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Prophet 451

Prophet 451's Journal
Prophet 451's Journal
May 31, 2014

Would you support cannabis legalisation?

Let's say that we have a proposition to make cannabis legal, subject to the same restrictions as booze (i.e. age regulation, no driving, no handling a firearm). That would include provision to grow your own for personal use or sharing with a few friends.

Would you support legalisation under those provisions?

May 20, 2014

E-cigarettes 'help smokers to quit'

Smokers who use e-cigarettes to quit are more likely to succeed than those who use willpower alone or buy nicotine replacement therapies, such as patches or gum, a study suggests.

The survey of nearly 6,000 smokers found a fifth had quit with the aid of e-cigarettes.

That was 60% higher than those who did not use the devices, the study said.

The University College London team said they were "cautiously positive" about the role e-cigarettes could play.

E-cigarette use has shot up in recent years.

Action on Smoking and Health estimate there are more than 2m people using them - triple the number from two years ago.

Half of current or ex-smokers have not tried them compared to 8% in 2010.

Users experience the sensation of smoking by inhaling a vapour which contains a concentration of nicotine.

But they remain controversial. The Welsh government wants to restrict their use in public places, because of fears they normalise smoking.

BBC News

The study also shows that use of e-cigs by people who've never smoked barely exists, that the NHS regulator is looking into adding them to the NHS's aids to stop smoking and that, while not everything is yet known about the effects of e-cigs, they're likely to be far less harmful than tobacco smoke.

I've been using my e-cig for a little under two months. I was a 50-a-day smoker for 25 years. As soon as I started using an e-cig, that went down to four or five and within a month, I was able to cut out those last few. On Thursday, it'll be a month since my last cigarette and I'll consider myself as having quit. That's with no cravings, no irritability and no real downside. I had a couple of days of feeling like I needed to do something with my hands but that was easily dealt with (I just painted more). There's no second-hand smoke (so my SO and cats are better off), just the smell of cinnamon. In time, I'll gradually reduce the amount of nicotine in my liquids until I'm just puffing flavoured steam (I'll keep doing that simply because I enjoy it).
May 16, 2014

No problem

Right, "Rom" means "man" (in the sense that one might speak of mankind) but can also mean "male" or "husband" depending on context. "Roma" is the collective name we give ourselves. "Romani" (sometimes with two "i"s) can be used instead of "Roma" but more commonly refers to the Romani language. Sinti, I'll get to in a second. Our language is shared... to an extent. Again, I'll come back to that in a second. The word "gypsy" is controversial. It's patently inaccurate (it's derived from "Egyptian" from the Middle Ages assumption we were from Egypt) but some find it offensive and some don't. Personally, I don't find it offensive. "Gyppo", however, is roughly akin to using the n-word to a black man and a really good way to start a fist-fight.

Right, potted history is that we originated in Northern India. We left India sometime around the Ninth century. According to current theories, the Roma left India in three distinct waves which give rise to the great clans: Roma (yes, also used to refer to us as a people, it's confusing) who travelled among central Europe and the UK; Sinti (Germany & Austria) and Kale (Spain). We're also related to the Dom (MidEast and Turkey) and Lom (Caucasus) but whether they're simply clans of the Roma people or distinct but related ethnic groups depend on who you ask. Personally, I tend to think of them as two more great clans because that gives us five and that's a psychologically appealing number (yes, sometimes I can be that shallow). Each great clan is sub-divided into smaller clans such as the Rom/Romale, Kalderesh, Lovari, Gurbeti, etc. And the smaller clans are subdivided into families. I am of the family Nock, which is part of the clan Rom/Romale, which is part of the great clan Roma. To add to your confusion, the Roma of different nations use different terms for themselves. Here in England, the preferred term is "Romanichal".

When we left India, we had a shared language and to some extent, we still do. However, in the intervening eleven hundred years, the language has evolved into seven related languages and numerous slightly different dialects. According to Ethnologue, the most widely spoken are the Vlax, Balkan, Carpathian and Sinte. To make all this even more complicated, Romani has thousands of words appropriated from areas we travelled through or settled in and we're traditionally an oral culture, it's only very recently that we've started writing down things like our history. The result is that a Kalderesh and a Sinti could communicate enough to get the basic gist of what each was saying but would lose finer, more subtle meanings.

For books, I can't help you. However, I've heard good things about "I Met Lucky People" (Yaron Matras). I can direct you to several websites though:
InOtherWords have a pretty good overvie (http://www.inotherwords-project.eu/content/project/media-analysis/terminology/terminology-concerning-roma)

Wiki has a pretty good account of our history (although it differs from our folklore origin myths): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Romani_people

ScottishGypsies is a pretty good info source, just be aware that it has a stated area of focus: http://www.scottishgypsies.co.uk/

Finally, GRTHM have a fair bit of decent info: http://grthm.natt.org.uk/index.php

May 7, 2014

e-cigs NOT a gateway to new smokers, study finds

A study by ASH has found that almost all e-cig users are either current or former smokers, not new users. Yes, this is from a British survey but I'd imagine that US results are pretty similar. What's more, the study found that the majority of e-cig users are using rechargeable batteries and refillable cartridges/tanks, rather than the disposables released by the big tobacco firms.


May 1, 2014

I'm now a week without cigarettes, just an e-cig

This is why the anti-ecig crusade some seem to be on is so misguided. In the space of about six weeks, I've gone from 50 a day to 0, thanks to the e-cig. I'm going between three flavours of liquid, a tobacco, a cherry and a cinnamon.

Without the e-cig, I would still be smoking. With it, I've quit smoking with no real cravings. The slightly different sensation takes a few days to get used to and I haven't quite gotten up the courage to get rid of my tobacco yet (not least because tobacco is expensive so if I dump it, I'm out £50) but essentially, I've quit. And I keep hearing complaints about e-cigs having sweet flavours, like adults are only allowed to have "used ashtray", "boiled jockstrap" and "stale beer" flavours, all others are for kids.

This is why the crusade is so misguided. I'd been smoking for 25 years and I've been able to quit. My mother, who's been smoking for fifty years, is using e-cigs to quit. If you ban e-cigs or regulate them out of existence, we would still be smoking.

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About Prophet 451

Opinionated Englishman.

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