by Tim Keller

“How’s Joe Paterno? We gonna bring that back? Right? How about that—how about that whole deal?”

In case you haven’t been keeping up with any of the major news networks lately, the zaniness of The Donald Trump Show is a gift that keeps on giving. The frontrunner in the GOP nomination process seems to spew something utterly nutty on a daily basis.

The political candidate didn’t seem to be aware of a couple of crucial facts regarding the beloved former Penn State head coach. First, he was fired by the Penn State Board of Trustees in 2011 after an FBI investigation found that he had concealed details of his colleague Jerry Sandusky’s sexual abuse of children. Second, he’s been dead since 2012.

When Sean Hannity asked Trump which government agency he’d eliminate, he told the Fox News host “The Department of Environmental,” which doesn’t exist. Perhaps Trump meant the Environmental Protection Agency, but it’s still the kind of misstep that cost Rick Perry the nomination.

The list keeps on going. Trump even managed to win New York despite saying the September 11th attacks happened on 7/11. But it goes deeper than silly surface gaffes that could be attributed to a slip of the tongue. Trump’s statements have started to resemble those of a man who’s losing his grip on reality.

What if Trump isn’t just an eccentric? Is it possible he’s showing signs of a serious illness like Dementia or Alzheimer’s? Let’s look at the evidence.

According to the Alzheimers Association website, at least two of the following 5 mental functions must be “significantly impaired” for a dementia diagnosis to be considered.


One of the classic symptoms of Dementia is memory loss. Donald Trump loves to talk about having the “world’s greatest memory,” but the record abounds with instances where he’s had a lapse. A letter he wrote requesting leniency for a cocaine dealer associated with his business slipped his mind when he was questioned by the Division of Gaming Enforcement about it. His recollection also came up short last year when the presidential candidate claimed he had seen “Muslims cheering” in Chicago after 9/11.

Communication and language

During the August 2015 debate, Trump told the audience that “we need brain in this country to turn it around.” It wasn’t just a bizarre way to say the country needs more intelligence in government. It was not grammatically correct. It lacked the basic grasp of the English language that an elementary school student should have available. It might be easy to dismiss this as another simple slip of the tongue, but the man has a degree from the Wharton School of Finance. Not an easy program to get into. Presumably he was more than capable of putting together complete sentences as a 20-something.

Ability to focus and pay attention

At an interview with the Washington Post editorial board, an interviewer asked Trump whether he would be willing to use tactical nuclear weapons against ISIS. Here’s his reply:

Trump: I don’t want to use, I don’t want to start the process of nuclear. Remember the one thing that everybody has said, I’m a counterpuncher. Rubio hit me. Bush hit me. When I said low energy, he’s a low-energy individual, he hit me first. I spent, by the way, he spent 18 million dollars’ worth of negative ads on me. That’s putting (unintelligible)…
Ryan: This is about ISIS. You would not use a tactical nuclear weapon against ISIS?
Trump: I’ll tell you one thing, this is a very good-looking group of people here. Could I just go around so I know who the hell I’m talking to?


Read it again. If Barack Obama started talking like this, he’d be in an MRI machine within the day. But this kind of unfocused babbling is par for the course for Trump so we don’t register it as a red flag anymore. You can’t chock this one up to evading a difficult question, either. There’s not a lot of support for the use of nukes, even in America, and even against ISIS. This sounds like a man who’s paranoid, can’t focus, and fails to even grasp an extremely straightforward question.

Reasoning and judgment

Donald Trump’s personality simply oozes poor judgement when it comes to a variety of topics. It’s arguably true, however, that his campaign has benefited from it enormously. His reputation as a straight talker is dependent on his unfettered mouth, and may be why his supporters see him as such a political outsider. But given his treatment of MuslimsPOCs, and especially women, it’s hard to believe this is a man who is fully in control of his faculties and judgement. After all, any child could tell you that a political race is dependent on popularity. What reasonable man would broadly disrespect such a wide range of people?

Visual perception

Sight is an extremely complicated process in the body, and Dementia can attack several aspects of it. It’s not like we have access to his optometrist’s records, but the man sure does squint a lot.

Trump’s family should be worried. Because in spite of all this anecdotal evidence, another fact sticks out. Death and Taxes ran a piece back in October where they explored a lot of this same evidence. The Donald’s father, who died in 1999, suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, a form of Dementia. It’s possible his dad passed on more than a huge fortune to his son.

You might say that attacking a man who is potentially undergoing one of the most awful medical sentences one and one’s family could experience is unfair and cruel, but that’s precisely the point. As much fun as it is for liberals to attack the GOP frontrunner who’s been demolishing all the opponents who have stood before him, the tone changes if the substance of those attacks rests on the man actually having a serious mental disorder. For the good of the country and the presidential race, it would behoove all of us, especially his family, if Mr. Trump would get himself checked out for Dementia and other related illnesses…and maybe release those findings to the public.


Kinetic Wave Power Station

A report about the recent development in Danish wave energy concepts:



The Wavestar vision is about more than just building a machine. In fact, it’s about more than wave energy. We want to change the entire world’s mindset about how we produce clean energy. Here’s the plan to make that happen.

Right now, alternative energy exists in a vacuum, but Wavestar want everyone to work closer together to realize the dream of unlimited clean energy. Wavestar plans to lead this movement by building the very first energy parks where wave energy machines can be placed in between the wind mills. This is a win-win as it increasing efficiency and reduces costs for all. When wind and wave join forces to produce clean energy, everybody wins.

This is a brand new and revolutionary idea in an industry that often fails to see the bigger picture. At Wavestar we don’t just want to produce electricity; we want to power a whole movement that understands we need many clean and elegant solutions working together in order to meet the planet’s energy needs.

Wavestar’s visionaries are not just big thinkers, but engineers who are already setting new industry standards. The data model that Wavestar uses to measure the potential energy of waves is being made an industry standard by EnergyNet, proving the theoretical concepts underlying Wavestar’s calculations.

The Wave Star vision has been evolving for well over a decade. Sailing enthusiasts Niels and Keld Hansen came up with the concept behind Wave Star in 2000, but the idea originated when they were sailing near their parents’ summer house. They began to talk about how they could harness the powerful forces beneath them. The company purchased the rights to the machine in 2003 after seeing the huge commercial potential of wave energy. The Hansen Brothers remain as consultants at Wave Star while the Clausen brothers, the family behind Danfoss, are now the main shareholders.

With the 500 kW machine in development, the company has claimed a position among the leading alternative energy developers in the world. Wave Star aim to make it the first series-produced 1 MW machine for big oceans, ready for sale in 2017. Wave Star is not stopping there though. The machine will then be doubled in size, capable of handling twice the wave height. This will increase each machine’s output to 6 MW, enabling a single machine to provide energy for 4,000 homes.

Cannabis Use: Signal of Increasing Risk of Serious Cardiovascular Disorders


Marijuana background



  1. Correspondence to:
    Emilie Jouanjus, PharmD, PhD, Equipe “Pharmacoépidémiologie: Evaluation de l’utilisation et du risque médicamenteux,” INSERM UMR1027: Epidémiologie et analyses en santé publique – Risques, maladies chroniques et handicaps, Faculté de Médecine, 37 allées Jules Guesde, Toulouse 31073, France. E-mail:
  • Received November 18, 2013.
  • Accepted February 2, 2014.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.


Background Cannabis is known to be associated with neuropsychiatric problems, but less is known about complications affecting other specified body systems. We report and analyze 35 recent remarkable cardiovascular complications following cannabis use.

Methods and Results In France, serious cases of abuse and dependence in response to the use of psychoactive substances must be reported to the national system of the French Addictovigilance Network. We identified all spontaneous reports of cardiovascular complications related to cannabis use collected by the French Addictovigilance Network from 2006 to 2010. We described the clinical characteristics of these cases and their evolution: 1.8% of all cannabis-related reports (35/1979) were cardiovascular complications, with patients being mostly men (85.7%) and of an average age of 34.3 years. There were 22 cardiac complications (20 acute coronary syndromes), 10 peripheral complications (lower limb or juvenile arteriopathies and Buerger-like diseases), and 3 cerebral complications (acute cerebral angiopathy, transient cortical blindness, and spasm of cerebral artery). In 9 cases, the event led to patient death.

Conclusions Increased reporting of cardiovascular complications related to cannabis and their extreme seriousness (with a death rate of 25.6%) indicate cannabis as a possible risk factor for cardiovascular disease in young adults, in line with previous findings. Given that cannabis is perceived to be harmless by the general public and that legalization of its use is debated, data concerning its danger must be widely disseminated. Practitioners should be aware that cannabis may be a potential triggering factor for cardiovascular complications in young people.

