The art of being Azzedine Alaia, darling decorator of fashion insiders

A stunning indicate at the Design Museum presents the master couturiers own vision although sadly he wont see it. By Kate Finnigan

When Azzedine Alaia, the Tunisian master couturier, succumbed of a heart attack in Paris last November, aged 82, the Design Museum in London was seven months into preparing a big show dedicated to his run. It was to be the first fashion exhibition in the museum’s new building in Kensington and the choice of Alaia had been carefully built.” The museum has very special architecture ,” says Alice Black, co-director.” What Azzedine Alaia created over his career is also striking sculpture. We felt that his work against the backdrop of the museum would be amazing .”

Black had come to know the tiny and charismatic designer over the previous few months. The team had collaborated closely with Alaia himself, a human known for his perfectionism and hands-on approach.” Azzedine was the heart and soul of his label. For a while I wondered if the exhibition could still go ahead ,” says Black.” But because he had really wanted it, everyone took it on themselves to make it happen. It was his idea, his idea, so we hadn’t been left to second guess .”

Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier, curated by Alaia’s long-term collaborator and friend, Mark Wilson of the Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, opens this Thursday. The museum has defied the temptation to turn it into a retrospective and has stayed with the designer’s original vision for it to be a study of technique and craft, with more than 60 examples of couture pieces. It is the first-ever UK show dedicated to Alaia, who is less well known here than in his adopted France. But those who know way revere Alaia almost like no other. The industry loves a secret and there has been a cult surrounding Alaia for five decades, inspired not only by his unique- although much-imitated- style but by his desire for perfectionism( a dress could take five weeks or five years ), his refusal to be dictated to by commercialism and his personal style of business, largely conducted in his atelier-cum-apartment in the Marais around a kitchen table, where Alaia served guests with his own cuisine.

Turning
Turning heads: Azzedine Alaia with Tina Turner, Paris, 1989. Photo:( c) Peter Lindbergh( Courtesy Peter Lindbergh, Paris)

The Alaia aesthetic is so powerful that, to those who know it, merely uttering the name will summon up a vision- a living, breathing girl, her form enhanced by textiles that sculpt and mould, clinch and cling.” He’s the master of cut and fit, a sculptor,” says Wilson.” He didn’t do describes that somebody else translated. He designed everything immediately on to the body. That’s how he made things .” In both his couture and ready-to-wear collectings his materials were Lycra bandages, smooth velvet, stretching wool and leather- lots of it, moulded or cut like lace by laser or riveted with silver eyelets. Wilson is showing the couture garments, opted with Alaia, in themed clusters- velvet, African-inspired, bandage attires.” You get to see everything in 360 degrees and the groupings mean the viewer gets a better understanding of the craft and the technique ,” tells Wilson, who has now curated six Alaia indicates.” If you looked at these pieces separately, you would watch less how each of them is very special “in ones own” route. You can really consider the cuts and seaming and building, which in other exhibitions you might not be able to appreciate .”

Alaia considered the exhibition as an installation and asked artists to stimulate screens as a backdrop to his work.” I came up with the idea and Azzedine selected the artists, who include Marc Newson, Tatiana Trouve and the Bouroullec brethren. Wrapping around the walls is a series of scenes taken by Richard Wentworth, who spent two years documenting Maison Alaia.

” I attain clothes; girls stimulate style ,” the designer told. For Black, the sorcery of the Alaia look is that it is timeless.” They are garments that you look fantastic in today, much as you would have done 20 years ago, or will do in 20 years’ period ,” she tells.” It’s that craftsmanship, the perfection. In the exhibition you do assure patterns and garbs that he’s been working on and reworking throughout his career, but in parallel you see very interesting fluctuations of textile. He’s always bringing innovation in there- the laser-cutting or working with a glass powder that gives fabric an iridescence. There’s innovation as well as a respect of a certain tradition .”

When Michael Jackson built the 1992 video for In the Closet– directed by Herb Ritts, co-starring Naomi Campbell and with a voiceover by Princess Stephanie of Monaco- Alaia provided Campbell’s barely there clothes, white harvest top and flippy skirt. This was the glitzy stratosphere he occupied. The designer was stimulated more famous by a line in the 1995 cinema Clueless when Alicia Silverstone’s fashion-obsessed Cher is robbed at gunpoint and refuses to get to the ground with the immortal terms:” You don’t understand, this is an Alaia !”

But Alaia himself was not a flashy person. The word most used about him is “humble”. He was kind and empathetic, a friend and guide to many people, including Mark Wilson who knew him for 22 years.” Oh, he was a sweetheart. I loved him ,” tells Wilson.” We were household. He was my favourite artist and he also opened his home to me .” He was a father figure for Naomi Campbell, who knew him as Papa, and moved into his apartment in Paris when she was 16. The model made a compassionate speech about him at the British Fashion Awards after his death last year:” Back in the working day, our fridges weren’t stuffed with food: we bought what we consume on a daily basis and if there was one egg left in his fridge, Papa would offer it to me to make an omelette .”

Born in Tunis, the child of wheat farmers, he studied sculpture before transferring, self-taught, to manner. He moved to Paris in 1957 and got a job at Christian Dior, but was rejected after five days for not having the correct papers. After working with Guy Laroche and Thierry Mugler he set up on his own, but it wasn’t until 1979 that he opened his own atelier, where he garmented Greta Garbo and Marie-Helene de Rothschild.

He is perhaps most recognised for dressing the supermodels who bestride the 1980 s and 90 s- Elle Macpherson, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell- as well as the awesome frames of Grace Jones and Stephanie Seymour. The high levels of these women and his lack of it often proved irresistible to photographers; images of the 5ft 3in Alaia, towered over by some 6ft super-beauty, possess something of the fairytale. But his clothes were not only for Amazons. The Kardashian sisters, with their curves and gloss, look like they were conceived to wear Alaia and are devotees. So, too, is his friend the gallerist Carla Sozzani, as was her late sister Franca, who was editor-in-chief of Italian Vogue . Pale blonde Italian waifs, they slipped their slim frames into wide-tiered skirts with flat black shoes so that the architecture of the garments sway around them like kinetic sculpture.

