Google Grants, the non-profit version of AdWords, was created ten years ago to help anyone with a good cause and now it’s funding ganja farmers.
Google has decided to award $240,000 in AdWords advertising and other services to Michigan Compassion, a non-profit set up to promote the benefits of medical cannabis.
The decision raised a few eyebrows in the blogosphere, as it seems to fly in the face of Google’s own AdWords policies.
Google doesn’t like to meddle with tobacco or prescription drugs, but Michigan Compassion is not a direct retailer for cannabis or drug paraphernalia. Speaking of which, Google does not allow the direct sale of drug paraphernalia, but it does allow the sale of vaporizers, provided they are promoted as humidifiers or aromatherapy devices.
A Google spokesperson told Search Engine Watch that the Michigan Compassion ads are designated as non-family safe and they are approved only in states where medical marijuana is legal, which tend to be the same states that don’t teach creationism in schools, for whatever reason.
What do manned missions to Mars and marijuana have in common? Well it seems that NASA’s only way to get to Mars is by getting high and now a former NASA scientist is looking to apply his life-support expertise to marijuana growing.
Dale Chamberlain spent years working on advanced life support systems and hydroponics, hoping that NASA would go to Mars sooner or later. Sadly though, financial concerns have forced NASA to all but shelve its plans for a manned mission to Mars.
Chamberlain then decided to develop a self-contained hydroponic system for DIY marijuana growers in Colorado. Since it is now legal to possess and grow cannabis for personal use in the South Park state, Chamberlain though it would be a good idea to apply his expertise to this growing field, pardon the pun.
Colorado state law mandates that marijuana growers need to have an enclosed, lockable space and Chamberlain’s Colorado Grow Box offers just that. It is a lockable, self-contained system that requires very little maintenance.
“The bottom line is people don’t have time, they don’t have time because of a job and other things to deal with,” Chamberlain told The Rocky Mountain Collegian. “With my background with plant chambered automation systems, it is a natural conclusion to build a chamber that would be like a refrigerator, where all you need to do is go and open the door and get your bud.”
In addition to the hydroponic grow box, Chamberlain has launched a marijuana growing school with his cousin. Dubbed the High Altitude School of Hydroponics (HASH), the school offers three levels of classes designed for the casual grower. He is also considering producing videos to reach “students” who can’t attend classes, and considering his target audience, there’s probably quite a few of them.
A Montreal man has been told to pay Facebook a billion dollars in compensation after he sent more than four million spam emails to the social notworking site’s users.
According to Cnews Adam Guerbuez did not admit to sending the spam however he did not contest the September 28 Quebec Superior Court ruling.
The court fined him $100 for each of the 4,366,386 spam messages that were posted onto Facebook profiles in March and April 2008. By the time everything is added up he owes Facebook $1,068,928,721.46.
What will have him gutted is that he is also barred from opening a Facebook account which will mean he is cut off from his friends.
Guerbuez says Facebook will not get a cent as he has filed for bankruptcy so the lack of a social notworking account is probably going to be the only punishment he will receive.
Facebook says Guerbuez posed as a friend and posted ads for various products on a user’s wall.
Quebec Superior Court Justice Lise Fournier wrote in her ruling that the barrage of spam was unprecedented and the method used was particularly efficient given that the spam appeared to be coming from users’ friends.
Guerbuez set up fake websites that posed as legitimate destinations and tricked users into handing over their passwords. After Guerbuez he gained access to user’s personal profiles, he used computer programs to send out millions of messages promoting a variety of products, including marijuana and penis-enlargement products.
Guerbuez said that the fine was excessive and said that spam was nothing more than a nuisance. All you have to do is press the delete button.
T-Mobile is being sued for blocking text messages dealing with medical marijuana.
EZ Texting, which sends out group messages for all kinds of businesses, including the marijuana website, has filed a suit in the US District Court. It alleges that on September 10 the dope-y mobile phone operator blocked the messages as it “did not approve” of text messages sent by one of its clients, LegalMarijuanaDispensary.com
WeedMaps.com, as it’s otherwise known, describes itself as “a community where medical marijuana patients connect with other patients in their geographic region to freely discuss and review local cannabis co-operatives, dispensaries, medical doctors and delivery services.”
According to the lawsuit, EZ Texting is being “irreparably damaged in its business because of the blocking by T-Mobile….The thousands of EZ Texting’s customers — which include both for-profit businesses and non-profit organisations — that rely on EZ Texting’s short code (which is akin to a telephone number for text messages) cannot be reached by T-Mobile’s cell phone users, nor can those businesses and non-profits reach T-Mobile’s cell phone users,” it said.