Cardiovascular diseases remain the most frequent cause of global death worldwide, and the most common is coronary artery disease, with a mortality rate of 12.8% in 2011.1Acute coronary syndromes significantly contribute to the burden of cardiovascular disease.2 Reduction of cardiovascular diseases is therefore a key concern in Western countries. In the United States, the American Heart Association aims to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20% by 2020.3 In Europe, the Systematic COronary Risk Evaluation (SCORE) system was developed to provide a risk-scoring system for the management of cardiovascular risk in clinical practice.4 The frequency of cardiovascular diseases varies among countries related to geographic differences1,5 and according to the generally acknowledged risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, the knowledge of which cannot be disassociated from efficient understanding, prevention, and management of cardiovascular diseases. Among these risk factors are obesity (and also, weight changes and sedentary lifestyle), age, metabolic factors such as elevated cholesterol levels, and tobacco smoking.2,67 Another possible risk factor is cannabis smoking, which has recently been added to the list of the potential triggers for myocardial infarction.8 In addition, it was the substance, after tobacco and cocaine, most often identified as being involved in ischemic stroke associated with drugs with abuse potential.9

Yet, cannabis is the world’s most widely used illicit substance.10 It benefits from an image of safety for health, and its use has become trivialized. Communication about the potential therapeutic properties of cannabinoids and the marketing of cannabis derivatives in the treatment of pain, nausea, or anorexia in several countries must have contributed to reinforcing the belief that cannabis use could be safe or even healthy.11 However, it is now acknowledged that cannabis use is harmful to health.1216 Although factors such as variety of plant, administration route, concomitant tobacco use, or possible adulterated products may complicate the identification of potential cannabis-related disorders,1718 it was suggested that cannabis and tobacco together precipitated the occurrence of coronary syndromes in patients with coronary history compared with tobacco taken alone.19Another study conducted in a population of nearly 4000 patients hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction suggested that cannabis use acutely increased the risk of myocardial infarction.20 More recently, similar serious cardiovascular complications were identified as the reason for hospitalization of young cannabis users.21 They emerged among all other subgroups of complications because the seriousness of cases and the particular profile of patients, principally of young and apparently healthy (apparently because they had no history) males. Among the events collected, myocardial infarctions, thromboses, and cerebral strokes were observed.

The French Addictovigilance Network involves 13 regional Addictovigilance centers, the Centres d’Évaluation et d’Information sur la Pharmacodépendance–Addictovigilance. The centers were created in the early 1990s with the aim of achieving reliable surveillance of abuse and pharmacodependence cases related to drugs of abuse―plants and medical or illicit drugs with psychoactive properties.22 The network evaluates the impact of abuse and dependence of drugs on public health and thus contributes to prevention and harm reduction policies and to regulation and control in the area of abuse or dependence. Some remarkable cases of cannabis-related cardiovascular disorders have been reported to French Addictovigilance Network in the recent years. To confirm whether there is a signal of increasing risk of cardiovascular complications related to cannabis use in France, we investigated all cases reported to the French national system of addictovigilance from 2006 to 2010. The aim of this work was to describe all cases of cannabis-related cardiovascular complications and to estimate at the national level if there is a signal of increasing risk of these events.


In France, the addictovigilance system relies on the spontaneous reporting of serious abuse and dependence cases related to psychoactive drug use.22 Health professionals have the legal obligation to report to their regional addictovigilance center all serious cases defined as one of the following criteria of seriousness: leading to temporary or permanent functional incapacity or disability, to inpatient hospitalization or prolongation of existing hospitalization, to congenital anomalies, or to an immediate vital risk or death.2324 These spontaneous reports related to drugs of abuse are recorded in a common database. Thus, the study was performed on anonymous routinely collected data and therefore, according to French regulation, did not require approval by a regulatory structure or an ethics committee.

The French Addictovigilance Network was requested to search cases of cannabis-related cardiovascular complications during the past 5 years (2006 to 2010), to cover the time when several outstanding cases of cannabis-related cardiovascular disorders had been reported to the network as well as the few preceding years. There was no restriction in the types of complications to include, because the study aimed to exhaustively assess and identify all potential cardiovascular outcomes in relation with cannabis use, including those with no obvious relation. To be included, cases had to be sufficiently documented with outcome chronology and diagnosis clearly stated. Cases could be included even if data such as management of patients or toxicologic analysis information were lacking.

Cases were described according to the type of complication, patient sex and age, cardiovascular history, and magnitude of cannabis exposure. Quantitative variable (age) was described by mean and interquartiles, and categorical variables were described using effective and percentages. All complications occurred in the context of cannabis use: last cannabis intake must not be confused with cannabis exposure. The latter was categorized into “actual,” “recent,” and “regular and daily” uses, respectively defined as (1) 1 or more uses in the past 12 months, (2) between 1 and 9 uses in the past 30 days, and (3) 10 or more uses in the past 30 days.25 Cases for which exposure was not stated were considered as actual; that is, last use was considered the only use in the previous 12 months.

Concomitant use of other psychoactive substances was also taken into account if available and reported in the medical records or when investigated in toxicologic analyses.


During the 2006 to 2010 period, 1979 spontaneous reports related to cannabis were reported to the addictovigilance network, of which 35 corresponded to cardiovascular complications (Table 1). The percentage of cannabis-related cardiovascular complications increased from 1.1% in 2006 to 3.6% in 2010 of all cannabis-related reports.

View this table:

Table 1.

Number of Spontaneous Reports to the French Addictovigilance Network: Cannabis-Related Reports and Cardiovascular Cannabis-Related Reports From 2006 to 2010

Characteristics of Subjects With Cardiovascular Complications

Patients were mostly men (30/35) (Table 2), and the mean age was 34.3 years old (SD 8.8 years). Details of each case are presented in Table S1.

View this table:

Table 2.

Characteristics of Spontaneous Reports of Cannabis-Related Cardiovascular Complications (2006–2010)

Details on cardiovascular history and risk factors could be found for 46% of cases (16/35): 9 subjects had personal and 7 had familial cardiovascular history. They are all presented in Table S1.

Personal cardiovascular history consisted of high blood pressure (n=2), acute coronary syndrome (n=2), and atherogenic hypercholesterolemia (n=1) in patients with cardiac complications and of Raynaud disease (n=3), intermittent claudication (n=2), high blood pressure (n=1), deep vein thrombosis (n=1), and acute coronary syndrome (n=1) in patients with extracardiac complications. Familial history of coronary (n=4) or vascular (n=2) diseases or cerebral stroke (n=1) was documented. Twenty-one patients (60%) were identified as concomitant tobacco smokers, of whom 6 had personal cardiovascular history. Details about these preexisting cardiovascular risk factors are presented in Table S1. Body mass index could be assessed in only 31% (11/35) of the patients. Among these patients, all of whom belonged to the “acute coronary syndrome” group, 6 (54%, 6/11) were in the normal healthy weight category, 4 (36%) were overweight, and 1 was in the first obese class (body mass index=32.1 kg/m2).

Cannabis exposure was actual, recent, and regular or daily in 8, 6, and 16 patients, respectively. Duration of use, available in 5 cases only, varied from 2 to more than 25 years.

Toxicologic analyses were performed in 13 cases (Table S1). Δ9-tetra-Hydrocannabinol (THC) was detected in each. In 10 cases, THC was the only substance found for which the patient was positive. In 2 cases, THC and alcohol were found together but autopsy report dismissed alcohol in 1 of these cases, explaining this was most probably the result of post-mortem gastric fermentation. In 1 case, THC was associated with alcohol, opiates, morphine, salicylates, and phenothiazine. Among the 22 patients with no available toxicology data, cannabis was the only product mentioned in the medical file (n=3) or the following substances were quoted: tobacco and alcohol (alone: n=12 and 1, respectively; together: n=3); polydrug use (ie, Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), ecstasy, alcohol, and cocaine), and benzodiazepines, opiates, and cocaine (n=1, respectively).

Characteristics of Complications

Cases were discriminated based on cardiac22 and extracardiac13 complications (Table 2). Cardiac complications composed 20 cases of acute coronary syndromes and 2 heart rate disorders (Table S1). Extracardiac complications affected cerebral arteries with cases of “acute cerebral angiopathy,” “transient cortical blindness,” and “spasm of cerebral artery” (n=1, respectively), or consisted in lower limb or juvenile arteriopathies (n=4) and in Buerger-like diseases (n=6).

Patient management were heterogeneously described (Table 2). There were 18 hospitalizations, half of which were related to acute coronary syndrome (10/18), with a mean duration of 15 days (versus 7 days for hospitalizations in patients with peripheral or cerebral complications). As presented in Table S1, biology screening (12), electrocardiogrphy (7), or medical imaging (arteriography 12 cases [cardiac echography 7, radiography 5], magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] 3 [CT scan 2, Doppler echography 2]) was performed. Cardiac resuscitation attempts were mentioned in 6 patients with acute coronary syndrome, of which 2 underwent thrombolysis. Invasive techniques were used in 12 cases (8 angioplasties, 6 cardiac stent placements, 3 coronary bypasses and 1 transmetatarsal amputation). None of the 9 deaths occurred in hospitalized patients, but all had cardiac complications.


During the 2006–2010 period, the proportion of cardiovascular complications rose from 1.1% to 3.6% of all cannabis-related disorders reported to the French Addictovigilance Network. They were all serious and included cardiac and extracardiac complications, mainly acute coronary syndromes and peripheral arteriopathies. In comparison to the most recently assessed number of regular cannabis users in France (1.2 million), only a small proportion of complications was reported to the French addictovigilance system.

Our results may reasonably be considered a biased (underestimated) representation because the main limitation of this system is the underreporting, although the reporting of all serious cases related to drug abuse and dependence is compulsory and regulated in the French Public Health Code.23 Indeed, currently, the reporting rate of adverse drug reactions is estimated to be 5% in the field of pharmacovigilance.26 In other words, 95% of cases are usually not captured. Consequently, the number of cardiovascular complications in cannabis users should be much higher than we describe, especially that this rate should even be lowered in the field of addictovigilance because adverse reactions related to drugs of abuse (of which cannabis) are less frequently reported than those related to other medicines and was recently estimated to be 0.4%.27 We considered that these cases were too few to be extrapolated by applying the reporting rate, although it would have definitely provided a more accurate estimation.