” He was at the service of women ,” says Black.” Some have been his couture clients for a lifetime- once you start wearing Alaia you only never stop. But even with his ready-to-wear he put so much attention into the structure. They don’t crumples and don’t fall the wrong way. A lot of the women we’ve talked to mention this feeling of empowerment they have while wearing his clothes. When you feel so beautiful, you feel confident and you can go out and take over the world .”

The museum will exhibit a few garments in the public foyer, alongside photography, as a taster for a wider audience. With a new flagship three-storey Alaia store recently opened on London’s New Bond Street, this is perhaps the biggest year ever for the once tiny label. Alaia may have left us, but his legend will endure.

Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier is at The Design Museum from 10 May to 7 October ( designmuseum.org )

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Why pitchers won’t wear helmets despite Shoemaker’s 105 mph liner to the head

Since pitchers will never wear helmets on their own, its time to make the decision for them. Plus, Big Papi pastes the Donald, silly September call-ups are back and Seth Lugo spins his way into the Mets rotation

Its the nightmare scenario for pitchers: a blister line drive off the bat of a big leaguer, leaving no time for hurlers to move their head or swing the glove up for defense.

It doesnt happen often, but when it does, it stimulates for chilling video and it attains you wonder why, with only 60 feet and six inches of space between batter and pitcher, why only one of those players is wearing a helmet. When you consider that Statcast now informs of the triple-digit speeds a ball detonation off of a bat, it stimulates you wonder even more.

We dont have the movie of Clevelands Herb Score being battered by Yankee batter Gil McDougald in 1957, but weve ensure enough of Alex Cobb, Brandon McCarthy, and the five who were hit in the 2015 season to get the idea just how gruesome a scenario it is. Now weve witnessed the latest pitcher to be victimized by a line drive, Matt Shoemaker, who was hit on Sunday by a Kyle Seager laser beam at a staggering 105 mph, fracturing his skull and forcing emergency surgery for subdural hematoma.

Yet, when you consider the slow moving history of headgear in baseball, its not surprising that despite security threats that pitchers face daily, exactly zero pitchers are wearing the most recent offering from Boombang, a California-based company working on a joint helmet growth scheme along with MLB and the Players Association. Some 20 pitchers were offered the chance to try the carbon fiber caps in the spring , none of whom elected to wear them during the regular season. The Astros pitcher Collin McHugh wears a product that hasnt been tested or approved by MLB or the union, and it does not protect the ears.

In 1920, Indian shortstop Ray Chapman died after hard hit in the head by a ball from Yankees pitcher Carl Mays. Major League Baseball banned the spitball and ordered dirty balls to be replaced to keep them from darting unpredictably, yet the first plastic inserts didnt arrive until the 1950 s, and helmets werent even mandatory until 1971.

A single ear-covering flap wasnt standard until 12 year later, and it wasnt until 2013 that we even had a batting helmet capable of withstanding speeds of 100mph. Giancarlo Stanton was among the first to don a helmet capable of blocking pitchings bound for the face after he was hit by Mike Fiers in 2014, but the custom construct hasnt caught on.

Sixty-odd years after helmets were introduced to hitters, adding on to what already exists represents an easier change. Pitchers are basically starting from ground zero theyve rarely worn anything but soft caps on their heads.

Even while first and third base coach-and-fours stand on the sidelines wearing head protection, even when dugouts have been reinforced with mesh fencing protecting children from line drives, even as teams begin to install more comprehensive netting to protect the fans from at-bats and balls flying into the stands, there is the pitcher standing solo on the mound, a sitting duck, unleashing a force that can come back at him even quicker than he can deliver it.

Pitchers will not construct the change on their own because pitchers have a one-track mind its not about their head, its not their face, its all about their limb. Tom Seaver constructed his wife sleep on the left side of the bed so if she rolled over shed hit the left arm , not the right one which won three Cy Young Awards. Theyre worried about Tommy John surgery and shoulder issues. A line drive to the face? By their decisive inaction theyve shown that theyre willing to take their chances rather than add on equipment that changes routine and forces any adjustment.

Pirates Prospects (@ pirateprospects) February 21, 2016

How Many Pitchers Will Wear a Weird Looking Helmet For Extra Safety? – https :// t.co/ roomjdGcvZ #Pirates pic.twitter.com/ O1EUaMR3B4

Reliever Mark Melancon, then with the Pittsburgh Pirates and now with the Washington Nationals, experimented with the caps back at spring training.

It appears funny, Melancon told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in February. Just because of the appears, it might not be something that I wear during the season. As shallow as that seems, and Im definitely not that guy I dont know. Im only not there yet. Devote me a little time, and maybe Ill get there.

Melancon never got there, and either did any other pitcher besides McHugh in 2016.

In the NFL there is no concussion-proof helmet. In cricket there is no 100% effective form of protection, as we sadly considered when Australian batsman Phillip Hughes was tragically killed after being struck by a ball merely below the ear. Athletics will never be 100% safe and all risk will never be eliminated.

However, when youre playing blackjack, if the merchant has a face card and you have 16, the book says to make, and thats because even though the odds are well against you, you must give yourself the best chance to win. A pitcher wearing a helmet dedicates them the best chance to save them from a fluke tragedy, one that could happen at any moment. And since it seems that pitchers will never voluntarily wear them en masse, Major League Baseball and the Players Union must now make the decision to save them from themselves.

Video of the week

Knocking the cover-up off the ball is both a baseball expression and something we watched in The Natural. This week, it really did happen, thanks to the Mets Jose Reyes, albeit in less dramatic style 😛 TAGEND

Jose Reyes does his best Roy Hobbs impersonation.

