Denial: An Unlikely Path to Sexual Transition

 

Denial: The First Step to Acceptance

Directed by Derek Hallquist (2016)

Film Review

This is a very unusual documentary. I assumed it would profile the climate denial movement, but it does so only very indirectly. The film is actually a very touching profile of the filmmaker’s father, the obsessive compulsive CEO of a Vermont electrical utility who makes the difficult decision at age 50 to transition to female.

David Hallquist, whose Vermont Electricity Cooperative runs on hydropower, has been an industry pioneer in promoting the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. In the film, his wife and adult children struggle with his decision to become female. It features clips from the therapist they work with. The latter helps other family members fully understand and work through their feelings of denial.

For me, the most intriguing segment of the film concerns Hallquist senior’s diagnosis of state 3 prostate cancer. When his oncologist recommends castrations (which has a 90% success rate), he’s almost gleeful to be relieved of the difficult decision whether to move from occasional cross dressing to full hormonal transition.

 

 

 

 

Raw Milk and Civil Disobedience.

Milk?

Real Stories (2017)

Film Review

An over-the-top campaign by the FDA to arrest and intimidate US producers and distributors of raw milk has led the sale and consumption of raw milk to be the third most common form of civil disobedience, after marijuana possession and tax evasion. See The Federal Campaign Against Local Health Food

This is the first time I’ve seen the issue of raw milk portrayed as a form of civil disobedience, which it clearly is. Otherwise I had a problem with the way this documentary was divided into pro-milk and anti-milk camps. People who wish to consume milk need clear and accurate information about some of the health risks. Unfortunately this film leaves viewers  with the sense that milk-related health risks are far too complex for consumers to reach any clear conclusion.

The Powerful Dairy Lobby

Owing to billions the dairy lobby has spent on marketing (and a fair amount of bribery and corruption at the US Department of Agriculture) the supposed health benefits of milk, milk and dairy product are the most consumed food on earth. Milk and dairy products account for 46% of the average American’s diet.

The filmmakers interview a host of independent researchers, government scientists, dairy farmers and industry lobbyists. Some of the research presented is highly concerning, such as the 27-year China study linking casein (milk protein) to liver cancer and studies linking Monsanto’s genetically engineered growth hormone (given to US cows and excreted in their milk) to prostate cancer. This dangerous Monsanto product is banned in everywhere but the US.

Among other significant facts filmmakers omitted is that many from specific ethnic groups (especially those of African or East Asian origin) become ill when they drink milk. This is either because they lack the enzyme necessary to digest lactose (milk sugar) or the enzymes needed to digest casein (milk protein).

The Raw Milk/Pasteurization Debate

I was also irritated by the portrayal of the pasteurization/raw milk issue as a matter of conflicting opinion. Numerous studies have documented that pasteurization doesn’t destroy micobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP), the organism linked with Crohn’s Disease, a chronic, severely debilitating and sometimes fatal intestinal condition (see Mycobacterium Avium Tuberculosis).

What pasteurization does accomplish very effectively is the destruction of all the beneficial enzymes and bacteria in raw milk. Raw milk is used therapeutically in Europe for a number of health conditions related to dysfunctional gut bacteria (irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, diabetes, autism, mental illness, depression, anxiety, immune deficiency, Parkinson’s Disease, eczema and psoriasis).

 

Cellphones and Cancer

Resonance – Beings of Frequency

James Russell 2012

Film Review

Part I

 

Resonance – Beings of Frequency is an informative, well-researched film about the growing number of health and environmental problems linked to cell phones, wi-fi and cell phone masts. The title refers to  “Schumann resonances,” named after German physicist Winfried Schumann. It refers to natural low frequency electromagnetic radiation emitted by planet Earth. The beginning of the film, which delves in depth into Schumann’s obscure discovery, is likely to be off-putting for people with no physics background. Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is tough enough to get your head around, much less the concept of wave pulses and frequency. I sincerely hope people will ignore or fast forward the first few minutes. The rest of the film is well worth watching and discusses an alarming body of research about a potentially dangerous technology that was widely implemented without any testing of its potential effect on human health.

In my view, the only physics people need to understand the film is 1) that the microwaves produced by cell phones and cell phone masts, like light and radio waves, are a form of non-ionizing (i.e. non-radioactive) electromagnetic radiation 2) that by definition, EMR are intertwined electrical and magnetic fields that travel as waves and 3) that all life forms produce it. The scientist who explains electroencephalograms (EEGs) and electrocardiograms (EKGs) later in the film puts this across quite clearly. In higher animals, the presence or absence of life is measured by their ability to give off EMR. An EEG measures the EMR given off by the brain. When the EEG flat lines, the patient is considered brain dead. It’s game over when the EKG, which measures EMR emitted by the heart, flat lines.

The film mainly focuses on research linking the staggering increase of man made EMR in the environment and the sudden onset of global bee colony collapse syndrome; the sharp decline in migratory bird species and the current epidemic of breast and other cancers. Obviously the cancer link will be most concerning for most viewers. There are now several dozen studies of the cancer clusters found in people living in close proximity to cell phone masts. The film features an interview with a breast cancer survivor living near a mast who surveyed all neighbors within 0.5 km of the mast. Seventy percent of them had developed breast, prostate or other cancer, leukemia or some other fatal or debilitating illness.

The Link Between Microwave Exposure and Breast Cancer

The link between breast cancer and exposure to toxic endocrine disruptors (found mainly in insecticides, cosmetics, plastics and diets high in animal fat) was established nearly ten years ago. However it remains very troubling that large numbers of women with no genetic history or lifestyle exposures are developing breast cancer as young as thirty-five or forty. The film suggests many of these cases relate to a far more insidious lifestyle factor. With more than 500 million cell phone masts scattered all across the planet, electromagnetic smog is an environmental exposure that is virtually impossible to avoid.

Resonance – Beings of Frequency presents some very convincing research about the negative effect of microwave radiation (the type produced by cell phones and cell phone masts) on Melatonin production and the essential role this hormone plays in immune function. This is the first time I have seen a mechanism proposed to explain how wireless technology might be increasing cancer rates.

A lot of people are aware of melatonin’s role in promoting sleep – that low light levels cause the brain to produce melatonin and that this is the hormone that sends people off to sleep. Studies showing that it’s also an antioxidant (i.e. a vitamin or hormone that destroys free radicals) even more powerful that Vitamin C or Vitamins less well publicized. However it’s well recognized that the main cause of aging and most forms of cancer can be traced to free radicals attacking the nucleus of normal cells.

Recent research suggests that the pineal gland (the part of the brain that produces melatonin) can’t distinguish between light waves and other forms of EMR – that this explains why people exposed to high levels of microwave radiation produce less melatonin. Presumably this makes their body less efficient in destroying the free radicals that cause cancer. Studies showing that patients with breast and prostate cancer have lower Melatonin levels tend to validate this hypothesis.

(To be continued with a discussion of the link between cellphone technology and bee colony collapse disorder, which is decimating bee populations worldwide.)