English People’s Teeth Are an “International Disgrace” and a “National Health Disaster”, UK Dentists Say

Austin Powers jokes aside, dental hygiene is reportedly a very big problem in the UK. In a recent letter to The Daily Telegraph, British dentists warned that their nation’s oral health was on its way to becoming an international disgrace, calling it a “national health disaster.”

The root of the problem does not seem to be simply individual poor oral hygiene. National health service issues also appear to play a major role. The letter states that unreasonable targets and unnecessary red tape regulations have made it increasingly difficult for many dentists to provide the public with the care they need.

Related: Bad Teeth? Don't Blame Your Genes, Blame Yourself 

In the UK, health services are provided through an agency known as the National Health Service (NHS). This organization uses national taxes to cover the cost of healthcare for everyone in the UK, regardless of who they are and how much they earn. The system has struggled to keep up with the massive supply and demand, The Guardian reported. As a result, some individuals may fall through the cracks and not receive the care and treatment they require.

Charities have come to help out with dental care in the UK. Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Last year, The Guardian reported that twice as many children in England received hospital treatment for tooth decay as those who needed to be treated for broken arms. Although high sugar diets likely do not help the problem, lack of proper intervention allows the decay to progress dangerously. Nearly four out of five children in England between one and two years old had not seen an NHS dentist in the past year, The Guardian reported.

Related: Mystery Tooth Fossil Baffles Archeologists And Could Mean First Humans Lived In Europe Not Africa 

This is not the first time that UK dentists have spoken out about the state of the system they currently work in. In 2016, dentists penned another letter to The Daily Telegraph likening UK dental health to that of a developing country.

Reportedly, the dental healthcare in the UK is so bad that they are enlisting help from international organizations. For example, last year Dentaid, a charity that normally helps to care for people’s teeth in the developing countries, set up clinics in the UK specifically addressed to help low-income families, homeless people, and migrants who were especially in need of dental care, The Independent reported.

The clinics have helped a number of people who have struggled to get an appointment with an NHS dentist. However, these charities can only do so much. Dentists are now insisting that a bigger solution is needed to address the national dental problem.

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Do Aliens Live at Alpha Centauri? NASA Wants to Send a Mission in 2069 to Find Out

In 2069, if all goes according to plan, NASA could launch a spacecraft bound to escape our solar system and visit our next-door neighbors in space, the three-star Alpha Centauri system, according to a mission concept presented last week at the annual conference of the American Geophysical Union and reported by New Scientist. The mission, which is pegged to the 100th anniversary of the moon landing, would also involve traveling at one-tenth the speed of light.

This isn't the first time the idea of visiting Alpha Centauri at that speed and on that timeline has been suggested. Last year, House of Representatives subcommittees considered a bill suggesting a mission to Alpha Centauri, although that text never made it into an approved law. But NASA is still hopping on board with the idea, with a probe that might be able to spot alien life.

We already know there's at least one planet in the neighborhood, Proxima b. And scientists suspect there may still be more planets about the size of Earth in the neighborhood left to find.

Alpha Centauri A (left) and B (right). ESA/NASA

Right now, only one human-made spacecraft has left our solar system—Voyager 1, which launched 40 years ago and is currently traveling at about 38,000 miles per hour, less than 1 percent of 1 percent of the speed of light.

But the Voyager missions were designed to explore our solar system; it's only a nice fringe benefit that they continue work. The twin spacecraft were also designed using the level of technology found in a car's remote key. A modern mission to Alpha Centauri would be designed with very different goals in mind, and would take advantage of a host of new technology.

Read more: Alpha Centauri: The Sun Nearest to Ours Could Be Hiding Planets Like Earth

Of course, that technology has yet to be developed. A non-governmental group, the Breakthrough Starshot mission, is also targeting the Alpha Centauri system and envisions sending tiny probes, potentially carrying microscopic organisms, that are pushed by high-powered lasers at about a quarter of the speed of light. NASA is considering the same technique, as well as harnessing nuclear techniques or collisions between matter and antimatter, New Scientist reports.

The NASA mission would have a second component as well, following up the probe with a space telescope that could take other data about the system without needing to quite reach it. And that's good news, since while the three stars in the Alpha Centauri system are the closest to us, they're still not exactly conveniently close. At about 4.4 light-years away and traveling at one-tenth of the speed of light, a spacecraft could theoretically reach it in a breezy 44 years. And in order to take a closer look, it may need to fall into orbit, a delicate maneuver that could add decades to the excursion.

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Did Harvey Weinstein Force Salma Hayek to Film 'Frida' Lesbian Sex Scene? Movie Producer Responds to Actor's Claims

After Oscar-nominated actor Salma Hayek accused Harvey Weinstein Wednesday of threatening to kill her and forcing her to film a lesbian sex scene, the disgraced movie producer is speaking out about the troubles that plagued the production of 2002’s Frida.