Quote of the week

The fourth inning, I was still pitching good in the fourth inning…

Thats Arizona ace Zack Greinke, who told the truth on Monday after facing his old team, in his old stomping grounds for the first time since leaving LA.

Then Adrian Gonzalez went deep, and then Joc Pederson, Corey Seager, Justin Turner and Yasmani Grandal went yard in the fifth inning. Greinke, suffering through the worst season of his big-league life, depicted he maintains warm feelings for his old ballclub, permitting a career worst five home run while the Dodgers compete for a playoff spot.

Whos closer to victory: Donald Trump or the Cubs?

By now we all know that the Cubs are who we thought they were, which is a dominant baseball franchise on their way to over 100 victories for the first time since they lost the World Series in 1935. Theoretically, Chicago could have the NL Central wrapped up early next week, leaving us a good chunk of September to come up with multiple hypothetical scenarios of how their title hopes will blow out of the Windy City for a 108 th consecutive season.

Theres no key September stretch run for the Cubbies, but Labor Day does mark the start of the sprint to the White House. Trump, busy touring while tweaking a lineup of offensive gestures and controversial statements ahead of debate season, has been relatively quiet this week. However, David Ortiz did take time out of his retirement tour to address Trumps dealings with the Latino Community.

Latin people here in the United States are the sparking plug of the countrys economy, told Ortiz. Whoever resists that is going to lose. And not just Latin people, but immigrants. Im talking about people who come from Africa, from Asia, other places. All those people come here with one goal, to realise the American dream, and you have to include them in our group.

Getting smoked by Big Papi wont help you win anything, so the Cubbies get the edge this week.

How did the children piss off Goose Gossage this week?

Goose Gossage get more than an earful this week from the Canadian agricultural community: the Hunter Brothers Farm in New Brunswick unveiled a corn labyrinth immortalizing the very same Jose Bautista ALDS bat flip that at least partially inspired Gooses spring time rant. The next Hunter Brother creation? A corn labyrinth depicting geeky pencil necked baseball executives evaluating data.

CHSJ News (@ chsjnews) September 1, 2016

ICYMI: Hunter Brothers Farm celebrates @BlueJays 40 th Season with corn maze: https :// t.co/ xeTTtWu1du #NB. pic.twitter.com/ X7Hx1rf1I3

Nine thoughts in order

1) Baseballs ridiculously bizarre system of 1 September roster expansion is back, once again allowing teams to test drive prospects and brought on by reinforcements during the most important day of the season. Why baseball teams are abruptly playing by a different situated of personnel rules – the roster can swell from anywhere between 26 and 40 players – than those which governed the first 5 months remains a mystery, one that ranks up there with the NBA rule that allows a team to advance the ball to half tribunal after a timeout with two minutes or reductions in video games.

If such a system is a must have, why not let expanded rosters in April while squads continue to evaluate their rosters, as former administrator Bobby Valentine has suggested in the past. In an age of pitching limits, that would also allow a chance to go with six-man rotations for a month. Yes, wins in April count the same as they do in September, but its farcical to change the style of doing business during pennant races.

2) Baseball fans outside of Los Angeles and throughout the world have been feasting on Dodgers coverage, if merely to enjoy the iconic voice of Vin Scully during his final season of broadcasting. Some fans inside LA have been iced out of Scullys last season thanks to a long running struggle between SportsNet LA, the Dodger television network and Time Warner Cable, which has not carried the channel since 2014 due to contractual issues. Now, there is peace in our time, kind of: Charter Communications, the group operating Time Warner Cable after a consolidation, announced on Friday that it will broadcast the final six games of the season on KTLA, a free to air terrestrial channel, in order to make sure all in the area can hear Scully before he calls it quits.

3) Meanwhile, those regular season games may not be Vins final bellows, if LA stimulates the playoffs and Scully elects to do radio during the post-season. The Dodgers, already in a strong position in the NL West, will get a boost after learning that Clayton Kershaw will return to the hill on Friday against the Marlins following a rehab stint. LAs ace posted a 1.79 ERA and 145 strikeouts in 121 innings in the first half of the 2016 season, and somewhat amazingly, the injury battered Dodgers survived well without him. Kershaw, who has been among the most durable limbs in baseball, comes back with a guarantee:

Ill never get hurt again, said the three-time National League Cy Young Award winner on Sunday. Its awful.

4) The Pittsburgh Pirates are rapidly spiraling out of the playoff hunting. Their defeat on Tuesday after St Louis overcame a one-run ninth inning deficit courtesy of three rapid fire home runs. Despite such a frustrating stretching, the Buccos were find dancing in the dugout this week.

The Pirate will be adding golfing to their dance routine shortly.

Clint Hurdle either needs to dump the post-game spread or get Goose Gossage in to let the Buccos in on another unwritten rule: dancing in the dugout is dandy, as long as youre winning.

5) The Miami Marlins are another squad sliding out of the wild card race. Giancarlo Stanton, lost to injury since the beginning of August, returned ahead of schedule on Tuesday, but its likely too late. Thats because August pain also came in the form of a staggering 11 one-run losses. So far in September theyve lost just two, one-run games. Some of those losses came to the Padres, White Sox, Reds and Phillies, the kind of teams contenders feast on during the dog days of summertime. With the Gathers struggling, Miami couldve divided themselves from their NL East competitors and focused on the Cardinal. Instead, these fish are fried and their fans are reflecting on injuries and deadline bargains for players such as Fernando Rodney and Andrew Cashner that went wrong rather than a chance at the playoffs.

