Archive for December, 2013

If you are like me then you own a computer and other electronic devices, many people across the world fall into this camp.  If you are reading this blog, chance are you’re one of us. Being a technology user you probably know what a blight tangled wires can be in your workspace. This blog will give you some quick tips to help with that.

Thankfully my room isn't this bad.

From the anime Serial Experiments Lain

As an aside, I love the anime Lain, it is something I watch whenever I feel like the real world is starting to drop away into fiction and blend in with the digital world. I would say it comforts me, but if anything it is quite the opposite;  Lain offers us a mirror of our own world’s future, a possibility of where we are going. Enough on that, back to tangled cords.

1. If you have extra length in a cord bundle it up. Why have excess hanging all over the place if you don’t need it?

2. Try to hide your bundles of excess cord under or behind your computer desk to keep them out of the way and protected.

3. Use the clips from bread-bags to sort your cords. I did not create this one, I merely TumblrdUpon it, but I certainly advocate its use and use it myself to keep things organized. With my set up (pictured below) I color coded my clips, preventing any need to label them. Blue is my monitor because a monitor plug is generally blue. Green is for sound because generally your sound cable is tipped green. Yellow for my clock for no particular reason (alarm clock = yellow like the sun when waking up?). The large white one is from a potato sack and is used for my laptop power cord because the others wouldn’t fit on it.

Bread Clips

See an updated version of this post on The Leaf Online,Cannabinoid Profile – THC!

I will be working to update and expand all of these posts with  time and as I come across more research, if you know of anything I may have missed please bring it up.

Hope you enjoy learning about the medicinal and recreational benefits of THC; remember, all use is medicinal use. There  is no way to stop that THC from preemptively fighting your cancer, even if you ‘just wanna get high’ you’re still medicating.

THC

Formula: C21H30O2
Molecular Mass: 314.2246g/mol

Decarboxylation Point: ????
Boiling Point: 157 °C (315 °F)

LD50 (Lethal Dose): 150 lb person would need to eat 1 pound of 50% pure THC hash in one sitting to overdose, ~1260mg/kg (Compare to Nicotine: for mice – 3mg/kg for humans – 40–60 mg/kg) [More on Δ9-THC’s LD 50 can be found here.]

While Δ9-THC is the most common cannabinoid in most plants it is not the only THC in cannabis, it is joined by THCa, THCv, and Δ8-THC, as well as a slew of other cannabinoids, including CBD and CBG. Δ9-THC is the primary psychoactive compound that has been identified in the cannabis plant, though other trace cannabinoids may be psychoactive and many more modulate how THC effects the body. Δ9-THC is the cannabinoid responsible for the fabled munchies that cannabis users speak of; ironically THCv, it’s chemical relative, is being researched as an appetite suppressant (more on that in a future blog).

Therapeutic Uses

Analgesic – Relieves pain.

Anti-Emetic – Reduces vomiting and nausea.

Anti-Proliferative – Inhibits cancer cell growth.

Antioxidant – Prevents the damage of oxidation to other molecules in the body.

Antispasmodic – Suppresses muscle spasms.

Anxiolitic – While not fully recognized as an anxiolitic compound THC does seem to assist in the anxiety associated with PTSD.

Appetite Stimulant – Δ9-THC is the only cannabinoid identified that is an appetite stimulant, giving people the stereotypical “munchies” many users describe.

Euphoriant – Produces feelings of euphoria, promotes happiness and relaxation.

Neuroprotective – Slows damage to the nervous system and brain.

Currently Being Studied For

Cancer: THC has been shown to halt the growth of tumors, and in some cases shrink them, through various methods not fully understood. In one recent case study, an infant suffering from a brain tumor experienced a 90% reduction in tumor size over a year of twice a day use of hemp oil. Veteran cancer researcher Donald Tashkin, in the largest controlled study of its kind, found that daily smoking of THC-rich cannabis resulted in lower instances of cancer than in the general population of nonsmokers! Think about it; all smoking causes cancer by creation of benzopyrene, but despite that THC is a strong enough anti-proliferative to prevent more cancer than the smoking causes. Fun Fact: Burning ANY organic matter creates benzopyrene. This means that barbeque, toast, and even grilled vegatables can give you cancer.

