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The Divine Comedy

Dante Divine Comedy

Around the World
half along our life’s path. Lost in a dark wood. Unable to find the right way…

Paradiso

Dear Beatrice…

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CANTO I

Jo Swindon, Liberal Democrat MP, has welcomed the decision of the advertising standard authorities banning the advert of l’Oreal Revititalift Repair 10 anti-ageing moisturiser explaining that the images of Oscar winner Rachel Weisz “misleadingly exaggerated” the performance of the product. Last year L’Oreal adverts featuring Julia Roberts and Christy Turlington were also banned for being misleading. Miss Swindon, who is campaigning against the use of unrealistic images of beauty in advertising, said that the beauty and advertising industries need to stop ripping off consumers with dishonest images. She said there was sound medical evidence that fake images cause psychological harm. Maybe now we can all go back to growing old gracefully [/three_column]

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CANTO II

Cambridge University, UK. An experimental medicine called MRK003 was found to kill pancreatic cancer cells when mixed with gemcitabine, a chemotherapy drug. Professor David Tuveson, the author of the study, said they have discovered why these two drugs together set off a domino effect of molecular activity that switches off cell survival processes and destroys pancreatic cancer cells. The process blocks the cancer cell and prevents nutrients from getting to tumours. The trial will test whether this might be a new treatment approach for patients with pancreatic cancer, said Duncan Jodrell, professor of cancer therapeutics at the university. The discovery could result in more effective treatments for the disease. Pancreatic cancer is the fifth most common cause of cancer death in Britain.[/three_column]

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CANTO III

Russian and South Korean scientists signed a deal on joint research intended to recreate a woolly mammoth, an animal which last walked the earth some 10,000 years ago. The deal was signed by Vasily Vasiliev, Vice Rector of North- Eastern Federal University of the Sakha Republic, and controversial cloning pioneer Hwang Woo-Suk of South Korea’s Sooam Biotech Research Foundation. Stem cell scientists are setting their sights on the extinct woolly mammoth, after global warming thawed Siberia’s permafrost and uncovered the remains of one of the animals. Sooam said it would launch research this year if the Russian university can ship the remains. The Beijing Genomics Institute will also take part in the project.The South Korean foundation said it would transfer technology to the Russian university, which has already been involved in joint research with Japanese scientists to bring a mammoth to life. “The first and hardest mission is to restore mammoth cells,” says another Sooam researcher, Hwang In-Sung. His colleagues would join Russian scientists in trying to find well-preserved tissue with undamaged genes. By replacing the nuclei of egg cells from an elephant with those taken from the mammoth’s somatic cells, embryos with mammoth DNA could be produced and emplanted in elephant wombs for delivery, he said. Sooam will use an Indian elephant for its somatic cell nucleus transfer. Somatic cells are body cells, such as those of internal organs, skin, bones and blood. South Korean experts have previously cloned animals including a cow, a cat, dogs, a pig and a wolf.

O Beatrice let’s hope they hurry up. Can you believe it? Will we be able to create an artificial human being, full of wisdom and free of corruption and evil? Yes, it might be a bit artificial, come to think of it…

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Purgatorio

Virgil what can be said of …

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CANTO I

who claim consumer spending is the main driver of the economy when speculators and oil companies rob consumers of their money. The inevitable result is a reduction in economic activity thanks to their speculation at the pump. The Consumer Federation of America has found that in the United States speculation inflates oil prices by $30 a barrel and raises household gasoline costs to a record $3,000 per household. Even President Obama managed to acknowledge this when he said that oil companies have had it easy for too long. Oh, man! I can smell the scent of an election in the air, so …let’s give them cake.[/three_column]

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CANTO II

…a California law that rules soft drinks containing a certain level of carcinogens must bear a cancer warning label. Therefore Coca Cola and Pepsi, instead of carrying that label, decided to make changes to the caramel colouring in their drinks. The American Beverage Association (ABA), which represents the wider industry, said that its member companies will continue to use caramel colouring in certain products, but that adjustments would be made to meet California’s new standards. I guess it doesn’t matter for the rest of the American people. Only Californians can be affected. As justification for its decision, the ABA said that California has added the colouring to its list of carcinogens with no evidence that it causes cancer in humans, noting the fact that the listing was based on a single study in lab mice and rats. I think they are right; California should have waited for the results of a proper study done on humans…[/three_column]

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CANTO III

Once associated with the psychaedelic counter culture of the 60s, magic mushrooms narrow, rather than expand, your mind. The active ingredient – psilocybin – restricts blood flow in connector “hubs” that support communication between neurons and that usually control perception and thought processes. Volunteers injected with the compound reported seeing patterns, experiencing unusual sensations, and having an altered sense of space and time. “These effects correlate with decrease in oxygen and blood in the hubs that normally speed information across the brain”, said researchers from Imperial College London. In another study they found the reduced brain activity caused by psilocybin can help people experience memories more vividly, suggesting it could be used in psychotherapy. Professor David Nutt, lead author of both papers, said, “These hubs constrain our experience of the world and keep it orderly. We now know that deactivating these regions leads to a state in which the world is experienced strangely.
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Inferno

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CANTO I

It seems that the traditional practice of a doctor breaking health news to a patient in person is long gone. Many patients in the UK are told they have cancer over the phone rather than in a face-to-face meeting. Steve Coupe, founder of Cancer Relief UK, was outraged. “It is a scandal that many cancer patients are being given the diagnosis in this way. We have had many calls from families who were upset about this.” Well, doctors are not what they used to be. They have budgets to respond to. I guess this is another way to help the NHS save money by reducing the number of patients cos a few might jump out of the window.
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CANTO II

And now something that hits us close to home: Apparently there is a group of reseachers and professionals called Gherush 92 that consults with the Social Economic Council at the UN and that develops projects for education on human rights and conflict resolution. The group has claimed that the original Divine Comedy contains homophobic, antisemitic and anti-Islamic content and should be presented to students filtered or with explanations in certain Cantos of the epic poem. Gosh, now we finally understand why the UN is in such a state and cannot seem to help in conflict situations around the world. Let’s hope they are not going to take a look at some religious literature -otherwise God knows what will happen!
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CANTO III

“I leave Goldman Sachs after 12 years because I can honestly say that the environment now is as toxic and destructive as I have ever seen it,” said Greg Smith, who resigned as an executive director and head of the firm’s United States’ equity derivatives business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He claimed, in a recent New York Times op-ed piece, that he no longer sees any trace of the culture that has made him proud to work for the firm for many years. We know of the bank’s involvment with helping Greece to qualify to join the euro when it was not ready to, and how some European countries solved their political problems by putting former Goldman Sachs staff in charge. But somebody has to question the “noble” motive behind this hasty letter. “I knew it was time to leave,” Smith writes, “when I realised I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.” Oh, boy! I guess it’s better late than never, but how much money did you get from your bonuses so far, considering you have worked for this firm for twelve years, and waited to get your last one in January before being “enlightened” with divine intervention? How much of that money has gone to charities? Because that’s the only way to redeem your toxic money and, of course, your soul…

To what other terraces of doom and pain, dear Virgil, will you accompany me… next time…

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