6) Its a different story in Detroit where the Tigers are in the thick of a tough AL playoff race. Theyve won 11 of their previous 16 games as Justin Upton sizzles: the outfielder who has posted an OPS of over 1.110 over the past 2 week is stimulating up for a lackluster start to the season while becoming a key piece to a deep lineup featuring Miguel Cabrera, Ian Kinsler, JD and Victor Martinez. Detroit rent up the Royals, White Sox and Twins in fighting the Orioles, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Astros and Yankees in a crowded playoff race. Meanwhile, the pitching staff has jumped from 13 th to second in AL team ERA since the All-Star break as Detroit head into the stretching running knowing they still have seven games remaining with the AL Central leading Indian, whom they trail by 5.5 games.

7) The Mets may not have pitchers Matt Harvey, Steven Matz and, for the time being, Jacob deGrom but they do have Seth Lugo. Mets fans who wondered who the pitcher wearing a springtime train number was just a few months back now count the hurler as one of the reasons for their sudden reversal of fortune. More specifically, its Lugos curveball that has Meets fans oggling, but theyre not alone: his hooking is the darling of those curious enough to wonder what spin rate is, and Lugo has the highest rpm all of baseball since MLB.com introduced statcast.

#Statcast (@ statcast) August 31, 2016

What does the #Statcast era’s highest-spin curveball look like? @seth_lugo demonstrates. https :// t.co/ pRKaD3 4Fsl pic.twitter.com/ EjlbYpIECV

Lugo was a 34 th round pick in 2011, but despite being rocked at Triple-A Las Vegas for over 70 innings this season, hes excelled on a big league level, posting a sub 1.00 WHIP and a 2.38 Epoch in over 40 innings in Queens.

8) Are the Giants trying to lull us all into a false sense of security? San Francisco, who have won three titles in six seasons, all even years, are in danger of falling out of the playoff race despite the fact that 16 is divisible by two. The Giants looked like they were going to run away and conceal before the All-Star break, enjoying a 6.5 game result over the Dodgers on 10 July. Since then theyve gone 17 -3 1 during a season where their bullpen has blown some 23 games. Can they turn it around? Well, consider this: the 2014 Giant that beat Kansas City in seven games also backed into the playoffs, using a few hot months to reach the playoffs. That team went just 45 -5 1 from 8 June on, built the wild card with 88 wins, handed the ball to Madison Baumgarner and, well, the rest is history. So yes, wed all be crazy to count out the Giant now, but they do need to start turning it around now, with the Dodger, Mets and Cardinals winning nearly every day.

9) And ultimately, Minnesotas Brian Dozier is on a career roll, making three home run on Monday against the Royals:

Brian Dozier hit home runs no36, 37 and 38 on Monday.

Then on Tuesday he made another against KC – his seventh in five games – which, well, is a lot. Dozier is up to 39 now, trailing Baltimores Mark Trumbo by two during a season in which hes eclipsed his career high by 11 blasts. From an organizational point of view, its astounding is of the view that, if and when Dozier reaches his 40 th home run, he will be the only player in the 116 year history of the franchise not named Harmon Killebrew to reaching that total.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

How Cannabis Cuisine Is Shedding Its Stigma And Going Mainstream

At one point in cannabis culture history, mastering the art of baking the perfect weed brownie was considered a rite of passage, but those days are long gone.

Thanks to the development of medical marijuana programs and the decriminalization and legalization of recreational cannabis in multiple states, the THC-infused world of feeds has evolved far beyond brownies, cookies and admittedly impressive dispensary snacks and moved into the culinary space.

Cannabis cuisine had been gaining popularity among casual consumers and connoisseurs alike, but now it’s being welcomed into the mainstream as never before.

When Martha Stewart gets in on the action, you know it’s run mainstream.

Media and amusement have been pushing the narrative of marijuana normalcy into the homes of more conventional audiences with demonstrates like Vice’s “Bong Appetit” and VH1’s “Snoop and Martha’s Potluck Dinner Party.” Chefs around the country are espousing cannabis and elevating the lowly edible to the same sensory realm as high-end cuisine by curating pop-up dinners, supper club and private events where cannabis can shine.

Cat Cora, the first female “Iron Chef” and an advocate for cannabis who lately graced the cover-up of Cannabis Now Magazine, is speaking out about infusing foods with marijuana.

“I’m learning a lot about utilization, dosage, things like that, ” she told the magazine in April. “I’m a big proponent for olive oil. I’m Greek, plainly, but the Mediterranean diet as we know it is the healthiest diet on the planet. So[ I’m adding cannabis olive oil to] anything that I can infuse.”

For example, she said she’s set cannabis olive oil in vinaigrette for salads. “I have so many amazing ideas and a lot of things that I actually want to apply it to, ” she added. “I want to create products around cannabis with the right partner and the right situation.”

It’s gaining respect at the top culinary levels.

This shift from stoner snacks to foodies and fine dining sets the focus not only on the buzz the plant generates when devoured but on its flavor profile and pairing abilities, just like any other herb or even wine.

Andrea Drummer is the co-owner of a Los Angeles culinary cannabis events company, Elevation VIP Cooperative. As a classically trained chef, the Cordon Bleu graduate devotes cannabis the gourmet treatment in dishes that disclose her ingenuity and ingenuity. Take, for example, her cannabis-infused bread pudding souffle, which she brulees, or her Southern take on stuffed grape foliages attained instead with collard greens filled with cannabis-infused spicy dirty rice, which she served at a private Spotify dinner event.

Drummer’s skills have earned her a place on “Cooking on High, ” the first cannabis cooking competitor show that features chefs from around the country. The show debuted on Netflix this month.

While that’s exciting, Drummer said she sees even bigger things on the horizon.

“Bringing cannabis into the culinary dialogue is important because it allows people to open their intellects to something they may have been against because they haven’t understood its potential, ” she told. “With more people becoming trained about it, I believe cannabis cooking will evolve to the place where we will see things like restaurants and cafes at some point.”

But the law is maintaining cannabis out of restaurants.

For now, you won’t find restaurants that offer full-service cannabis dining even in nations like California or Colorado.

The reason is legality.