Weinstein, through a spokesperson, said he “does not recall” making Hayek, 51, film a “gratuitous sex scene” against her will after she spurned his alleged advances. In an explosive opinion piece published by The New York Times, Hayek said she started “crying and convulsing” and “throwing up” before shooting the scene.

“Mr. Weinstein regards Salma Hayek as a first-class actress and cast her in several of his movies, among them Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Dogma, and Studio 54. He was very proud of her Best Actress Academy Award nomination for Frida and continues to support her work,” Weinstein’s spokesperson said in a long statement issued to Newsweek Wednesday.

“Mr. Weinstein does not recall pressuring Salma to do a gratuitous sex scene with a female co-star and he was not there for the filming. However, that was part of the story, as Frida Kahlo was bisexual and the more significant sex scene in the movie was choreographed by Ms. Hayek with Geoffrey Rush.”

“All of the sexual allegations as portrayed by Salma are not accurate and others who witnessed the events have a different account of what transpired,” Weinstein’s rep said.

Salma Hayek attends an event at Catch LA in West Hollywood, California, on November 15. Rich Fury/Getty

In her op-ed, Hayek, who produced Frida, the 2002 biopic about the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, claimed that Weinstein tormented her emotionally prior to and during the production of the movie. She said she denied numerous sexual advances and incurred Weinstein’s wrath as a result.

Hayek said Weinstein threatened to cast another actor in the lead role, “berated my performance,” and deemed that “I was not sexy in the movie.”

In response, Weinstein’s spokesperson said: “While Jennifer Lopez was interested in playing Frida and at the time was a bigger star, Mr. Weinstein overruled other investors to back Salma as the lead. Miramax put up half of the money and all of the [prints and advertising]; the budget was over 12 million.

“As in most collaborative projects, there was creative friction on Frida, but it served to drive the project to perfection. The movie opened in multiple theaters and was supported by a huge advertising campaign and an enormous Academy Awards budget.”

The rep also denied Hayek’s claim that Weinstein distributed the movie in only two theaters, noting that Frida’s Box Office Mojo page shows the film opened in five theaters during its limited-release run in October 2002 and 794 theaters for its wide release in November that year. However, Hayek's claim appears to refer to a period preceding October 2002. 

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Democrats Like Their Farts' Smell More Than Republicans Do, 'Cards Against Humanity' Poll Finds

It appears Democrats could use the advice of Outkast's Andre 3000, who once rapped: "I know you'd like to think your shit don't stink, but lean a little bit closer, see roses really smell like ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh."

The implication from Three Stacks here was that the, um, fecal matter, did indeed stink. But apparently Democrats didn't take that lesson to heart.

A new poll from the irreverent game Cards Against Humanity found that Democrats like the smell of their farts more than Republicans like the scent of their own rear-end emissions.

In a post detailing the results of the survey, the company wrote, "Because we could, we asked people if they thought their farts were more smelly or less smelly than other people’s farts." Most folks, 51 percent, refused to answer or hung up.

But 30 percent of respondents said they thought their farts were less smelly than the average American, while 19 percent said more smelly. Seventy percent of women thought their farts were less smelly than average, compared with must 53 percent of men who said the same. Interestingly, there was also a partisan divide on flatulence. Wrote Cards Against Humanity, "And here’s one that Republicans can enjoy: Democrats like the smell of their own farts."

Seventy percent of Democrats thought their farts were less smelly than average, compared with 56 percent of Independents and 58 percent of Republicans. ASAPScience explained in 2014 video that it's pretty normal to think your farts aren't that stinky because humans are conditioned to think strange smells could harm us—but our own farts are familiar. 

Cards Against Humanity announced it was doing a year of public opinion polling with the helping the polling firm Survey Sampling International. Cards Against Humanity is a raunchy, funny game and a lot of the questions took on that tone.

For instance, their poll found President Donald Trump had a 41 percent approval rating, but on the results page it was presented under the header "Our Dumb President Asshole" with the note, "No opinion poll would be complete without a reminder of our dumb asshole president’s depressingly non-zero approval rating."

The poll also found 57 percent of people are not OK with peeing in the shower and that 34 percent of respondent's didn't think rap was music, which made one more likely to be "older, rural, uneducated, conservative, approve of Trump, oppose welfare, and think black people benefit from welfare more than white people."

You can read the full results here. 

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Your Favorite TV Channels Could Soon Be Gone if Viacom and Charter Deal Expires

Imagine turning on your TV and realizing that dozens of your favorite channels had suddenly disappeared. You keep flicking the remote, and all you see as you switch the channels is a dark screen; no MTV, no BET, no Comedy Central or VH1. They were just there yesterday, but now they appear to no longer exist.

Sounds scary, right?

It’s a frightening scenario that could very well become a reality for millions of cable subscribers if Viacom and Charter Communications, the parent company of Spectrum, don’t reach an agreement for their carriage deal on Sunday. The nation’s leading companies’ current deal is set to expire on Sunday, and more than 16.5 million customers could be affected by the blackout if Viacom and Charter can’t settle their dispute over channel pricing.