Pain Management: THC has been shown to have great prospect in treating chronic pain because it seems to change “the way the nerves function.” THC also has been studied heavily for its use in treating neuropathic pain, including the pain associated with HIV and  cancer. Recent studies seem to agree that THC changes how we feel pain and makes it more bearable. It is not a pain killer in the sense that it numbs the ability to feel pain, instead it seems to raise an  individual’s pain tolerance making the same amount of pain less significant.

Anorexia Nervosa: THC shows great promise in reversing the weight loss associated with anorexia in studies on mice as well as humans. Even the synthetic cannabinoids dronabinol and marinol have been demonstrated to help with weight loss.

HIV/AIDs: Aside from assisting with the pain and nausea that often are associated with HIV/AIDs, THC directly fights the virus in unique ways that have only recently been identified. A 2012 study shows THC assisting in HIV treatment by its activation of CB2 receptors and CD4 receptors. Cannabis affects our body by interacting with our endocannabinoid system, the CB2 and CD4 receptors are a part of that system. A study from earlier this year expands on the role of THC in combating HIV through its activation of CB2.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Though THC is not commonly considered a treatment for anxiety it has shown promise for anxiety, specifically with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Gastrointestinal Inflammation: THC lowers the incidence of blockages and other gastrointestinal inflammation associated with use of NSAID anti-inflammatory drugs. THC “protects against diclofenac-induced gastric inflammatory tissue damage at doses insufficient to cause common cannabinoid side effects.” A recent survey of Irritable Bowel Disorder sufferers found that 1/6 use THC-rich cannabis to treat the inflammation.

Halent 2011 - Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Chart

References:

  1. Steep Hill Lab, Cannabinoid and Terpenoid Reference Guide; http://steephilllab.com/resources/cannabinoid-and-terpenoid-reference-guide/
  2. Skunk Pharm Research, Cannabinoid and Terpene Info; http://skunkpharmresearch.com/cannabinoid-info/
  3. SC Labs, Meet the Cannabinoids; http://sclabs.com/learn/learn-cannabinoids.html

*Note: Decarboyxlation – A chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group and releases  CO2, often triggered by heat.

 

I was listening to one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite folk-punk artists earlier today and wanted to share it with you all. I was introduced to Evan Greer‘s about five years ago through a friend, aside from countless phenomenal political discussions that I will forever cherish, Evan’s music is the greatest gift she ever imparted to me. Evan is a transgendered political activist songwriter with an anarchist bent, she is a very multifaceted individual with a lot of amazing things to say. Her music is to our generation as Bob Dylan was for the hippies; her lyrics better capture the mood of our times than any other songwriter I have come across.

Evan is part of a musical collective known as the Riot Folk Collective, a group started by folk musicians Ryan Harvey and Mark Gunnery in the 90s. While it appears that Riot Folk no longer has their own website with all the music available for donation, it is on both soundcloud and last.fm. I highly recommend checking them out if you’re into melodic punk.

While I am making this post about Fame, Evan’s entire catalog of songs is amazing. Check out I Want Something, Never Surrender, and Love Me I’m a Liberal (Phil Ochs cover) for more good tracks. If you like what you hear Evan is currently on tour around North America. I picked this song because I love the message contained in the lyrics dearly,  though that is quite true of damned near everything Evan writes.

Fame, By Evan Greer

What’s the point of fame
Except to reinforce the social hierarchies we oppose


What’s the point of a name
If it just becomes something that you drop


When you feel insecure
And you’re not sure
If everybody in the room will have heard of your band before
And you’re on tour


And haven’t seen a friend in at least a couple of days
Let me count the ways that I abuse the privilege
Granted to me by this mandolin


And my white skin that bought me my first guitar
Everybody told me boy you’re bound to be a star
Oh yes you are
Boy you’re bound to be a star


And like every major threat
They somehow find a way to buy it
They co-opt what we create
While they get rich and we deny it


The TV tells us there are stars and fans
And there’s just one way to make it
Follow the label’s rules
Use the master’s tools
And when the big deal comes you take it


You’re selling hope to angry kids
Who think that you’re the only ones
Who sing about what makes them sad
Who understand the way they feel


That’s just cuz your label pays
For multi-colored tour posters
So no one ever hears about
The kids doing it for real


And I’m so tired of these anarchist celebrities
Selling $10 shrinkwrapped CDs
Full of paper made from old growth trees
And I know that we all have our hipocrisies


This isn’t about purity or punk rock points
It’s about taking back what’s left of our ideals
And trading in our egos for our dreams


And if I start to act like them
Please call me on my shit
Cuz sometimes I get jealous
I’ll be the first one to admit


I’ve been brainwashed all my life
And now I’m trying to think for myself
I think that I might need your help

I love books and I love movies, I also love examining them to see what they tell us about a society at a given time (Example: Lord Of The Rings is about WWI/WWII in Europe). It can be interesting to see how a common narrative gets built up and developed over time, for example, the narrative of children killing eachother in gruesome ways.