Because cannabis is still a Schedule I substance under federal statute, states that have legalized recreational marijuana are merely offering licenses and permits that allow chefs to serve cannabis-infused food in private defines.( Simply a reminder to know your local statutes .)

To allow people who don’t live in states where private events are hosted to get a savour of what’s going on, some cooks are passing on their kitchen secrets to home cooks.

One of them is Coreen Carroll, cook and co-founder of a cannabis-infused pop-up event in San Francisco called the Cannaisseur Series. Her upcoming cookbook, Edibles, is designed to accompany both newbies and virtuosos in what she calls the modern cannabis kitchen.

Others like Drummer, Laurie Wolf, Jessica Catalano and even Bob Marley’s daughter Cedella Marley are helping people at home learn to incorporate cannabis into their cook. Their instructional guides not only share recipes but explain the basics of cannabis strains and dosing to help cooks control the type of experience they create with their food.

Gadgets can make it easier to cook with cannabis at home.

Home cooks are also being brought into the fold with herbal infusion gadgets that take the disarray, legwork and need for constant supervising out of stimulating the perfectly infused product.

Companies have been introducing countertop devices that make the infusion process as easy as brewing coffee or tea and allow home cooks to flavor a dish with cannabis the same as oregano, rosemary or thyme. With appliances like the LEVOand the MagicalButter, cooks can infuse butter or oil with cannabis by just adding their ingredients and pressing a button.

Shanel Lindsay, the founder and chairperson of Ardent, has created a smart device that helps activate the THC in cannabis. The process — called decarboxylation — involves heating cannabis up to a certain temperature to release the THC and make it more available for the body to assimilate upon consumption.

A stove or toaster oven will also do this, but Lindsay argues her device provides greater precision and temperature control in order to preserve the flavor profile and effectivenes of the cannabis. With the device, cooks can decarboxylate their choice of flower, concentrate or kief in just a little over an hour.

“It’s genuinely a one-button solution to being able to stimulate just about any cannabis-infused product you want, ” Lindsay told. “The sky is the limit.”

What’s next for cannabis cuisine in the U.S.

So what can we look forward to? Amsterdam-style coffee shops with infused goodies on the menu? Cannabis restaurants open to the public? An instructional cooking prove on a major network? A culinary cannabis school on par with Le Cordon Bleu? Perhaps.

Until then, the future of cannabis cuisine rests on the shoulders of the chefs and home cooks whose ability and dedication is expected to continue to strip away the stigma that masks the herb’s versatility.

“I think it’s really important to offer people a new way of thinking about and approaching cannabis, ” Lindsay told. “The industry is very fast-moving and it’s important that mainstream culture reflects this shift in how people are viewing cannabis and all of its possibilities.”

Cannabis cuisine awaits the final cutting of the regulatory red tape before it can move into full bloom. But the seeds have definitely been planted.

How Mind-Controlling Parasites Can Get Inside Your Head

Imagine that pesky tabby cat has been pooing in your backyard again. Unbeknown to you, it has transferred some of the parasite spores it was carrying onto your herb garden. Unintentionally, while preparing a tasty salad, you forget to rinse your hands and infect yourself with the Toxoplasma gondii spores. For months you display no symptoms, then after six months you are driving your auto more aggressively, taking opportunities in road junctions and generally filled with more road rage as you angrily gesticulate with fellow drivers. Could all this be linked to that tasty salad?

T. gondii is a fascinating protozoan parasite which, like many similar organisms, needs to move between several different host species in order to fully develop and reproduction. As such, it appears to have evolved clever methods to stimulate transmission between hosts more likely. For instance, analyses have found that once rats intermediate hosts are infected they display less caution towards cats the final stage hosts and so the parasite is more likely to be passed on.

An increasing number of studies indicate humans known to be infected with these parasites could be more susceptible to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, aggression and even increased suicide. Study have even suggested you are two to three times more likely to have a car crash if your blood tests positive for the parasite. This is particularly striking when it has been predicted that 30% -5 0 %~ ATAGEND of the worldwide population may carry the parasite.

Not so cute when you know what theyre carrying. Shutterstock

Chicken or egg ?

Very often criticisms of these studies come down to a chicken and egg topic. Correlation doesnt necessary mean causality. Are those aggressive, fast-driving people or those with behavioural conditions more likely to catch the parasites, or does the parasite cause these behavioural traits? Many of the studies were done retrospectively rather than looking at people behaviour before and after they became infected with the parasites. So for now, we cant was sure whether your road rage truly was linked to your salad.

What we do know is that there are plenty of examples in wildlife where parasites can manipulate the sex, growth, maturation, habitat and behaviour of their hosts. Hair worms, for instance, complete their lifecycle in a river or stream and appear to making such a hosts crickets attracted to water.

The effects of the parasite dont be brought to an end, either. The hapless crickets can provide fish with alternative solutions food source to their usual diet of aquatic invertebrates and, for parts of the year, can form a substantial part of their diet. So manipulating parasites can be important to preserving healthy ecosystems.

Some ant species infected by trematode flukes are manipulated in a way that builds them cling to the tops of blades of grass, which means theyre more likely to be feed by sheep. This enables the fluke to complete its life cycle in the sheep.

Chestburster. mardeltaxa/ Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

A type of barnacle parasite known as a rhizocephalan, which fees its crab host from the inside out, is known to feminise its male hosts by castrating them. Scientists have suggested they are then more likely to look after the parasite sac that explodes through their abdomens, much like a female would tend to her eggs.

Switching on genes

Through advances in molecular biology, we are increasingly working out how these parasites can change behaviour by altering gene expres the route genes can be turned on or off. For example, work in our laboratory at the University of Portsmouth is trying to uncover the mechanism that enables a newly discovered species of trematode parasite making such a shrimp-like( amphipods) hosts more attracted to the light.