However, it seems the courts think it’s a load of old puff rejecting EZ Texting’s motion for “early relief.”
In a statement to msnbc.com, T-Mobile said that “each carrier has a process to ensure that content providers like EZ Texting follow the Mobile Marketing Association’s U.S. Consumer Best Practices Guidelines for Cross-Carrier Mobile Content Programs, as well as other regulations applicable to the mobile content business.”
It said it had found that EZ Texting “had not followed this process for WeedMaps and therefore turned off the short code that EZ Texting was using for these services.
“The content of the WeedMaps service simply had nothing to do with T-Mobile’s decision,” it added.
Is it time to weed between the lines?
Social not-working behemoth Facebook has been up to its old tricks again. The company decided to ban ads for Just Say Now’s pro-use marijuana campaign, as well as blocking web platform Power.com from being mentioned by users.
In a commentary, Richard Esguerra of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) rightly reminds users that “social networks like Facebook — while useful, interesting, and pretty — are “walled gardens” with overseers whose interests can overwrite free speech, open communication, and in this case, essential political debate.”
And he is rather right. Despite Facebook currently losing in court to Power Ventures, the company providing Power.com, and the EFF, it should not hinder users posting a link to the website.
Neither should it nonsensically bar ads from a political campaign group, especially in light of California’s upcoming Proposition 19 vote, which will allow voters to decide if dope should be legalised in the USA once again.
A site like Power.com which allows people to use various social networking sites certainly doesn’t have Facebook’s well-being at heart, in contrast to its users. Proactively censoring links to such a service and trashing a political campaign however is thoroughly bad behaviour and reeks of the ancient block-out practices companies such as Microsoft and Intel were once known for.
Perhaps Facebook ought to add a clause for the surrender of first amendment rights to its terms of service.
While it could well be argued that online gambling in the shape of the Stock Exchanges and the bankers have plunged the USA and Western Europe into the deep deficits we’re suffering from – and the lack of pensions and the like – two bright Democrat politicians think that America should gamble, gamble, and gamble again.
There’s a “ban” on internet gambling in the United States – unless you dabble in stocks and shares rather than the nags of course – but Jim McDermott – cheery looking chap and Barney Frank, two chancers, sorry politicians, from the Democratic Party believe that if internet gambling was legalised it could raise $42 billion for the government over the next 10 years.
According to the egregious Wall Street Journal, McDermott told the House Ways and Means Committee today that the government is sending a multibillion dollar industry underground and off shore. That’s creating tax crooks who daren’t tell the IRS they’ve made money on online poker or 12 card brag.
The politicians think they could tax the earnings at eight percent as well as spur the local cybercasino or two. Or 12,000.
States don’t have to decriminalise gambling under McDermott’s proposals.
If there’s a sufficient deficit, we suspect that the usual moral stance against addictions like gambling, alcohol, prostitution or marijuana aren’t necessarily an objection as long as the money comes rolling in. Moral+Money=0, because Moral=0.
Recreational drugs have been the focus of much negative attention of late with the oh-so-predictable moral panic in the tabloid coverage of M-CAT use. Corrupting our young’uns these drugs are, they say. And with stories of a new variety of legal high named MDAI about to hit the market in the UK it appears that despite the move to criminalise users of the ‘plant fertilizer’ there is little hope of respite from the heavy-handed scaremongering in the media.
However, a relatively rare pro-drugs story has cropped up recently regarding a positive application of the clubbers’ drug of choice; ecstasy. Rather than focusing on more widely discussed side-effects such as a risk of liver failure, and an even higher risk of dancing like a twat whilst listening to trance music, scientists at a conference in California have revealed how ecstasy is being used to combat symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Many people who are afflicted with PTSD following an event such as sexual abuse or witnessing an act of extreme violence are usually offered cognitive behavioural therapy and drugs such as paroxetine and setraline to combat symptoms. However there are often cases where sufferers don’t respond to treatment and it is hoped that administering MDMA will work in such instances.
The study conducted by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studes, a non-profit research company who have battled since the mid-eighties to test the medicinal effects of various banned substances such as marijuana, looked at how serotonin released in the brain by MDMA would allow PTSD patients to calm feelings of fear and defensiveness during recuperation.
20 subjects were looked at who were resistant to traditional methods and were given ecstasy on two to three occasions over the course of 20-30 psychotherapy sessions. Two months later only 15 per cent still exhibited symptoms of PTSD compared to 85 per cent as seen in a control group taking placebo pills, while long term effects were similarly positive.