However, despite poor exhaustiveness, it has already been shown that the spontaneous reporting (as, for example, in the field of pharmacovigilance) is the cornerstone to identify signals. In the context of our study, the increasing reporting of cardiovascular complications related to cannabis, and their extreme seriousness (with a death rate of 25.6%) could indicate cannabis as a possible risk factor for cardiovascular disease in young adults, in line with previous findings.8

Another possible explanation for the small number of cases is that cardiovascular disorders may hardly be connected to cannabis considering the lack of evidence-based data in this area and especially because cannabis-related disorders are frequently restricted to neuropsychiatric impairments. For instance, in a recent clinical review oriented to general practice in primary care that gives advice in the management of cannabis-related disorders, the cardiovascular system is not even mentioned.28

On the other hand, our work is somehow limited by the poor information available. Indeed, some cases were not exhaustively informed, and events were too few assess whether the cardiovascular events were actually due to the cannabis use rather than some other risk factors using statistical modeling. Toxicologic analyses were provided or available in only 37% of cases (13/35). More information about toxicology should have revealed odd associations of products among cases. In most of the available toxicologic analyses, which were mainly in forensic reports for unexplained deaths, cannabis was the only positive substance among all substances. History of cardiac or vascular disease and risk factors were not systematically available but were found in 46% (16/35) of patients. In particular, body mass index was assessed in only 31%. According to previous findings, cannabis use might be harmless to most young healthy users, whereas patients with preexisting cardiovascular weaknesses appear to be prone to the harmful effects of cannabis.29 In our study, patients presented with these events with varied histories and ages (25% were younger than 28.3 years, median age 34.5 years, interquartile range 28.3 to 39 years).

A report of adverse cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and peripheral vascular effects of marijuana inhalation was published recently.30 The serious adverse events are very similar to those of the present study and include myocardial infarction, sudden cardiac death, cardiomyopathy, stroke, transient ischemic attack, and cannabis arteritis. A population-based study conducted in the area of preventive cardiology emphasized a strong association with unhealthy behaviors such as high caloric intake, tobacco smoking, and use of other illicit drugs, although it did not reveal any independent association between cannabis use and the occurrence of cardiovascular risk factors in young adults.31 Case reports of acute coronary syndromes have long been noted and remain numerous,3135and there are reports in the literature of myocardial infarction in adolescents who had used the synthetic cannabinoid K2, the effects of which being reported as cannabis-like after smoking.32 Cases of cannabis-related limb ischemia possibly resulting in necrosis of the fingers or toes have also been reported.14,33 In 2010, 70 case reports of cannabis arteritis were reported in the litterature.34 In this 201- review, the patients were younger than our group of patients with peripheral arteriopathy, with a mean age of 28.5 years. However, patients with Buerger disease might be older, with an estimated mean age at onset of 35.0 years.35

In addition, a recent study on hospitalizations linked to cannabis in a university hospital has shown a non-negligible pproportion of cardiovascular complications, with 6.3% of all cannabis-related hospitalizations.21 Among these cases, only a few were reported to the regional addictovigilance center. Therefore, a large underestimation of the cases described in the present study can be expected, especially because the reporting is low, estimated to be 0.4%.27 Moreover, we are not certain that all areas were extensively and exhaustively covered in this study. Also, clinicians do not easily attribute these complications to cannabis, unless cannabis is the only product involved.

The 35 cases described must be compared with the 1.2 million regular users in France,36and to the incidence rates of cardiovascular complications in a comparable group. Yet, relevant comparable group is difficult to define because in the general population, patients with cardiovascular complications are much older than the patients in our study. Even in the event that rates of cardiovascular complications were available in the young, cannabis users would remain indistinguishable from nonusers. However, sudden unexpected cardiac death in persons younger than 35 years was assessed in Denmark from 2000 to 2006.37 Many unexpected deaths remained unexplained (29%), which could result from a non-negligible part of death in relation with drug uses, including cannabis, the most prevalent illicit drug worldwide,10 although only 9% of death with available toxicologic results had positive test for cannabinoids. In France, existing registries on coronary heart disease target only the 35- to 74-year-old population and exclude potential associated risk factors such as drug use history.38 Between 2004 and 2007, average incidence rates of myocardial infarction and coronary deaths in patients aged 35 to 44 years were estimated to be 57 of 100 000 among men and 13 of 100 000 among woman: however, these data are hardly transferable to that of our study. Besides, the national Décès en Relation Avec l’abus de Medicaments et de Substances (DRAMES) study, which identifies and surveys deaths in relation to abuse, misuse, dependence, or accidental intake of psychoactive drugs, emphasized in 2011 a fair number (n=7) of cannabis-positive analyses in deaths by unexplained cardiac arrest.39 This constitutes another signal in favor of the growing set of evidence on the possible involvement of cannabis in cardiovascular outcomes. In addition, the prevalence of cannabis use is high in Europe with 14.9% of young European (15 to 24 years old) using cannabis in the actual year, and particularly in France, the third European country after the Czech Republic and Spain.40

Under pathologic conditions (eg, imbalance of the endocannabinoid system), cannabinoids have been associated with cardiovascular dysfunctions.41 Thus, long-term use of cannabis should be responsible for long-lasting decreased blood pressure, heart rate and cardiac contractility; increased blood volume; and diminished circulatory responses to exercise: more generally, it is associated with decreased myocardial function. Moreover, because of these long- and short-term complications, heart function is carefully controlled in subjects who take part in experimental studies with cannabis administration.42 These are consistent with centrally mediated, reduced sympathetic and enhanced parasympathetic activity.43The opposite can be observed in pathologic cardiovascular conditions: in animals, THC was shown to be responsible for vasoconstriction. Now, vasospasm could be a possible common origin for many of the cases we describe in the present study. Also, the direct impact of cannabinoids on factors such as nitric oxide or endothelial factors could explain the disparity of complications observed between cannabis and tobacco.44 The latter is associated with deregulations observed after continuous exposition, which contrasts with the apparent immediacy of cannabis-related cardiovascular disorders.

Such complications can be seen among young adults who use stimulant drugs (ie, cocaine, methamphetamine) that are known to be responsible for cardiovascular complications.9,45 These stimulant drug users are likely to also be regular cannabis users.4647 Stimulant drug use may be less likely acknowledged than cannabis use for societal reasons, but that is not sufficient to exclude cannabis from being possibly linked to such outcomes. Our findings indicate that cannabis intoxication should be more systematically investigated in the medical management of cardiovascular complications observed in young adults. They lead us to recommend systematic investigation for cannabis use, through oral interviewing and urinary analysis, as also advocated by Wolff and colleagues.48


Several striking cardiovascular complications following cannabis use raised the issue of the possible implication of cannabis in cardiovascular outcomes and the necessary national review. Despite the known underreporting, the rate of cannabis-related cardiovascular complications reported steadily rose during the past 5 years. Cardiovascular disorders represented 2% of the reports related to cannabis, classified into cardiac, cerebral, and peripheral complications. The majority consisted of acute coronary syndromes and peripheral arteriopathies. This result is consistent with previous findings and strengthens the idea that cannabis may be responsible for serious complications, in particular on the cardiovascular system. Among the difficulties in identifying these cases are the causality assessment when differential diagnoses coexist, and the raising but still poor awareness of health professionals toward this particular type of effects. Cannabis may trigger cardiovascular complications and therefore should be regarded as so by health practitioners and by users, who often admit the danger of drugs like cocaine or amphetamines but minimize that of cannabis. A prospective study with collection of all cardiovascular cases at hospital admission should complete the present findings, which add to the existing knowledge in the field of cannabis complications and must be considered as the starting point for further research.


The authors thank the members of the French Addictovigilance Network Working Group on Cannabis Disorders for their meaningful contribution to this collaborative work: Amelie Daveluy (Bordeaux), Reynald Le Boisselier (Caen), Nicolas Authier (Clermont-Ferrand), Claude-Elisabeth Barjhoux (Grenoble), Sylvie Deheul (Lille), Alexandra Boucher (Lyon), Michel Spadari (Marseille), Celine Eiden (Montpellier), Valerie Gibaja (Nancy), Marie Gerardin (Nantes), Samira Djezzar (Paris), and François Chavant (Poitiers).

Sources of Funding

Financial support was provided by the French InterMinisterial Mission for the Fight Against Drugs and Addiction (MILDT, Mission interministérielle de luttecontreles drogues et toxicomanies), and by the French drug agency (ANSM, Agence Nationale de Sécurité des Médicaments).


None of the authors has a conflict of interest to declare. This work was part of Emilie Jouanjus’ study toward a PhD degree at Toulouse University.





by Robin Alperstein


I started out liking Bernie Sanders, though I leaned slightly toward Hillary Clinton. Yet I’ve come to the point where I can barely stand his face, and I just want him to stop jabbing his finger as he brays the same slogans in every single venue, over and over. How did I get to this point, especially as someone who had reservations about Clinton and who is thrilled that Sanders has been able to unlock a thirst for liberal policy within the electorate, in a way that I haven’t seen in my adult life, and in a way that I hope may change the landscape of what is possible?
It’s been a gradual process. Here’s how it happened, with the warning that this post is not a comparative assessment of the two candidates or of their campaign platforms; I’m well aware that Sanders has strengths and Clinton has weaknesses, and I’m not trying to persuade anyone here to vote for her over him; what I’m trying to explain is how and why I have come to dislike him so — even though, of course, I’ll vote for him in the general (and even campaign for him) if must.
First, I researched. I went to his website. I went to I went to other sites examining his record to see how it squared up with his rhetoric. I tried to find unbiased articles assessing his tax policy, looking at how he would fund single payer (and what he meant by that) as well as “free college” and other promises he made. I looked at analyses on left-leaning blogs that have long advocated for universal health care to see what they thought, sites I respect and whose authors I have relied on for years for their basic objectivity within their admitted points of view. And I could find none who believed Sanders’ numbers added up.
When I saw that the estimates were based on the assumption that the U.S. economy would have an average growth at a 5% rate over his term, that was it for me. There was no precedent for a sustained growth rate that high. Commentators pointed out that Reagan had achieved 4% twice in eight years, and Bill Clinton, five times, but 4% growth four years running? Never happened — and that was in better economic environments. Sanders’ 5% number was even more magical than Jeb!’s. And so the entire basis of Sanders’ promises for (promises I wanted to believe) was a historically unprecedented assumption. You can’t base a radical re-imagination of the U.S. economy and the imposition of the largest tax increases in U.S. history on made-up numbers. Sanders was able to find a single economist to weigh in positively on his plan, but that analysis was ripped to shreds by most others, who showed that Sanders’ plan doesn’t add up on its own terms (estimates are something like a $1–2 trillion shortfall even at the 5% growth assumption).