Trematodes: little blighters. Josef Reischig/ Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

These amphipods would prefer to be hiding under seaweed on our shores, escaping their bird predators as the tide recedes. By chemically mapping the brains of infected shrimp, scientists have discovered that parasites somehow altered the shrimps’ serotonin, a mood neurotransmitter discovered throughout the animal kingdom. Our recent analyses have indicated that infected shrimps have subtle modifications to their serotonin receptors and the enzymes that render serotonin.

Other surveys have shown amphipods hosting similar parasites are over 20 times more likely to be eaten compared to non-infected specimens. Again, this highlights the often-overlooked importance of brain-bending parasites in the natural order of food webs.

We often think we must have discovered all the species possible in well-studied locations such as the UK, but many fascinating new manipulating parasites are yet to be discovered on our doorsteps. Our knowledge of how these brain-bending parasites interact with human species will no doubt develop more strongly over the next decade.

Alex Ford, Reader in Biology, University of Portsmouth

Read more: www.iflscience.com

From Circe to Clinton: why powerful women are cast as witches

A misogynist insult in Washington and Westminster, a force for good in Hollywood for centuries, witches have represented dread of assertive girls. But why does the stereotype persist?

During the 2016 US presidential election, American social media was inundated with images of Hillary Clinton wearing a black hat and riding a broom, or else cackling with green scalp. Her opponents named her The Wicked Witch of the Left, claimed they had sources witnessing that she reeked of sulphur, and took particular delight in depictions of her being melted. Given that the last witch trial in the US was more than 100 hundred years ago, what are we to construct of this?

In the late 19 th century, the suffragette Matilda Joslyn Gage asserted something revolutionary. The persecution of witches, she told, had nothing to do with opposing evil or resisting the demon. It was simply entrenched social misogyny, the goal of which was to repress the intellect of women. A witch, she said, wasn’t wicked. She didn’t fly on a broomstick naked in the dark, or consort with demons. She was, instead, likely to be a woman” of superior knowledge “. As a thought experimentation, she suggested that for “witches” we should read instead “women”. Their histories, she intimated, operate hand in hand.

Obviously, she was on to something. When we say witch, we almost exclusively entail woman. Sure, men have also been accused of sorcery, but the objective is by far the minority. Further, the words used to describe men with magical powers- warlock, magus, sorcerer, wizard- don’t carry the same stigma.

A better parallel to “witch” is the word “whore”. Both are time-honoured tools for policing females, meant to dishonor them into socially prescribed behaviour. A harlot transgresses norms of female sexuality; a witch transgresses norms of female power. Witches are often called unnatural because of their ability to threaten men. With her spells, a witch can transform you into a swine, or defeat you in combat. She can curse you, blight your crops, dismis you, refuse you, correct you. Penalise witches achieves two things: it ends the threat and stimulates others afraid to follow in the unruly woman’s footsteps.

Yet, despite all the attempts to stamp out witches, they are as strongly with us as ever, from Wanda Maximoff, the Scarlet Witch in the Avengers movies, to the recent film The Love Witch , to the television series American Horror Story , to non-fiction books such as Stacy Schiff’s The Witches: Salem, 1692 . The stereotypical image of the witch- green skin, pointed hat, warts, black cat- has become entrenched, but beneath that surface lies a dazzling variety; a rich diversity of women who have frightened, possessed and inspired us over the centuries.

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Bones of contention … montages of Hillary Clinton as a witch have inundated social media

Let’s start with the classic: the evil, aged crone. This image took firm root in the Christian era, when witches were women who consorted with the demon; but old and ugly witches predated Jesus. Roman literature portrayed witches as pathetic creatures with false teeth and grey hair, who dug in the ground by moonlight, tore animals with their teeth and used the organs of boys they starved to death for their spells. They had two main pastimes: making love potions, and casting curses. The poet Ovid blamed a disappointing sexual performance on a witch using a kind of Roman voodoo doll to take away his effectivenes.( Sure Ovid, that was my first supposed, too .)

The most famous of this kind is necessary Shakespeare’s weird sisters from Macbeth . They are repulsive” midnight hags”, with skinny lips, chapped fingers and beards. Their spells- eye of newt and toe of frog- are as disgusting as their appearances and curse anyone who traverses them. The classic fairytale witch, like the one in the story of Hansel and Gretel who eats infants, also fits into this category, as does the Slavic Baba Yaga, and the Wicked Witch of the West from L Frank Baum’s Oz series, made famous by actor Margaret Hamilton. The role was originally offered to the glamorous Gale Sondergaard, but she turned it down because she didn’t want to appear ugly.

Spellbound
Spellbound … Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra, who was accused of sorcery. Photograph: Allstar/ 20 th Century Fox

And ugliness, of course, is key. The haggish outsides of these witches are meant to match their evil insides, and testify to their unnaturalness, since women are supposed to be as neat, attractive and young as possible. But the association with age also contains a kernel of truth: many of the women accused of sorcery were so-called ” wise females”, older figures, often poor widows, who scratched out a living in the community with their experience as midwives, herbalists and hedge-doctors. Their solitary, vulnerable status and unusual knowledge made them perfect targets for people’s fury and fear when crops failed or newborns died.

Foreign girls were also vulnerable to accusations of witchcraft, and the association between immigrants and sorcery goes back at the least to Greek mythology. The witch Medea was the princess of Colchis, on the eastern edge of the Black Sea, which to the notoriously xenophobic ancient Greeks was alien and suspect. When Jason and his Argonauts came to claim the Golden Fleece from her parent, Medea fell in love with Jason and aided him with her spells, so that he and the Argonauts were able to seize the fleece and escape. In gratitude, Jason married Medea, but back home in his kingdom she was shunned, her sorcery and foreignness merging into a single undesirable trait. The notion seemed to have been: no wonder she’s a murderous sorceress, she’s from the east.