In 1954, William Golding turned heads with his revolutionary book, Lord Of The Flies, about a group of adolescent boys who end up marooned on a deserted island. The book explores the boys downward spiral from civilization and order into savagery and chaos. It is the first book published I have come across where the plot can be summarized as ‘a group of children in an isolated place killing eachother.’ It was so thought provoking that it was later made into a movie by the same name, and even remade.

In 1999 the genre of children killing eachother in remote places had the novel Battle Royale added to its roster, bringing a new movie with it, including a sequel. While it is possible to believe that the remake of Lord of the Flies inspired Battle Royale there are numerous differences between the plots. Both books feature students, but the highschool class in Battle Royale is randomly selected by lottery in a society well aware of the death games played by adults; Lord Of The Flies is random in that the students are randomly marooned. The key difference is socio-cultural. One society has children growing up with the expectation that they may be called to battle and maybe die against their will; the other society is comparable to WWII era England with no such pervasiveness of death. Another difference is the addition of women and a female protagonist to balance the male protagonists (one main, one supporting).

2008 brought us the Hunger Games triology, which took the same general plot of Battle Royale, made it more Western and expanded it into three books (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay). The books have caught fire with the public and have quickly been turned into movies; Catching Fire is currently in theaters and Mockingjay is in production. You can currently see The Hunger Games on Netflix. After many silly protests I finally caved and saw The Hunger Games last night, and I’ll admit it is much more than just a Westernized remake of a Japanese film), it is a whole new twist to this half century old plot.

First off, The Hunger Games has more character development than Battle Royale and Lord Of The Flies combined. As someone who cares about plot development I appreciate this greatly. Second, while Battle Royale does involve a totalitarian government of sorts and has some anti-government themes it does not hold a candle to the anti-rich/anti-government sentiments present in The Hunger Games. Third, while every kid in Battle Royale is given a backpack with tools and weapons in them, none receive any training in personal combat. Fourth, though they are being monitored in Battle Royale and can be killed at will for bad behavior it is nothing compared to the 100% full control the government has of the forest in The Hunger Games. They can even craft new animals and summon them at will. Tied into point four, The Hunger Games is a game, a TV show; Battle Royale is televised but not to the same degree.

As someone who went to school for politics and loves plot development I have to say that the Hunger Games is my favorite of the three. As someone who has read Lord of the Flies twice, seen the original film, seen Battle Royale numerous times, and now seen The Hunger Games I feel I have a pretty firm basis of comparison. I need to read Battle Royale and the Hunger Games Trilogy to truly be sure.

I will add that there are some elements of Battle Royale that don’t fully make sense to me, that would probably have a deeper impact if I was Japanese, or at least spoke the language. Some things definitely do get lost in translation.

06

I Am My Threadbare Suit

From far away when people see me,

They see a white man in a suit.

They see my brown hair, freckles,

And the bags under my brown eyes.

 

They don’t see my Portuguese ancestry.

Immigrants like everyone else,

Who came here seeking a better life,

And got it through blood and sweat.

 

They don’t see the esteemed privilege,

Of growing up white in the suburbs.

Being gaybashed in middle school,

To the point where you leave school.

 

They don’t see that my three piece suit,

Which looks flawless from a far,

Is threadbare, breaking down, and worn out,

Held together by string and staples, love and hope.

 

They don’t see that my eyes used to change colors.

Long ago, with my mood, when I was something

Other than somber, melancholy, beaten down.

 

While they may see my eyes, burning intense eyes,

And they may see the bags, signs of a soul spread thin,

They do not see what wearies me, they do not see what ignites me.

 

If they came close enough to talk to me,

They would learn that I am no different from they.