So I concluded that the backbone of Sanders’ plan is founded on, functionally, a lie.

That led me to more research. I concluded that the fact that Sanders only got three bills through Congress (two of which were for naming post offices) wasn’t the only meaningful measure, so I looked at the legislation he introduced during his senate career. It turns out that, every year, year after year, he introduced the same legislation to make a point, and no one else ever seems to have signed on to it. To me, this looked like showmanship rather than governance — an exercise designed to highlight his own support for a very progressive agenda. The hard work is to draft a bill that your co-legislators can get behind, in the political climate that exists and in the place where you work. I concluded that Sanders was less interested in actually accomplishing anything than he was in staging protests where he could claim some kind of moral high ground, not interested in getting in the weeds and doing anything to actually achieve his goals within the Congress he worked in. This research put Sanders’ supposedly pristine progressive agenda in perspective: it is very easy to maintain that agenda if you never make the hard choices necessary to get things done. Classic protester — yet handily collecting his $200,000 pay check and his lifetime of benefits while doing little to enact actual progressive policies to improve people’s lives.
I did more research than the above, but the two overarching themes I just described (magical thinking and ideological purity over practicality) seem tied together in terms of what Sanders has to offer the country with respect to governance. Further, those themes reveal a person who, while he has deep convictions about the ills of income inequality (which I wholeheartedly share), seems to be constitutionally incapable or unwilling to undertake the difficult task of actually coming up with workable, meaningful legislation and therefore who, in his own way, actually lacks character. What I started to see, and which seems to be on view more and more as this campaign goes on, is a person and a campaign that is intellectually and actually dishonest, hypocritical and sanctimonious, sexist, unprepared, lazy, cultish, and dangerous — and he has a poor temperament to boot.


The Sanders tax plan is not intellectually honest. Using economic assumptions that effectively have no basis in historical reality (i.e., making up numbers) so that you can make promises that are literally impossible to keep — even if you are elected and manage to sweep Congress — is not intellectually honest. Pretending that these plans could be enacted, without acknowledging the reality of how the legislative body works, is not intellectually honest.
Rejection of compromise is not intellectually honest. Nor is it a workable strategy. Legislation cannot be passed without compromise. As a Congressman, Sanders knows this. Compromise is not a bad thing. Should 51% of the people impose a radical new agenda on 49% who don’t want it? It makes sense to require compromise and the need for it is baked into the democratic process and our Constitution.
In rejecting compromise as a mark of lack of integrity, or worse, corruption, Sanders accomplishes two deeply disingenuous goals: (i) he sets himself apart from his colleagues in Congress as the only one who is allegedly “true” to his “values,” thereby creating the myth that he is morally superior and incorruptible; and (ii) he turns the necessity of compromise — without which literally nothing can get done in Congress — into a negative, very similar to the Tea Party and hardliners on the far right in Congress, thereby allowing him to transform his failure to compromise and thus his failure to have achieved any workable progressive legislation in 25 years into a “virtue” — a testament to his supposed integrity.
Attacking Hillary Clinton for supporting the 1994 crime bill that her husband signed when she was First Lady is intellectually dishonest. This is so on several grounds. First, his attacks omit that he himself voted for that bill; Clinton supporters have had to bring that up. Second, Sanders keeps attacking Hillary for having on one occasion used the term “superpredator”, when she has already apologized for it, said she would not use it today, and has put it in context (which I think makes clear it was not intended as code for race or to apply broadly), and yet he never admits that he used the term “sociopath” in when supporting that same bill, nor has he ever apologized for doing so. Instead, he rips out all context and background for that bill, pins the entirety of its consequences on Hillary (who did not vote for it), and omits his own role in voting for it and the reasons why so many people supported it at the time, including him and the Congressional Black Caucus, despite its warts. So he blames Hillary for the draconian sentencing rules that the GOP insisted on in order to pass the bill, contributing to a false narrative he has constructed that Hillary is not actually a liberal.
When confronted about his dishonest and hypocritical approach to discussing the crime bill and his own support for it, Sanders lied. He claimed that he supported it in part because it included an assault weapons ban. This is false. He voted in favor of an earlier version of the bill, which did not include that assault weapons ban. Other Democrats — not Sanders (who never pushes for gun safety legislation) — then insisted on that assault weapons ban. He voted for the new version of the bill after that language was added. It’s dishonest for him to take other people to task for the consequences of a bill he himself voted for, which was the product of having to compromise with the GOP to get anything done, while blaming Hillary for the GOP’s actions, lying about his reasons for voting for it, and refusing to acknowledge or take any responsibility for his own role. It would be so much more productive to have a national dialogue about what we learned as a nation from these mistakes, the role of systemic racism in mass incarceration, and a proposed set of recommendations and legislation to correct it now, instead of disingenuously attacking, blaming, and lying by omission about Hillary, and further erasing the historical reality in which that bill was passed.

Sanders’ corruption argument — which has now become almost the entire message of his campaign — is also intellectually dishonest. The role of big money in our election process is disgusting and I think everyone despises it. Citizens United, that awful Supreme Court case that gutted campaign finance reform and opened the floodgates to PACs and superPACs and dark money, has been universally condemned by Democrats, who have tried and failed to get the Senate to pass legislation required to begin the process of amending the Constitution to overturn it. Hillary Clinton has personally been on the receiving end of coordinated attacks by that kind of money for many years, and the Citizens United case itself involved the use of funds to attack her. She immediately denounced the decision and overturning it is part of her campaign platform — whether through the appointment of more progressive judges on the Supreme Court or by Constitutional amendment, and that was her own platform and position before Sanders announced his candidacy.
So this is not an issue he “owns” or brought to light despite claiming — falsely — that he does not accept money from PACs. Sanders has called Clinton corrupt and all other Democrats corrupt as he runs on the Democratic platform, undermining the very party he claims to want to lead and, again, suggesting that only he can be trusted because their fundraising is suspect, while his is not, because he does not “take” money from corporations. This argument is dishonest, sanctimonious, and misleading, and has allowed Sanders to set him himself on a pedestal while fomenting unfair negativity.

Sanders insinuates Clinton’s positions on Wall Street reform and other issues are driven by campaign contributions. He hasn’t pointed to and can’t point to any instance in which Clinton’s vote or action anywhere has been a result of a campaign contribution. Her campaign platform, moreover, includes all kinds of regulation on many of the industries that Sanders insinuates she won’t take on. There is literally no proof or evidence that she has ever voted based on a contribution or that she will do so — it is pure insinuation.
Sanders accepted $10,000 from a Hillary superPAC in 2006 when he was running for re-election. Apparently superPAC money is only bad when Hillary is his opponent; otherwise, he’s okay with it.
Sanders accepts money from PACs. The PAC money he has accepted has typically been from unions, lobbying groups, single-issue groups, and other special interest groups, but these are still PACs — they just happen to be for groups in industries that he does not revile. The fact that they are left-leaning does not mean they are not PACs.
Sanders insinuates, and has started to state outright, that Hillary and other Democrats’ positions on Wall Street form, universal health care, and climate change are based on ties to those industries. The insinuation itself is at odds with history. The Democrats enacted Dodd-Frank (which has a process for breaking up banks) after the financial crisis — how or why did they do this if they are all the corporate shills that Sanders claims they are? Obama raised over a billion dollars to get elected in 2008 and then again to be re-elected in 2012. He has done more for progressive causes than anyone since LBJ. Is he a corporate shill, bought and sold, corrupt? Did his climate change efforts not go far enough because he is corrupt, or because of implacable GOP opposition? Are the Democrats who have pushed for health care for years, including Hillary, lying when they put forward a platform that calls for progressive change?
Sanders uses terms like “Wall Street” and “fossil fuel industry” to imply that entire industries have engaged in a coordinated effort to dump piles of cash on Clinton — and have done so as a quid pro quo. The reality is that campaign contributions come from individual human beings, who then indicate what line of work they are in on their contribution form. Sanders uses the fact that he has few contributions from people who work in the financial sector to suggest that Hillary is in bed with the “industry” and that that is the reason she does not demand the immediate breakup of the big banks. But Hillary was NY’s senator for eight years and the financial sector is a huge source of jobs and tax revenue for the state of NY; it’s hardly surprising that individuals in that industry would not give money to the man who vilifies them multiple times a day as immoral scourges ruining America, and who wants to break up banks without having a clue as to how he would do so or why or what he would do afterward to address the effect on the economy. In other words, support for Hillary from these people doesn’t mean she’s bought and sold by them; it means they don’t want Sanders, and who can blame them?