This type of nativism also pops up in Shakespeare’s The Tempest . Sycorax, the witch mother of Caliban, is from Algiers, and though she never appears in the play, she is a harrowing, hideous figure, a” blue-eyed hag “, who is hunched over with” age and envy “. She was cast out from Algiers( the implication is that she was too wicked even for them ), and came to the island, where she “litter[ed]” her deformed son, practised her magic and worshipped her pagan-sounding deity, Setebos. Towards the end of the 17 th century, the slave Tituba, who may have been South American, was is the responsibility of leading the innocent( white) daughters of Salem into evil. Her experience as an outsider among the witch-hysterical Puritan is brilliantly imagined in Maryse Conde’s novel, I Tituba, Black Witch of Salem .

Fears of sorcery grounded in racism persist even today. The Roma, longtime outcasts in Europe, have frequently been accused of evil magical. And African-influenced voodoo is routinely used by Hollywood as a horror movie plot point.

But it wasn’t just vulnerable women who described accusations of witchcraft. It was also women with serious political power. Joan of Arc led the French to victory against the English and was renowned in France for her purity, cleverness and religion in her “voices”. When the English leadership couldn’t beat her, they undermined her, crediting her success to demonic means, since, of course, a young lady could never perform such wonders on her own. When she was captured, they tried her for sorcery, quoting as partial proof of her unnaturalness the tremendous courage she presented in combat, and her they are able to outwit her examiners in debate.

Magic
Magic circle … the new Wrinkle in Time film features Mrs Which, Mrs Who and Mrs Whatsit. Photograph: Atsushi Nishijima/ Disney/ Kobal/ Rex/ Shutterstock

Cleopatra and Anne Boleyn were likewise accused of witchcraft, with rumors that Anne even bore physical marks of her compact with the devil, such as a third teat, moles and a sixth thumb on her right hand. Such accusations were a clever and effective style for a woman’s political adversaries to smear her since, as countless other women accused of witchcraft learned, it is impossible to offer definitive proof that one is not a witch. Perhaps what is most shocking about this catch-2 2 is the way in which it continues to be played out today. Aside from Hillary Clinton, who has been called a witch since she was first lady, there was also the case of Julia Gillard, first female prime minister of Australia, who met with tauntings of” ditch the witch” from protesters. Nancy Pelosi, the minority speaker of the US House of Representatives, has faced similar witch-related insults, and lately Theresa May was filmed laughing loudly, and her so-called ” witch’s cackle” speedily ran viral. The misogyny of all this is obvious. Debating and defeating these leaders politically isn’t enough- as women who demonstrate ambition, they are abominations who must be deemed evil and cast out.

From
From JW Waterhouse’s portrait of Circe Invidiosa. Photograph: Alamy

The tradition of the sexy witch, who lures men with her beauty, is beloved by modern-day adult costume-makers, but goes all the way back to the first witch in western literature: the divine sorceress Circe. She first appears in Homer’s Odyssey , after Odysseus and his crew have washed up on her island, exhausted and grieving for the loss of their comrades. They run searching for inhabitants and find a palatial house with tame lions and wolves lolling around in the garden. A glistening goddess comes to the door, and invites them in. She devotes them food and wine which she has narcotic with spell-herbs, then lifts her wand and turns them into pigs.

Circe’s story brings together many classic witchy motifs: a ability with herbs and potions, a magic wand, control over animals. But what is most notable is her moral ambiguity- though she begins the episode as a figure of menace, after she and Odysseus become fans, she transforms his humen back and offers vital resources and advice to Odysseus for his journey home. Not all seductive witches indicate a similar ambiguity( CS Lewis’s White Witch surely does not ), but Morgan le Fay, Morticia Addams and Melisandre from Game of Thrones all fall into this category.

This brings us to our last form: the good witch. Before we get to the famous examples, let’s start with the unknown ones- the countless women of history who employed their knowledge of herbs, mending and midwifery to serve their communities as de facto doctors and chemists. In times when reliable medical treatment was scarce and expensive, they offered the first, and often merely, help a suffering person would receive. Matilda Joslyn Gage, in her treatise Woman, Church and State , hailed this local herb-woman as” the profoundest thinker, the most advanced scientist” of her age. Gage’s name is largely unknown now, but her work lives vibrantly on: she was the mother-in-law of Baum, and directly influenced his creation of Glinda, one of the most iconic good witches in popular culture. Glinda is a sparkly, memorable presence in the 1939 movie, and plays a meaty role in the books, protecting the good people of Oz with passion and wisdom. We may likewise watch Gage’s spirit in Gregory Maguire’s novel Wicked , which reimagines the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, as a heroic, misunderstood character.

Of course no discussion of good witches can be complete without the superlative Hermione Granger. Throughout JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series, Hermione’s intellect, kindness, sense of justice and determination build her a role model for young girls- and boys- everywhere. And she’s only one of dozens of fascinating witches Rowling created, who operate the gamut from good( Minerva McGonagall) to cruelly wicked( Bellatrix Lestrange ).

Rupert
Rupert Grint, left, and Daniel Radcliffe with Emma Watson as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban( 2004 ). Photograph: Allstar/ Warner Bros

Which brings us back to the multiplicity and diversity of witches. The truth is that witches cannot really be contained by forms; they leap over boundaries, bursting out of categories as fast we build them. They are constantly changing as we change, reflecting our notions about females back to ourselves.

If this is so, then there is much to feeling encouraged by. The image of the very best witch is ascendant in popular culture( aside from Hermione, as exemplified by the Scarlet Witch, Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer , and the new A Wrinkle in Time movie, prominently featuring Mrs Which, Mrs Who and Mrs Whatsit ). Women have attained powerful strides towards equality, and we are seeing an unprecedented awareness of sexual harassment, assault and the stillness of women. More of these secret abuses are coming to light every day, and more of the perpetrators are being removed from power.

