history of psychotic disorder in their family (although they are at high risk and should avoid cannabis). It has been estimated that between one third to half of all the cases of psychotic illness in places like London or Amsterdam could be due to cannabis.In my clinical experience, I have observed an increase in presentations of young men with psychosis related to cannabis over the past few years. The type of psychosis associated with cannabis is one with high levels of agitation, aggression and paranoia and can present a risk to family and others.In a groundbreaking study in the UK, 16 healthy volunteers were given one dose of intravenous THC.Remarkably, 70 per cent developed psychotic symptoms within 20 minutes and this demonstrates the powerful impact of the THC component of cannabis on psychosis.Aside from its effect on psychosis, several large international studies have shown that cannabis use in youth has a more detrimental effect on cognition and later functioning in adulthood than alcohol use in youth.A study from Christchurch showed that young cannabis users had greater rates of school dropout, unemployment and dependence on social welfare payments than their peers did even after taking account of alcohol use.The Dunedin study showed that young cannabis users had lower incomes later in adulthood than their alcohol using peers. Heavy, early onset cannabis use has been associated with up to 8-point drop in IQ that appears to be irreversible.No one would deny that alcohol is associated with a host of social problems and serious physical health problems.However, I would argue that cannabis use is actually more damaging to the brain – especially the brains of young adults and teenagers, and their life prospects.The failure of governments worldwide to control alcohol harms shows that once an addictive substance is legalised and freely available public health takes a second place to profit.Once society normalises the widespread use of a drug it is almost impossible to undo that and put the genie back in the bottle.• Mary Cannon is Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology and Youth Mental Health, with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12352685last_img read more