What Sanders does is very devious: he trades on legitimate and widely shared concerns about the role of big money coming from the wealthy, including billionaires like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson, to then suggest that individual contributions from anyone in any industry he doesn’t like are part of a coordinated industry/billionaire attempt to avoid regulation and to further enrich the one percent, and then he insinuates that Hillary must be bought and sold by those industries because of those individual contributions. That way, anyone who supports her is part of the problem. And then it becomes an act of immorality to vote for her, and a symbol of one’s own moral purity, indeed a rejection of corruption itself, to vote for Sanders. Clever. Intellectually dishonest, McCarthyite, and gross, but clever.
And he even goes even farther. He attacks anyone who does not agree with him or who endorses Clinton as “establishment.” Thus, Planned Parenthood, which has been subject to so much hate and false attack and whose employees risk their lives on a daily basis to go to work in the face of death threats and bombings, is “the establishment” — so its endorsement of Hillary is to be written off and distrusted. Same goes for NARAL. Same goes for the Human Rights Campaign, and long-time public servants like Barney Frank, and Emily’s List, which is dedicated to electing women to office. The list goes on and on. According to Team Sanders, there is no legitimate reason not to support him — if you don’t, it must be because you are a shill, an establishment member, an apologist for the status quo, not a true progressive, not a real liberal. There is no space for considering that Planned Parenthood and NARAL endorsed Clinton because she has been a champion for reproductive rights, not simply a supporter.
Sanders attacks Clinton for attending big-money fundraisers (he even called the Clooney event “obscene”), even though the fundraisers are also to raise money for multiple down-ticket Democrats who must get elected if any progressive legislation is to get through Congress, and even though these fundraisers are nothing next to the fundraising the GOP engages in.

Further, in the past he has attended big-money fundraisers for himself and other Democrats — it is only now, in this election, that he has taken issue with them. While I know he sincerely wants to fix our system, his attacks are less about how to fix the system (because that can only be done via Constitutional amendment or the Supreme Court) than they are about positioning himself and political posturing — by de-legitimizing every aspect of the fundraising that is essential for getting Democrats elected within the system that we unfortunately have, and falsely conflating the role of individual contributions with the outsized role of dark money, he both deliberately builds distrust for Clinton as corrupt, and creates a false narrative that Clinton wants neither to fix the system nor enact sufficiently progressive change. This is intellectually dishonest and hypocritical.
Were Sanders to win the Democratic nomination, he would have to take corporate PAC money in addition to the PAC money he already accepts, and he would need to attend big fundraisers because he would need hundreds of millions more dollars to compete with the flood of GOP money in the general both to win himself, and to support other Democrats. It would be a necessary evil, as it is for Clinton. If he eschewed the money in the general, he would lose (and Democratic-affiliated super-PACs and dark money that he cannot control would support him anyway). Thus, his supposed moral purity concerning campaign contributions is purely situational, as is also evident from the examples I gave above. And though I haven’t looked into it much beyond the $10,000 in PAC money he had no problem with taking from Hillary in 2008, it appears he’s taken over $2.2 million from PACs during his senate career, but Sanders doesn’t mention the facts. Instead, he attacks her, and his supporters seem to believe him, as being a tool of the fossil fuel “industry”. And then he says that that is why she doesn’t support an absolute ban on fracking and that means she must not care about the environment! She couldn’t possibly have developed a less absolute position because the issue is complicated and a total immediate fracking ban has consequences worth considering — from job losses to the immediate effect a total ban would have on our oil and coal dependence (and prices for electricity).
Similarly, Sanders suggests Hillary’s reluctance to run in and break up the banks is evidence of her “ties to Wall Street”, when, in fact, the government already has that capability and rules for making it happen under Dodd-Frank (facts he seemed unaware of during the Daily News interview). It couldn’t possibly be that Sanders’ idea is a bad one, could it? Or that Hillary’s regulatory proposals for dealing with “shadow banking” participants actually make more sense and will do more to reduce risk than Sanders’ one-note idea?
Sanders also falsely peddles the corruption narrative based on Clinton’s speaker fees. Not only has he suggested that merely giving a paid speech is evidence of corruption, he has lately ratcheted up this attack to imply that her Wall Street reform proposals are a function of having been bought by Goldman because she received $675,000 for speaking to their employees three times, but his attacks on her speech-giving are disingenuous and problematic for a number of reasons:

1. There is no connection, nor could there be one as a matter of chronological reality, between Clinton’s receipt of speaker fees between 2013 and 2015, and any positions she held or decisions she made before those dates. Hillary’s paid speeches were made in the three-year window between leaving the State Department and announcing for the presidency; she could not receive such fees while serving as FLOTUS or U.S. Senator or Secretary of State — positions she held for basically 20 years in a row. Thus, no aspect of her record has any connection to any speech she gave after the fact.

2. The overwhelming majority of the money Clinton received from her paid speeches went to charity.

3. Hillary’s fees are in line with what other former secretaries of state and people of similar stature have received. No other candidate has ever been attacked as corrupt for giving a paid speech. Further, no other speaker in history has been both a former First Lady of a very popular president and a former Secretary of State for another popular president — not mention also having been a two-term senator from NY (first female to hold that position), not to mention having also come closer than any woman in U.S. history to obtaining a major party’s nomination for the presidency and being a recognized leader for women’s rights. Somehow — despite decades of examples of former elected officials accepting speaking fees — it is now nefarious for people to be willing to pay to hear her speak, and corrupt for her to accept a fee when out of office? This is a new standard apparently invented by Sanders only for Hillary Clinton.

4. This new conflation of speaking fees while out of public office with corruption while in public office is analytically false while superficially appealing, rendering it all the more slippery and scurrilous. Sanders insinuates that because Clinton gave talks at Goldman, she must be doing their bidding. A look at the list of the speeches Clinton gave and received money for reveals that the overwhelming majority were for women’s rights groups and unions. But Sanders focuses solely on the three Goldman Sachs speeches. He notably ignores that a speech she gave in 2014 at the Goldman 10,000 Women dinner argued forcefully for equal pay for women and gender parity. Her use of that platform to push the same progressive agenda she has been at the forefront of for decades is conveniently absent from Sanders’ screeds against her. This speech, while unpaid, gives the lie to his accusation that speaking to Goldman employees equates to corruption or that her policy positions are dictated by Goldman.

But even if it did not, the argument, reduced to its essence, is that the very act of receiving a speaker fee is itself a form of corruption — at least, if the speech is given by Hillary Clinton, and given to a group Sanders does not like. This is intellectually dishonest. He’s certainly not attacking her speeches to women’s rights groups, or questioning her motives there, because he can’t. So he selectively focuses on a bank that symbolizes greed in the public’s mind and attacks her receipt of the fee as “evidence” she will not support the very regulation she has proposed. What Sanders’ selectivity shows, however, is that his focus on her speaking fees is a campaign tactic adopted to push the false corruption narrative, allowing him to deflect criticism of his own blunderbuss “break up the banks” platform by painting Hillary’s arguably superior alternative platform as the product of corruption rather than legitimate disagreement.


Some examples of Sanders’ hypocrisy are above. But that isn’t the end of it. Sanders claims he wants a political revolution to achieve progressive goals. But he has not supported the election of other candidates who will be necessary to pass progressive legislation through Congress. Until a few days ago, Sanders had raised $1,000 for candidates besides himself — compared to over $20 million Clinton has raised. Now he is supporting three candidates. And in his speeches and debates, Sanders draws no distinction between Hillary and the GOP, contributing to the Nader-esque view prevalent among a subset of his supporters that there is no difference between the parties and that Clinton is a closet Republican.
It is one thing to keep his campaign alive to the end to get the message out, but it’s another when the campaign pretends that progressive goals can be attained by him alone, without Congressional support, or by young people simply showing up at his rallies.
Sanders has gone too far, and character assassination and innuendo have subsumed his campaign. Instead of discussing progressive solutions, he now spends more time arguing that Hillary is “unqualified” because she is corrupt, untrustworthy and immoral based on her fundraising or speech giving. Many of his supporters will come around (recognizing that a GOP victory in November would be catastrophic), but he has disciples, and I don’t think they will. The Bernie or Bust movement is real and its adherents appear immune to reason and to fact. They seem honestly to believe not only that Sanders is morally superior, but that there is no distinction between Hillary and the GOP, that she is corrupt, and that they cannot be “true to themselves” and the ideals they like to think they stand for, unless they do not vote against her. And the difficulty in bringing them around is a product of Sanders’s own making. It is due to his dishonest character assault on Hillary and his refusal to acknowledge any meaningful difference between her and the GOP. It is hard to see how they will ever believe Sanders’ (present or future) back-pedaling that Clinton is an acceptable human being after for hearing for months that she is a corrupt member of a corrupt (undefined) “establishment.”
And this is where I find Sanders to be the most hypocritical, dangerous, and downright hateful: he knows Clinton is a liberal, and very liberal at that. He knows she’s to his left on guns and women and LBGT and a range of issues. He knows the range of progressive achievements she had and helped secure, and he knows that she has developed a full range of progressive solutions in many more areas that he has and to a much more detailed and targeted degree than he himself has. He likely knows she’d be more effective than him in office, and I do not doubt that he knows she is a good person. But he pretends otherwise and smears her and all his congressional colleagues as shills. If he would have just stuck to the issues and spread his message in a positive way, we would not have this bitter, festering hatred of Hillary that he is stoking and exploiting, which could really have negative consequences in the general, both at the presidential level and downticket.
Sanders is also hypocritical because he attacks Clinton for not being transparent, but has failed to disclose his tax returns, and both he and his wife, Jane, have lied about it when questioned.