I am flesh and blood, skin and bone,

I am a human being with feelings and passions.

 

They would learn that my passions are inflamed by injustice.

By the belief that a person being in a suit makes them better.

By the existence of my privilege, and inability to wash clean.

 

They would feel my exhaustion, radiating a latent dis-ease.

Exhausted from working, fighting, fucking, and friending,

From stressing to depressing, and a generalized lack of release,

From saving, from spending, of the cycle never ending.

 

Exhausted from planning and priming, and having to make poetry rhyming

From heartbreak and back ache, the labors of love and capital.

From subprime lending and rich rule bending, and all that corporate bling

From people living asleep, walking through the charnel house as cattle.

 

From far away when people see me,

They see a white man in a suit.

They see my brown hair, freckles,

And the bags under my brown eyes.

 

They don’t see that the man is the three piece suit,

Which looks flawless from a far, but is threadbare

Broken down, worn out, held together by love and hope.

Love for all beings, and hopeful for our future

 

They don’t see that my eyes yearn to change again.

On the horizon, seeing something other than oppression,

In my body, feeling something other than depression.

 

While they may see my eyes, inflamed by injustice,

And they see the bags, the signs of an endless struggle,

They do not struggle with me, they are merely coal.

Sometimes I am amazed by the silly things the Federal government chooses to spend money on. I say silly, but even though some of these actions are ridiculous they still harm real people at the expense of the taxpayers.

Today I came across two clandestine government programs to ensnare terrorists and drug criminals, it would seem they have only managed to arrest a brain-damaged man. The ATF agents in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, were selling weapons and other contraband out of a store front. To increase their sales they used Chauncey Wright, who has moderate mental disabilities and an IQ of 50, and ultimately arrested him for his help, even though he did not understand what he was helping. The ATF in Milwaukee is not alone in using this tactic, the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal found at least a half dozen other local branches used store front stings and many entrapped innocent people into illegal activity and bad tattoos. Many of those people also are mentally disabled. This has been such a breach of civil rights that four members of Congress are demanding an investigation.

This new ATF program builds off the disgraced Fast and Furious program, which used our tax money to pay agents to sit and watch cartel gun buyers purchase vast amounts of weapons to wage war in Mexico. The turf war between cartels and the government has claimed over 60,000 lives since 2006. Molly Molloy, a border and Latin American specialist at New Mexico State University, estimates that the deaths could be closer to 100,000. Fast and Furious was abandoned and is disgraced after an ATF agent blew the whistle on the program back in 2010; he just published a book on it if you’re interested to read more.

The ATF is joined by the beleaguered NSA, who in addition to tracking the location of every phone in the world and numerous other crimes, has been using tax money to spy on World of Warcraft players and other gamers. Yes, that means that even your Second Life isn’t safe. It seems that nothing is safe from the NSA anymore, not even your sex life.

Truly, these are all wonderful uses for our limited government resources and money well spent instead of spending it on schools or libraries. I am glad to live in such a logical country with such brilliant leaders.

Hey readers, forgive the week or so off from posting, it was my birthday and life happened. I’m back now with more posts and some big news.

Uruguay is one step away from being the first country in the world to legalize cannabis. They’re just waiting for the President to sign it into law, which he is expected to do. Once he does Uruguay will be the first country in the world where cannabis is legal and regulated by the government. Unexpectedly, only 26% of Uruguayans actually supported the bill in a poll done after it was first introduced in the summer. I say it is unexpected given the context of struggle I am used to in the US, constantly fighting to gain an inch in the war to legalize cannabis. I imagine the situation in largely Catholic Uruguay to be rather different and perhaps that reflects the seemingly un-Democratic passage of the bill.

You may be thinking, “this isn’t news, pot is legal in Amsterdam and Portugal decriminalized all drugs.” First off, cannabis and ‘recreational mushrooms’ are 100% illegal in Amsterdam but tolerated through an official policy of decriminalization. Second, decriminalization is totally different than legalization. If a compound is legal there are laws on the books supporting the right to legally use it, usually in the form of regulations on its use or distribution. Cigarettes, alcohol, morphine, Oxycontin, Xanax, methamphetamine, St. John’s Wart, and fish oil are all legal; there are laws governing their creation, safety, sale, usage, and more. This allows even potentially dangerous compounds like methamphetamine to be used in relative safety to achieve therapeutic effects but not abusive highs. It also allows for taxation to take place, like with alcohol and cigarettes; this is impossible without full legalization as one cannot tax a grey or black market.