Despite this progress, there is also sobering news. In the past several decades, United Nations officials have reported an increase in women killed for witchcraft across the globe. In India the problem is particularly well-documented, with older girls being targeted as scapegoats or as a pretext for confiscating their lands and goods. In Saudi Arabia, women have been convicted of sorcery in the courts, and in Ghana they have been exiled to so-called ” witch camps”, an injustice movingly dealt with in award-winning cinema, I Am Not a Witch . And in the United States, a Gallup poll found that 21% of people believed in witches( and not the Hermione Granger kind ).

We stand therefore at a crossroads- which is fitting, since crossroads are sacred to Hecate, Greek goddess of witchcraft. Will we continue to fear and penalize women with power? To call them evil? Or perhaps we are capable of at last celebrate female strength, recognising that witches- and women- are not going away *

* Circe by Madeline Miller is published by Bloomsbury( PS16. 99 ). To b uy it for PS12. 99 go to guardianbookshop.com .

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Russian spy assault: Johnson greets allies’ subsistence

Foreign secretarys remarks precede Trump sacking of Tillerson, who had criticised Moscow

The UK has been encouraged by the “strength of support” from allies to take action against Russia after the nerve agent attack on a former snoop and his daughter, Boris Johnson said just hours before the US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, was sacked by Donald Trump.

Tillerson, who spoke to the foreign secretary on Monday afternoon, had told reporters the attack on Sergei and Yulia Skripal” clearly came from Russia” and would have consequences.

His remarks ran further than those of Theresa May, who told the House of Commons on Monday it was ” highly likely” Russia was behind the attack. The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, had stopped short of pointing the finger at Russia.

Just hours after Johnson had welcomed US support, Trump tweeted that he had replaced Tillerson with the CIA director, Mike Pompeo. The sacking may not be linked to Tillerson’s comments on Russia; closer relations between the pair are believed to have been deteriorating for some time, especially over the Iran nuclear deal and Trump’s announcement that he would meet the Northern korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

It is unclear when Tillerson learned that his dismissal was imminent. It was first reported he had known since Friday, which was denied by sources, and a state department spokesman afterward said Tillerson” did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason” and later indicated he had read the news on Twitter.

The US president said he would speak to the British “ministers ” about the Salisbury poisoning on Tuesday.

Trump said:” It voices to me like they believe it was Russia … I would certainly take that finding as fact .” But he added:” If we get the facts straight we will condemn Russia, or whoever it might be .”

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Downing Street is hoping for a strong statement of support from Trump when he speaks with May on Tuesday, having previously been encouraged by such direct censure from Tillerson.

Skripal and his daughter remain in hospital in a critical condition while the Wiltshire police detective sergeant Nick Bailey is in a serious but stable condition.

Bailey is making good progress, Britain’s most senior counter-terrorism police officer told. Delivering an update on the police investigation outside New Scotland Yard on Tuesday, the Metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner, Neil Basu, told 38 people were ensure by medical staff in the aftermath of the” reckless, despicable and targeted” attack.

Of those, 34 have been assessed and discharged and one more person is still being monitored as an outpatient but is not showing signs of illness. Previously, police had said 21 people had been affected.

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Theresa May: highly likely Russia is behind Salisbury spy attack- video

In an interview earlier on Tuesday, Johnson recurred May’s ultimatum to the Kremlin that it must explain by midnight on Tuesday if it was behind the attack, or if it had allowed the deadly nerve agent novichok to get into the incorrect hands.

” If they can come up with a convincing rationale, then plainly we will want to see full disclosure of that to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague ,” Johnson said.

The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said Russia had requested access to the substance to perform its own checks but any such requests had been refused. May’s spokesman hit back at Lavrov’s suggestion that Britain could be contravening the chemical weapons convention.

” The UK fully complies with all of its obligations for the purposes of the chemical weapons convention ,” the spokesman told.” Under the chemical weapons convention, countries have the mechanism to consult but there is no requirement to do so .”

Quick guide

What is novichok?

Novichok refers to a group of nerve agents that were developed by the Soviet Union in the 1970 s and 1980 s to elude international restrictions on chemical weapons. Like other nerve agents, the objective is organophosphate compounds, but the chemicals are applied to make them, and their final structures are considered classified in the UK, the US and other countries. By constructing the agents in secret, from unfamiliar chemicals, the Soviet Union is also intended to fabricate the substances without being impeded.

” Much less is known about the novichoks than the other nerve agents ,” told Alastair Hay, an environmental toxicologist at the University of Leeds who analyse the use of chemical weapons against Iraqi Kurds in Halabja in 1988.” They are not widely used at all .”

The most potent of the novichok substances are considered to be more lethal than VX, the most deadly of the familiar nerve agents, which include sarin, tabun and soman.

And while the novichok agents work in a similar way, by massively over-stimulating muscles and glands, one chemical weapons expert told the Guardian that the agents do not degrade fast in the environment and have “an additional toxicity”. ” That extra toxicity is not well understood, so I understand why people were asked to clean their clothes, even if it was present only in traces ,” he told. Treatment for novichok exposure would be the same as for other nerve agents, namely with atropine, diazepam and potentially drugs called oximes.

The chemical structures of novichok agents were made public in 2008 by Vil Mirzayanov, a former Russian scientist living in the US, but the structures have never been publicly confirmed. It is thought that they can be made in different forms, including a dust aerosol that would be easy to disperse.

The novichoks are known as binary agents because they become lethal merely after mixing two otherwise harmless components. According to Mirzayanov, the objective is 10 to 100 times more toxic than the conventional nerve agents.

The fact that so little is known about them may explain why Porton Down scientists took several days to identify the compound used in the attack against Sergei and Yulia Skripal. While laboratories around the world that are used to police chemical weapons incidents have databases of nerve agents, few outside Russia are believed to have full details of the novichok compounds and the chemicals needed to stimulate them.

Photograph: Matt Cardy/ Getty Images Europe

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