1. First, they both said all their returns had been released. This was false. The Washington Post reported that they had released a page or two from their 2014 return, but not the whole return, and nothing from any prior years. Clinton has produced her returns going back about a decade and every major presidential candidate produces their tax returns. (Sanders has only now, after much pressure and ridicule, released the full return for 2014 — but only for 2014.)

2. Second, originally Sanders claimed he could not produce his tax returns because his wife does them. That’s absurd — his tax returns from prior years are all finished; it doesn’t matter who does them, he’s responsible for them because he signed them and has access to them.

3. Third, his wife Jane lied in an interview the other day when asked if they had produced their returns, saying they had done so (even though the Washington Post had already demonstrated that claim was false). When pressed by the reporter, Jane then said she would produce them “if” she could find them, and when asked how hard finding her returns could possibly be, she shifted gears and said, “we’ve been kind of busy,” so yeah, maybe, when she gets a chance; and then she claimed they hadn’t produced the tax returns from prior years because “they” had not been running for office in the past; and when the reporter reminded her that her husband has been in office for many years, she just sat there.

I don’t know why Sanders does not want to produce the tax returns, but simple-minded lying about why they have not produced them is a very poor reflex and suggests something is up. My suspicion is that their income and assets may be higher than they have let on, which no one would care about at all, but for the fact that he’s staked out this ground of moral superiority based on that supposed lack of assets — in other words, the returns are likely to reveal he has more than people think and may not be in the 95%.
Sanders also sets himself as the one true progressive, turning himself into some kind of human litmus test for progressive purity. His more credulous supporters have totally drunk this Kool-Aid and it’s been grotesquely effective, and I really can’t stand him for it. The reason I can’t stand him for it is that while Hillary Clinton has made mistakes and made judgments I do not agree with (same with Obama, whom I love), she has spent her life striving to make the world better for women and children and people of color and dedicated her life to doing so in actual, concrete, provable ways that have had real results for people’s lives. Sanders sits on his moral high horse and attacks her, while he’s accomplished little (and some of the legislation he’s been on board with is outright disgusting — for example, his support for gun manufacturer immunity and opposition to the Brady bill):

Meanwhile, while Clinton was working in the trenches to understand the issues and learn from her health care task force failure, which then led to CHIP and insurance for millions of children, where was Sanders? “Literally, standing right behind you” will laugh his supporters, because there’s a picture of him behind her at a photo-op from 1994. But other than standing in the photo, what did he do to “support” the effort? He voted against the bill. What legislation has he drafted that has helped any child or person get insurance?
Sanders is out there attacking Obama and Hillary for the Affordable Health Care Act as if the Democrats sold out the progressive agenda in 2009–10 when they fought tooth and nail against lockstep GOP opposition for what they could get and managed the greatest legislative achievement (even though it is far from perfect) in generations, so that 20 million Americans who did not now have health insurance, and Sanders attacks them and suggests they are corporate shills in thrall to the insurance companies? This is outrageous. It is disingenuous. It is wrong. And it is lazy, binary thinking that omits history and political reality. But this is of a piece with Sanders’ entire approach — he’s a professional protester, and little more. Except, apparently, when it comes to guns, and environmental racism, and pork from the military-industrial complex for Vermont. His opposition to the Brady bill and support for gun manufacturer immunity are well-known and, in my view, are indefensible positions. The argument that he opposed modest regulations regarding guns because of hunters or small gun shop owners in VT can’t pass the laugh/smell test. His active role in pushing to get VT’s radioactive waste dumped in a poor Latino community in TX (Sierra Blanca) (while his wife sits on the commission in VT!) is ignored by his supporters and omitted by his campaign. And he worked hard to bring home the bacon for VT in the form a $1.35 billion war machine known as the F-35, which is the walking definition of waste in defense contracting.

And one of Sanders’ worst hypocrisies concerns the primary process itself. Sanders has been an independent for years. He switched his affiliation to Democrat in October not because he wants to be a Democrat, but because he knows he cannot get elected as an independent. He said himself in an interview that the reason he switched was that he needed the media coverage in order to run a viable campaign at all. And now he’s running as a Democrat trashing other Democrats as corrupt. Sanders’ negative messaging isn’t about the GOP — it’s about the Democratic Party and its most likely nominee. I doubt independents care much about this, but it’s really pretty disgusting. The Democratic nominee is the head of the party and has an obligation to try to work with the party to elect its candidates and to advance its collective platform. Sanders works actively to undermine the Democratic Party itself.
Even worse, Sanders knew the rules of the primary process when he entered the race. The delegate and super-delegate rules were set up and agreed upon by the party in 1984; Tad Devine, his campaign manager, had a role in that process. Though Sanders knew and agreed to the rules when he became a Democrat, once it began to be apparent he would not likely succeed within those rules, he attacked the rules as unfair. His campaign set up a meme that the super-delegates are undemocratic and should not have a role in the nomination. But now that the super delegates are his only path to victory, his campaign argues that the super-delegates should play a role in the process, and that the super -delegates should not vote for Hillary if the polls are favorable to Sanders at the time of the convention. In other words, he is arguing that the nomination should be based on polling of a hypothetical Sanders/GOP matchup, regardless of the popular vote or the number of delegates earned!

Can you imagine if Clinton proposed such an absurd tax plan as Bernie? She’d be ripped to shreds for her inability to do math. No — the only way she can remotely be considered for this office is by being smarter, more accomplished, more experienced, better prepared. But that’s not enough — Sanders now (again, cleverly) attacks her experience and her qualifications and her preparedness as flaws — oh, she’s too much of a realist, she’s not a visionary, she doesn’t think big enough, she’s part of the system, if she doesn’t make impossible promises, she’s the “establishment” who doesn’t want progressive change, but if she does say she wants progressive change it’s a just a calculation to capture Sanders’ voters (never mind her record).
It’s of no moment that Sanders apologized for his surrogate’s use of the term “corporate Democratic whores” 18 hours after the fact. He let the crowd cheer that sexist term, accepted their boos of Hillary, and took no responsibility for the fact that he’s basically been calling her a corporate whore for the past month, bought and paid for along with like other Democrats. His surrogate’s use of the term “whore” was the natural extension of that, just using specific and gendered terminology to drive the point home.
Sanders doesn’t set an example at the top, he doesn’t encourage this subset of his supporters (or his campaign) to not use loaded gendered language, he allows his supporters to boo Clinton at his rallies, and he actively encourages the view of her as untrustworthy, power-driven and corrupt.
And even as Clinton and her supporters are subjected to sexist tropes and attacks, Sanders and his surrogates tell everyone that her gender is irrelevant and should not be considered as a positive factor for voting for her. Polls and anecdotal evidence (blog posts, etc.) suggest that his supporters agree with this. Thus, Sanders has very effectively neutralized if not eliminated entirely the historic nature of her likely victory, and made it almost unacceptable to care that she is a woman or to consider the benefits of her being a woman when voting for her.

The Daily News interview revealed that there is essentially nothing behind or beyond Sanders’ stump speech. He hasn’t thought deeply about the solutions that are the centerpieces of his campaign. He promises a quick fix of free college or universal health care without any admission of the colossal undertaking and work that would be required to craft these laws much less get them enacted. He offers simplistic, one-size-fits-all solutions to complex problems (break up the banks!) without considering the consequences. Questioned, all he could do was revert to the set lines he says in every speech and at every debate. The interview also revealed that hadn’t thought about a number of critical foreign policy issues.

The Daily News interview revealed that there is essentially nothing behind or beyond Sanders’ stump speech. He hasn’t thought deeply about the solutions that are the centerpieces of his campaign. He promises a quick fix of free college or universal health care without any admission of the colossal undertaking and work that would be required to craft these laws much less get them enacted. He offers simplistic, one-size-fits-all solutions to complex problems (break up the banks!) without considering the consequences. Questioned, all he could do was revert to the set lines he says in every speech and at every debate. The interview also revealed that hadn’t thought about a number of critical foreign policy issues.

More problematically, I don’t trust Sanders’ judgment, even though he got it right that one time on Iraq. Sanders has spent his life taking positions from a deeply ideological point of view, and has done so without having to ever really consider or answer for the consequences of his positions, because he’s so often been in the minority taking a protestor’s position. But a commander in chief and a president has to govern in real time and from a place of reality, not ideology, and must balance many competing interests and constituencies — two things Sanders not only has never done, but has demonstrated he has no interest in doing. It is not clear he even knows how.
His desire to break up the banks seems to be focused on punishment, and his opposition to TARP was also focused on punishment. To use his language, I think that opposition to TARP “disqualified” him from the presidency. In 2008, the Bush administration and Congress had a choice about whether to let financial institutions collapse or bail them out. Sanders was willing to let those institutions, consequences be damned, fail, because bad actors had made bad choices. He preferred to have an extended worldwide global depression — the certain outcome without TARP — rather than let those actors avoid some form of retribution for their role in the collapse.