A decriminalized market is taxable in a situation like the Netherlands with storefronts selling a product, but Amsterdam is almost a de facto legalization. The main difference between decriminalized Amsterdam and a real legal market is a difference of opinion. Namely political opinion, which can shift spontaneously, and if it does it is a small matter to arrest those shop owners and their patrons; that could not happen nearly as easily in a fully legal market. Decriminalization, like what you have in the Netherlands, is not codified. There is no law on the books instructing police that a product is legal, merely a statement that the government will no longer arrest/fine people for the formerly prohibited conduct. Usually decriminalization focuses on personal possession only with no legal protection for growers and distributors. I fail to see how this semi-legal model can ever work as well as actual legalization, but Portugal found a way and managed to cut abuse rates in half. If a country were to pursue a policy of decriminalization it should be modeled on Portugal as the most functioning model.

Back to Uruguay and how that is big news. The UN and various other international regulatory bodies exist to enforce international law, including the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. This Convention is the precursor to America’s 1970 Controlled Substances Act and establishes a similar regulatory framework for all UN member nations. Like any system with power the UNODC and its affiliates do not want to lose their power and have already sent a strongly worded letter to the US about Washington and Colorado; I am curious how they will deal with Uruguay. It would seem they plan to address it the same as with Washington and Colorado, a strongly worded letter, but maybe in time the UN will do more. Maybe in time they will impose sanctions on Uruguay for their bold decision to lead the way into a better future.


Believe it or not I am hugely into metal and have been for years. This post is going to give you a little bit of Heavy Metal History, history and metal in one united form.

From ANJ‘s album With Honor To Live, the song Mikhail Gorbachev tells the story of the former leader of the Soviet Union who presided over its conversion from communism to capitalism. The music video artistically depicts the fall of the Soviet Union in quite possibly the most hilarious manner possible, while still being (generally) historically accurate.

It depicts the process of reconstruction, which Gorbachev called perestroika (literally ‘restructuring’), he unveiled his restructuring plans at the 1986 XXYIIth Party Congress. The plans remained little more than loose sketches and Gorbachev never finished filling in the gaps later. The goal of perestroika was to confront the intense economic stagnation that the USSR was experiencing in the 1980s.

It also accurately shows the change from Stalin’s harsh totalitarianism to Gorbachev’s much friendlier and open world of glasnot, or openness. In 1988, Gorbachev introduced the other half of his reform strategy which included giving more rights to the people and the press. These rights included greater freedom of speech, more press freedoms, and the release of thousands of political prisoners. The goal of glasnot was to pressure conservatives in the Communist Party to support his policies of perestroika. While glasnot did open up his opponents to political criticism it also allowed much greater critique of Gorbachevs (arguably) poor handling of the situation.

The Stalin zombies depicted in the music video may be symbolic of the specter of Stalinism coming back from the grave, only to be lasered, axed, and annihilated by the powers of Super-Gorby. There were and still are some in Russia who would like to go back to the old days, many still admire Stalin despite his many atrocities. Super Gorbachev won’t be stopped on his path to capitalism, he even makes it rain Twinkies and Coke.

In case you were curious about the rest of the album it’s all pretty mediocre, nothing to write home about. It isn’t bad but not something I listen to regularly. Apparently iTunes felt the same way and has removed the album from sale since I bought it back in 2009.

I’m not talking about portabello mushrooms stopping world hunger. Nor am I talking about magic mushrooms making people hallucinate that they are saving the world. This post is about the myriad of fascinating solutions mushrooms, mycelium, and fungi offer to problems presented to mankind. While many of our problems are our own doing, mushrooms may be needed allies  to undo the damage.

You may be suffering from what mushroom researcher Paul Stamets refers to as mycophobia,  and now you may find yourself wondering, “how can mushrooms save anything? Get a job hippie.” This is regrettably a normal response for many when you begin a discussion with mushrooms can save the world. My love of mushrooms came from Paul’s amazing TED talk, go watch it then continue reading this blog.

You watched it now? Good.

