YaHooka vs Yahoo!, Hemp helps Chernobyl, Driving high

Short stories about interesting news.

YaHooka vs Yahoo!
One of the coolest resources for web-friendly puffers is YaHooka, a homegrown index of pot-related sites which plays off of the name of search-engine giant Yahoo. This isn't uncommon, as many other sites do the same thing, including JewHoo, Ya Hey, and even Net'n'Yahoo (about the late Israeli Prime Minister).

Yet for some reason the $40 billion Yahoo has taken offence at the tiny YaHooka, and on January 9 YaHooka received a letter ordering them to shut down their site or face a trademark infringement lawsuit.

The most recent news from YaHooka was that they had retained legal council and are now in negotiations with Yahoo.

The conflict has spawned articles in Wired and a number of online magazines, and ultimately brought YaHooka far more public attention than they would ever have received otherwise.

? YaHooka: www.yahooka.com

Hemp helps Chernobyl

This spring will see hemp being sown in the contaminated soil surrounding Chernobyl, the site of the world's worst-ever nuclear disaster. International hempseed broker, Consolidated Growers and Processors (CGP), have teamed up with the Ukraine's Institute of Bast Crops and a company called Phytotech, to use hemp to remove radioactive elements and heavy metals from soil and water in the contaminated area.

Phytotech specializes in phytoremediation, which means using plants (phyto) to clean up polluted sites. Phytoremediation can be used to remove radioactive elements, and to clean up metals, pesticides, solvents, crude oil, and other toxins leaching from landfills.

Plants such as cannabis break down organic pollutants and stabilize metal contaminants by acting as filters or traps. "Hemp is proving to be one of the best phyto-remediative plants we have been able to find," said Slavik Dushenkov, a research scientist with Phytotech.

Research by the Polish Institute of Natural Fibres released in 1995 showed that high levels of heavy metals in soil do not impair cannabis growth, and that yield and fibre quality do not differ from those obtained on regular soils.

? CGP: PO Box 2228, Monterey, California, 93942-2228; tel (888) 333-8247; email info@congrowpro.com; website www.congrowpro.com
? Phytotech: tel (732) 438-0900; fax: (732) 438-1209; email phytotechinc@yahoo.com; website www.phytotech.com

Driving high

The largest-ever study into drugs and driving was published in Australia last October. The study was performed by the University of Adelaide and Transport SA, and found that drivers with cannabis in their blood were slightly less likely to cause accidents than those without.

The study analyzed 2,500 accidents, matching blood alcohol and drug levels of injured drivers with details from police reports. Researchers found that drug-free drivers caused the accidents in 53.5% of cases, while drivers with cannabis in their blood had a lower culpability rate of 50.6%. Injured drivers with a blood-alcohol concentration of more than 0.05% were culpable in almost 90% of accidents.

This study confirms the results of a comprehensive 1992 study by the US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), which concluded that marijuana is rarely involved in driving accidents except when combined with alcohol, and that "there was no indication that marijuana by itself was a cause of fatal accidents."

A 1983 study by the NHTSA which used stoned drivers on simulators concluded that the only statistically significant effect associated with marijuana use was slower driving! Another NHTSA study performed in 1993 dosed drivers with THC and tested them on real roads. It concluded that "THC's adverse effects on driving performance appear relatively small."

Despite these studies, efforts are being made by police around the world to determine just who is driving high and who isn't. In 1996 German police announced they were working on a blood test which would determine more than just whether THC was present in the blood. Their "Cannabis Intoxication Factor" blood test is designed to reveal how high you are, with a CIF of 10 being considered equivalent to a 0.11 blood-alcohol level. How they arrived at that comparison in light of the above research is unknown.

Meanwhile, police in the US and Canada are being trained to identify drug using drivers by a variety of supposed traits and effects. Police trained in such techniques may be used to screen drivers at road blocks, with those drivers deemed suspicious being forced to take blood or urine tests.

? If you know anyone who has been arrested in a drugged-driving check, contact Dan Loehndorf at Cannabis Culture: (604) 669 9069; email chaplain@cannabisculture.com

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