Hillary’s response was to call the mayor of Flint and ask how she could help and then arrange a visit and meet with people and send help and develop a policy platform for addressing lead in water. (Her proposal was released on April 14 and Kevin Drum of Mother Jones is in heaven, as he has been beating the drum about the dangers of lead — its possible causal relation to crime — for many years.) Sanders’ response was to demand Gov. Snyder’s resignation. Another feel-good, I’m better than you, punish the bums reaction that, without more, does nothing to improve the situation in Flint or anywhere else. That’s Sanders — self-righteous moralizing and retribution, but no workable solution. And while I think Snyder should resign, the situation is, surprise, more complicated than that and it’s not all about Snyder.
What all this says to me is that Sanders is unwilling, unable, and temperamentally unsuited to actually govern or to engage in responsible executive decision-making. This is not a person who listens and learns or works with others or compromises; this is a person whose entire life has been dedicated to making points from a place of ideological purity. Those points are important, and I agree with most of them, but they are not a basis for electing him to the presidency.
The rhetoric both he and his campaign use also illustrates these issues of temperament that I find so off-putting. Attacking the character rather than the argument of people who disagree with you is inappropriate in a president. Dismissing as irrelevant or ignorant entire swaths of voters who don’t agree with you is inappropriate in a president. The Sanders campaign has done both, and it has done so repeatedly and deliberately.
In short, in addition to hope and idealism and thirst for progressive change (which I support and share), the Sanders campaign has also awakened a dormant left-wing Tea Party that I didn’t believe existed, but that lives in a fever swamp of conspiracy-thinking and epistemic closure and rejection of fact and binary, “us v. them” thinking. And that terrifies me. The mere fact that the left’s goals are goals I largely share doesn’t make their behavior or refusal to deal in reality any more appealing than the hard right’s similar behavior. I don’t want a left-wing analog to the extreme right’s lunacy. But that is what Sanders has unleashed among some of his supporters. In fact, he’s stoking and exploiting it, and it’s dangerous.
And so, although I will vote for Sanders in a heartbeat over anyone in the GOP (whose candidates and platform are awful in every respect), because of his words, deeds, and temperament, Bernard Sanders is not worthy of the Democratic nomination.



Kenneth Harper Finton

By Kenneth Harper Finton

n-PENIS-SIZE-628x314 Man looking in his underwear

Does the penis shrink in size at it ages? The astounding answer is “yes, it does.” Nobody talks about it. Men fear it, women don’t really care, and young men have no idea what is coming (pun intended). Sexual dysfunction in men with age is no secret. Sometimes it seems that every other ad on TV tries to sell a pill for it. Newer comedy movies are not complete until the older male has a problem with his little blue pill that leads to hilarious consequences. The percentage of potent men falls from 60% to around 30% between the ages of 40 and 70.

Most men know little about their penis. It begins to change around age 30. The head gradually loses its purplish color that is created by healthy and youthful blood flow. The head becomes less sensitive and gradually…

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Why the New Sea Level Alarm Can’t Be Ignored

The physics of ice predicts that sea level will rise twice as much by the end of the century as previously estimated.

Meltwater gushes from an ice cap on the island of Nordaustlandet, in Norway’s Svalbard archipelago.


There are days when even a born optimist starts to waver in his conviction. The release of a new study projecting that sea level could rise between five and six feet by 2100—when many children born today will still be alive and have been forced to move inland—made Thursday one of those days.


There have been lots of other studies, you might say. True: The last sea-level alarm (in what seems an endless series) came just a month ago. That analysis showed that in the 20th century, sea level rose faster than at any time in the past 2,800 years, and that our fossil-fuel emissions were very likely responsible.


Climate has changed naturally even within human history, that study said, and sea level has changed with it—but not as fast as we’re changing it now.


If you’ve been following climate science for a while, though, that wasn’t terribly surprising.  And if you’re an optimist, that study didn’t knock you off your stride.

In fact there was something almost reassuring about it: Extrapolating out to 2100, it projected a sea level rise of just three to four feet—in line with the most recent and reliably conservative report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). What’s more, the paper was co-signed by Stefan Rahmstorf, who until then had been a prominent exponent of higher sea-level-rise forecasts. So it was only slightly perverse to say that things were actually looking up.


The worst wasn’t going to happen. With three feet of sea level rise, the United States would “only” be looking at a loss of a land area the size of Massachusetts.

Or at spending many hundreds of billions of dollars to defend the coasts.


Or, just maybe, at cutting carbon emissions in time to keep things from getting so bad.

The Physics of Ice


Comes now the study published in Nature Thursday by Robert Deconto of the University of Massachusetts and David Pollard of Penn State. It’s different from other alarms, and here’s why.


Deconto and Pollard aren’t projecting the future based only on the experience of the past few millennia. They’re projecting it with a computer model of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and of the Antarctic climate—that is, from the laws of physics.


Just a model, you might say, and translating those laws into an accurate model of an ice sheet is hard. True again: the problem has stumped scientists for decades. They’ve known that ice melts, and that if climate warms enough, the ice sheet will collapse at some point, dumping lot of water into the sea. But they’ve had trouble saying how much warmth is enough and how fast the collapse might proceed. No one has ever watched it happen.

The geologic record offers some test cases. Some 125,000 years ago, for instance, Earth was in an interglacial period, like the one we’re in now, a warm interlude between 100,000-year-long ice ages. The temperature then was about the same as it is today, a degree or two warmer at most. But the best evidence indicates sea level was at least 20 feet higher—which in itself is disconcerting, suggesting as it does that we might be poised on the brink of something big.


Where did 20 feet of water come from? The Greenland ice sheet contains more than enough, but it sits on land and can’t easily fall into the sea.


The West Antarctic Ice Sheet contains enough water to raise sea level 15 feet. And if you could strip away the ice and look at the bedrock, as scientists have done with airborne radar, you’d see how vulnerable it is: Most of the ice sits not on land but on the seabed. It’s a big dome of ice rising out of a seafloor basin, like a soufflé out of a bowl. Beyond the submarine ridges that form the sloping sides of the basin, floating ice shelves extend out to sea. They act like buttresses, propping up the ice dome and keeping it from collapsing and washing away.

Warm Air, Warm Ocean, Bad Juju


Deconto and Pollard’s model shows how the West Antarctic ice could have collapsed 125,000 years ago, generating the high seas of the last interglacial. That lends credence to the model’s forecast for our future.


Three key processes are work, the researchers write. First, as the ocean warms, it melts the floating ice shelf from below, thinning and weakening it.


Second, as the atmosphere warms, it melts the ice shelf from above, generating pools that become crevasses that help break the shelf apart. Scientists saw this happen when the Larsen B ice shelf broke up in 2002, but their ice-sheet models hadn’t fully reflected the importance of the process.


And once the floating ice shelves are gone, and the warm ocean is lapping directly against the face of the grounded ice sheet, and the ice has retreated inside the submarine ridge that forms the edge of the basin, a third process kicks in. Because the seafloor slopes down toward the center of the basin and the ice dome, further retreat exposes an ever larger ice face to the warm water. That accelerates the melting.


Soon tall cliffs of ice are towering above the impinging waves. Meltwater is percolating down into the cliffs and weakening them. But even without the impinging and the percolating, there’s only so tall an ice cliff can get before it becomes unstable.


Richard Alley of Penn State, who collaborated with Deconto and Pollard on an earlier study, has flown along what may be the tallest ice cliff on Earth today, the face of the Jakobshavn glacier on the west coast of Greenland. It is 30 stories tall, he says, and contains 10-story-tall cracks. It is retreating rapidly, by calving giant icebergs, but still there are long periods of waiting between calving events, when the glacier is just slowly thinning and getting ready to launch another floating berg.


The Thwaites glacier in West Antarctica is far more massive than the Jakobshavn glacier. According to another alarming study published last year, it has already become unmoored from the 2,000-foot high submarine ridge that holds it in place. If it begins to retreat down the long slope toward the center of the ice sheet, the cliffs it would produce would be far taller than the Jakobshavn one—and probably not stable.


“Then, rather than break-wait-wait-wait-break, it might switch to break-wait-break or just break-break-break,” Alley says.


That’s what Deconto and Pollard’s model suggests could start happening to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet by the second half of this century, if we don’t curb our carbon emissions: Just break-break-break.  And by 2100, when sea level had risen five or six feet, the breaking would have only just begun.

Time to Yell ‘Fire’?


If we burn all of our fossil fuel reserves, another study last September confirmed, we’ll melt the entire Antarctic and probably all the ice on Earth. (Check out maps showing what that would look like.)


“All of us are fully aware how wrong it is to falsely yell ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater,” Alley writes. “But we are also aware of how wrong it is to sit silently while a fire begins to spread in that theater.


“Right now, I do not believe humanity can continue with unchecked warming while confidently assuming that sea level rise will be limited to roughly three feet in a century. Instead, the recent modeling now favors the view that continuing rapid warming will cause sea level rise to be larger, and perhaps much larger, especially if we look beyond the end of this century.”


On the other hand, according to Deconto and Pollard, if we take vigorous steps to reduce our emissions—of which the steps promised by the recent Paris agreement are only the first—we could still save even the fragile West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Which means we could still save Miami. (Read about how Miami is facing up to the challenge.)


But that may just be the optimism talking.


Thie story was originally published by National Geographic at this link:


Report Claims The United States Is One Of The World’s Biggest Global Tax Havens

Us Tax Havens

On Sunday, a massive data leak popularly called the Panama Papers revealed who among the world’s wealthy are hiding their millions from taxation — and people all over the globe have been quick to criticize international tax havens like Panama for laws which they believe effectively encourage such evasion.

U.S. political leaders have been quick to add their voice to the outrage.

“There is no doubt that the problem of global tax avoidance generally is a huge problem,” Obama told reporters at the White House on Tuesday. “The problem is that a lot of this stuff is legal, not illegal.”

However, some critics have suggested that global tax havens exist right within American borders, and that individual states’ legal systems encourage it.

“There’s a big neon sign saying the U.S. is open to tax cheats,” John Christensen, executive director of the Tax Justice Network, told the Associated Press.

According to Christensen, the U.S. ranks third in the world in financial secrecy — behind Switzerland and Hong Kong — with states like Delaware, Nevada, South Dakota, and Wyoming having tax systems that are particularly friendly to individuals hoping to stow their wealth in secret.