Mushrooms have had more time to evolve than nearly anything else still living, they can do cool things like eat radiation and alter the weather, but that’s not all. Paul has six revolutionary ways mushrooms can save the world: cleaning up oil spills, cleaning up toxic waste, pest control,  biofuel manufacturing, and as a new generation of antibiotics. Most recently, it was shown that mushrooms form a natural Internet that all of the plants in the world are hooked into.

You may be thinking that a new generation of antibiotic drugs isn’t worth worrying about yet. If this is you, then you must have been living under a rock to not have heard about all the drug resistant bacteria running rampant and killing people uninhibited. If that doesn’t tickle you maybe a cure for small pox to help prevent biological warfare is more to your liking. Even if you aren’t worried about small pox everyone can do to be a bit healthier with better disease resistances, and it seems like the Reishi mushroom can do just that, maybe even cure cancer.

It is hypothesized that Jesus was a shaman, of sorts, who dolled out psychedelic mushrooms and mold to his followers to aid in his miracles. Clark Heinrich, the author of decade old book on Magic Mushrooms Religion and Alchemy, attests that Jesus used the fly agaric mushroom in conjunction with bread, like rye, who’s mold displayed ergotism. I first learned about rye bread and ergotism when I was 13 and ate a very special sandwich; that tuna sandwich remains my only LSD experience to this day (more truly LSA, a precursor to LSD). I do not recommend anyone trying to hallucinate in this manner as it is very risky and unpredictable if you will die or merely hallucinate. You’d be safer and better off eating psilocybin mushrooms.

Psilocybin has a lot more to offer than religious revelations, research shows that it can make you less depressed. The Multidisiplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (better known as MAPS) is at the forefront of research on psilocybin, MDMA, cannabis, and even more exotic things like ibogaine. Aside from helping relieve feelings of depression and other mental disorders, psilocybin also shows promise as a way to lower our socially imposed inhibitions allowing us to expand our consciousness. Perhaps that was Jesus’ greatest miracle and the real fruit of knowledge was actually a fungus.

Despite all these benefits that can lead directly to more happiness, not everything is perfect with psilocybin; bad trips can happen. I feel like most bad trips are the result of not being properly prepared, with psilocybin this includes preparing for feelings of “ego death.” Having experienced people shrooming with you and a baby sitter can help immensely. There are also people working to provide MAPS to safety from bad trips. Reading that MAPS post reminds me of my own personal harm reduction story with mushrooms, which happened at my first Burning Man. It was about 2am and an Australian man wandered up to me from an art car and said he had just been given mushrooms and it was his first time. He went on to say that he wanted to wander off into the darkness of the open desert alone, with no lights and no water. Over the course of a cigarette I gave him a light, some water, and directed him back towards his camp and away from the dangers of being high in the dark alone (getting hit by a car, for one). We need more people at festivals and concerts making sure everyone is tripping safely and responsibly. As a bartender at festivals I often risk reprimand from my bosses for giving out water or ice; I personally view charging for water at music shows as criminal, or something that should be. Having gone to many raves and seen the effects of people overheating firsthand I understand better than most how water can save lives.

Mushrooms can also save lives, with their amazing antibiotic properties and unique abilities to make formerly uninhabitable lands inhabitable. Mushrooms are the reason life was ever able to come to land due to their processing of rocks into soil allowing for the first plants to grow, creating the oxygen rich atmosphere we have grown to depend on. Prototaxites was a prehistoric plant that most scientists agree was a giant fungus, but recently an alternate view has been proposed that it was a liverwort. Mushrooms may also hold the keys to purifying our soils and air through the projects that Paul Stamets was working on. Paul isn’t the only revolutionary TED Talk about mushrooms, check out this one by Jae Rhim Lee.

Her project, the Infinity Burial Project, is a unique new approach to death and the ceremony of death. Jae has created a suit laced with mycelium that she will be buried in that will consume her remains and process the myriad of toxins that build up in a human body in the course of a life. This is the alternate she proposes to cremation, which pours those toxins into the air, or burial which has many other issues associated with it. Jae’s idea still allows for open casket funerals too. My favorite part is that it forces people to think about their death before it happens, something many Westerners never do. I was raised as a Nichiren Buddhist and have since read much about Tibetan Dzogchen Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhists strive to live a life in harmony with death, rather than in fear of it like many of us in the West. This mushroom burial suit is one amazing tool to help cultivate a death consciousness in the West.