The dispute came following Charter’s decision to move a number of Viacom networks like Comedy Central, BET, MTV, VH1 Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. to the higher tier of cable subscriptions. Currently customers on Spectrum plans are able to watch 23 channels under Viacom's umbrella, which makes up about 20 percent of all cable viewership, without an additional charge under a basic cable subscription. The changes would cause subscribers to see a substantial uptick in prices, which Viacom hasn’t approved.

“Viacom has made a series of very attractive offers to Charter that are consistent with terms we've recently reached with other large cable operators. Importantly, these offers would enable Charter to lower Spectrum subscribers' bills, while also giving them more access to shows across Nickelodeon, BET, MTV, Comedy Central and other Viacom networks,” Viacom said in a statement on Tuesday.

The cable company added Charter “continues to insist on unreasonable and extreme terms” that could result in customers seeing a “disruption in their service.”

Charter responded to Viacom with a statement of their own claiming that the company has tried to negotiate a new deal in “good faith” and “have offered a good price” on an extended carriage deal.

Viacom has already started to notify customers of a potential blackout if a deal isn’t reached by deadline.

If the cable companies can’t come to terms and the 23 networks go dark on Sunday, Viacom could see a 16 percent decline of its affiliate revenue, equating to a loss of some $760 million dollars, according to Deadline.

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Wearing a Pretend 'God Helmet' Fooled Spiritual People into Proclaiming Mystical Experiences

The "God helmet" is an odd-looking psychology tool that can evoke mystical experiences in wearers akin to religious visions—despite being nothing more than an elaborate hat. The helmet is purely a placebo and new research shows that self-proclaimed spiritual people are even more susceptible to fall for its illusion than intoxicated people.

The study published online in Religion, Brain, & Behavior found new information to further back previous evidence that a purely aesthetic hat, referred to as a God helmet, can elicit mysterious experiences. This new study, published in December 2017, builds on past research in that it also tested if alcohol consumption played a role in users' susceptibility to having visions while wearing the God helmet.

"We knew from previous studies that supernatural believers are more prone to placebo brain stimulation-induced mystical experiences than non-believers," lead study researcher David Maij, a researcher at the University of Amsterdam who focuses on brain cognition and psychology told Newsweek. "We wanted to investigate whether intoxication with alcohol, through lowering cognitive control, would increase people’s proneness to have extraordinary experiences."

Related: Watching Pornography May Help Relgious Christians Change Their Minds About Abortion 

Researchers from the University of Amsterdam had 193 volunteers wear the God helmet for 15 minutes while blindfolded and listening to white noise through earbuds. The volunteers were told that the helmet would electromagnetically stimulate their brains and cause them to have supernatural experiences. However, in reality the helmet did absolutely nothing.

The God helmet can cause you to see things that aren't there. David Maij/University of Amsterdam

The volunteers were chosen at a three-day music festival in the Netherlands, which gave the researchers a perfect opportunity to explore if alcohol consumption affected God helmet results. The team analyzed the volunteers’ self-identified spiritualism and their alcohol consumption was measured via their blood-alcohol levels.

Related: Doomday Is Postponed Again: Here's Why We're So Obsessed With The End Of The World, According To Psychology 

In an effort to further play into the God helmet trick, researchers wearing white lab coats directed the volunteers, and prior to being fitted with the God helmet, the subjects were shown a short clip in which actors pretending to be previous volunteers explained their experiences wearing the helmet, Psy Post reported. The volunteers were even shown an fMRI scanner and told it was hooked up to their God helmet, but it was not. Of course, all this was done to further feed into the illusion, and ultimately the helmet was nothing more than an average helmet with non-functional wires attached to it.

Many of the individuals reported having mystical experiences while wearing the God helmets at the festival, including out-of-body experiences, involuntary body movements, and feeling the “presence” of an invisible being, the study reported.

Alcohol consumption was not shown to have an effect on whether or not the individuals were likely to have mystical experiences while wearing the helmets. Instead, the volunteers self-reported spirituality affected their likeliness to have an experience while wearing the helmet. Individuals who reported themselves as being more spiritual were more likely to have mysterious experiences than volunteers who rated themselves as less spiritual.  

Maij noted that the experiment was conducted at a music festival, which is a suboptimal testing condition, and that the average volunteer had consumed relatively low amounts of alcohol. "Under more controlled lab settings we may still find an effect of alcohol, or an interaction between alcohol and spirituality," Maij told Newsweek

The results present an interesting look into the power of the susceptibility and spirituality. The team hopes their research can help add to current scientific analysis of spiritual experiences, not stimulated in labs, and perhaps offer a better understanding of how religion may impact the brain. 

"With the God helmet, research finally has a tool to investigate real-life “extraordinary experiences” such as speaking in tongues or feeling the holy spirit in a controlled lab environment," Maij told Newsweek


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