To those calling for global tax reform, it’s also problematic that the United States will not share financial information about foreign clients such that other countries can better identify their own tax dodgers — even though the U.S. demands that other countries do so — the AP reported.

Since 2014, “more than 90 countries have signed on to an information-sharing agreement set up by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development,” wrote the AP. “The U.S. is among the few that haven’t joined. American banks don’t even collect the kind of information foreign countries would need to identify tax dodgers.”

In short, critics say that the United States is both a site of tax evasion and a source of the problems in cracking down on it. “Washington’s independent-minded approach risks tearing a giant hole in international efforts to crack down on tax evasion, money laundering and financial crime,” the Tax Justice Network wrote in a report last year. It also added that foreign elites have “used the United States as a bolt-hole for looted wealth.”

According to financial crime experts, individual U.S. states compete with one another to make it easier to set up corporations, so much so that it’s occasionally the case that nothing is known about who even owns the corporations — which makes it that much harder for them to be taxed properly, if at all.

“We have states that set up corporations where there’s no information about ownership,” Jack Blum, a Washington lawyer who specializes in financial crime, told the AP. “The states make a lot of money doing that.”

By lowering business and incorporation licensing fees and demanding little information on ownership, these states attract a lot of business, which to critics means that there is little to no incentive for these states to change their laws. Likewise, these consistently lax laws provide even more of a reason for shell corporations to continue popping up in the United States.

“Nevadans will continue to see nefarious business practices like those reported in the Panama Papers if state officials don’t change the laws of incorporation,” Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nevada, told the AP.

“It is time for the state to tighten its disclosure and liability laws and remove the sign from our front yard that says: ‘Sleazeballs and rip-off artists welcome.’”


Savannah Cox is the Managing Editor of All That Is Interesting. She holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations and works as a reporter/producer for DNA info.

Supermassive Black Holes


This computer-simulated image shows a supermassive black hole at the core of a galaxy. The cosmic monster’s powerful gravity distorts space around it like the mirror in a fun house, smearing the light from nearby stars.


NASA/ESA/D. Coe, J. Anderson and R. van der Marel (Space Telescope Science Institute)

Scientists have discovered a supermassive black hole that may be the biggest ever spotted — and its location in a ho-hum group of galaxies suggests that cosmic monsters like this one might be more common than astronomers previously thought.

The newly discovered black hole is about 17 billion times more massive than our sun. Another black hole is currently listed in the Guinness World Records as the heaviest, because it may be as much as 21 billion solar masses. But the measurement of that black hole was not very precise and it might actually be less massive than the new one, which is described in this week’s issue of the journal Nature.

“It has highest confidence of anything I’ve seen of being the largest black hole,” saysKarl Gebhardt, an astrophysicist at the University of Texas, Austin and expert on black holes. He was not involved in the study.

Astronomers know only of a few black holes that have reached this mind-boggling size. Garden-variety black holes that form at the end of a star’s life are much, much smaller. The recent observation of gravitational waves, for example, detected ripples from the merger of two black holes that were each roughly 30 times the mass of the sun.

And then there are the so-called supermassive black holes that can be found at the center of galaxies, like the one in our own Milky Way. “I hate to call that one puny, but it has only 4 million solar masses, and we found one that is 17 billion solar masses,” says Chung-Pei Ma, an astronomer at the University of California, Berkeley who led the research in the Nature study.

What strikes her is that this beast lives in what she called “a cosmic backwater,” an average-looking group of galaxies. The only other known black holes that are about this size were found in dense clusters of very large galaxies.

“It’s sort of like, you would expect to find skyscrapers at the center of Manhattan, but this one is more like finding a very, very tall building somewhere in a small town in the U.S. where you would not expect to see something so big,” Ma says. “It gives the possibility that these monster black holes are much more common than previously thought.”

What’s more, the center of this black hole’s galaxy is strangely empty, says team member Jens Thomas, a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics in Garching, Germany.

Thomas says it looks like an astonishing number of stars were ejected as two galaxies merged and their central black holes came together.

“Because the black hole is so large, and the progenitor black holes also were so large, the amount of stars that have been ejected from the center is as much as the Milky Way disc,” Thomas says. “And I think this is pretty fascinating.”

That scoured core of the galaxy also struck Gebhardt. “It’s kind of like it’s evacuating the center part of the galaxy,” he says. “This is probably the most extreme example of that configuration.”

And astronomers like to study the most extreme examples, Gebhardt notes, because those are the best tests of whether their theories actually can explain how to make a galaxy.

“And that’s how you understand effectively where we come from — where the sun comes from, where the Earth comes from,” Gebhardt points out. “What we’re beginning to piece together is a model of the merger history of black holes throughout the universe.”



Evidence for a Supermassive Black Hole in M87

The active galaxies appear to require a compact energy source of enormous strength. The most plausible candidate is a rotating, supermassive black hole of order a billion solar masses at their center. Until recently there has been strong circumstantial evidence to support such a mechanism. In the past few years evidence of much more direct nature has emerged.

The left portion of the following Hubble Space Telescope photograph shows the center of the giant elliptical galaxy M87, which is the 87th entry in the famous Messier Catalog. This galaxy is believed to contain a supermassive black hole of several billion solar masses at its center. The observations indicate that approximately 3 billion solar masses are concentrated in a region at the galactic core that is only about the size of the Solar System. The diagonal line across the right image is a jet of high-speed electrons approximately 6500 light years long that is probably being ejected from the galactic nucleus by the black hole located there.

The right side of the figure illustrates schematically Doppler shift measurements made on the central region of M87 that suggest rapid rotation of the matter near the center. The measurement was made by studying how the light from the disk is red shifted and blue shifted by the Doppler effect, using the Faint Object Spectrograph aboard the Hubble Space Telescope. Part of the swirling disk spins in Earth’s direction and the other side spins away from Earth, thus causing opposite Doppler shifts. The gas on one side of the disk is moving away from Earth at a speed of about 550 kilometers per second (red shift). The gas on the other side of the disk is approaching the Earth at the same speed (blue shift).

This high velocity suggests a huge gravitational field at the center of M87, far larger than could be accounted for by the visible stars there.  This is what would be expected for matter swirling around the supermassive black hole, with part of it falling forever into the black hole and part of it being ejected in the high-speed jet seen coming from the nucleus of M87. Here is a simulation of what gas swirling around a supermassive black hole in the core of a spiral galaxy might look like (Source).

Evidence for a Supermassive Black Hole in NGC4261

The following image shows a composite of ground based optical and radio telescope images of the galaxy NGC 4261, and a high resolution Hubble Space Telescope image of the core of this galaxy.

Click here for a more detailed description.

NGC 4261 has enormous jets shooting from its core and very strong radio frequency emission. It is thought that the jets are powered by a gargantuan black hole of perhaps a billion solar masses, and that the ring in the Hubble image is an accretion disk feeding the black hole. The black hole itself presumably lies inside the bright spot at the center. Even a billion solar mass black hole would be too small to see in this image, for as we see in the following table, it would only be the size of the solar system.

Radius for Black Hole of a Given Mass 
Object Mass Black Hole Radius 
Earth 5.98 x 1027 g 0.9 cm 
Sun 1.989 x 1033 g 2.9 km 
5 Solar Mass Star 9.945 x 1033 g 15 km 
Galactic Core 109 Solar Masses 3 x 109 km

Velocities near the Center of M84

The following figure illustrates observations taken with the Hubble Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (Ref and Ref) of a region across the center of the galaxy M84, which is in the Virgo Cluster about 50 million light years away.

The right portion of the figure is a radial velocity distribution across the slice illustrated in the left portion of the figure, determined by looking at the Doppler shift of light coming from this region. As one approaches the nucleus (moving downward in the right image) there is a sudden blue shift, indicating rapid motion of the gas near the nucleus toward us. The Doppler shift indicates that the velocity toward us reaches as high as 400 km/s at a distance only 26 light years from the center. Then suddenly the sign of the radial velocity reverses and a redshift indicating similar velocities away from us is observed, with this red shift decreasing rapidly as one moves away from the center (toward the bottom of the right diagram).

The most obvious interpretation of these data is that there is a large rotating disk around the nucleus of M84 that we are seeing in cross section. Above the nucleus in this image the disk matter is moving toward us at 400 km/s, and below the nucleus the disk matter is moving away at similar velocities. The only simple explanation is that this is an accretion disk feeding a supermassive black hole in the center of M84, since no other explanation could easily account for gas velocities of these magnitudes near the center. Thus, we may take the “S” shape of such velocity distributions for galactic cores as telltale signs for an accretion disk around a supermassive black hole.

This black hole interpretation is strengthened by previously known information about this galaxy: its nucleus very active and emits jets of particles that are very strong radio sources. The observed radial velocities near the center suggest a mass of about 300 million solar masses for the black hole.

A Black Hole in the Sombrero Galaxy?

The image on the left is of the Sombrero Galaxy (M104). This galaxy is a strong X-Ray emitter, and unusually high velocities are observed for stars near its center; this raises speculation that it may have a black hole of approximately 1 billion solar masses at its core. Credit: T. Boroson (NOAO /USGP), W. Keel (UA), KPNO

Origin of Supermassive Black Holes

It is now believed that many galaxies have supermassive black holes at their centers, and that whether such galaxies are active galaxies is a question of whether mass is being fed into these black holes. The simplest ideas for the origin of such supermassive black holes are that they are conglomerations of many star-size black holes that were formed during the history of a galaxy, or perhaps that galaxies formed around large black holes that then grew by accreting matter.