B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘drugs’ tag

Thursday Topic – Leftovers – Plate 1

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The editor of this humble blog couldn’t think of a good topic to fit the day, instead assigning a day of leftovers. Steaming pile of lukewarm tidbits, most of which you’ve already read on Twitter or in your local fish wrap. Drive-by’s, one-hitters, hot-takes, all basically the same thing. Copy-pasta is what the blogosphere was built with. Without further ado, here are some plates of copy-pasta for your general amusement…

 

Slight Return
Slight Return

First off: I enjoyed the hell out of this book review essay from Scott Alexander, responding to David Hackett Fischer’s book, Albion’s Seed, a history of early American migration patterns.1

90% of Puritan names were taken from the Bible. Some Puritans took pride in their learning by giving their children obscure Biblical names they would expect nobody else to have heard of, like Mahershalalhasbaz. Others chose random Biblical terms that might not have technically been intended as names; “the son of Bostonian Samuel Pond was named Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin Pond”. Still others chose Biblical words completely at random and named their children things like Maybe or Notwithstanding.

(click here to continue reading Book Review: Albion’s Seed | Slate Star Codex.)

and

These aristocrats didn’t want to do their own work, so they brought with them tens of thousands of indentured servants; more than 75% of all Virginian immigrants arrived in this position. Some of these people came willingly on a system where their master paid their passage over and they would be free after a certain number of years; others were sent by the courts as punishments; still others were just plain kidnapped. The gender ratio was 4:1 in favor of men, and there were entire English gangs dedicated to kidnapping women and sending them to Virginia, where they fetched a high price. Needless to say, these people came from a very different stratum than their masters or the Puritans.

People who came to Virginia mostly died. They died of malaria, typhoid fever, amoebiasis, and dysentery. Unlike in New England, where Europeans were better adapted to the cold climate than Africans, in Virginia it was Europeans who had the higher disease-related mortality rate. The whites who survived tended to become “sluggish and indolent”, according to the universal report of travellers and chroniclers, although I might be sluggish and indolent too if I had been kidnapped to go work on some rich person’s farm and sluggishness/indolence was an option.

The Virginians tried their best to oppress white people. Really, they did. The depths to which they sank in trying to oppress white people almost boggle the imagination. There was a rule that if a female indentured servant became pregnant, a few extra years were added on to their indenture, supposedly because they would be working less hard during their pregnancy and child-rearing so it wasn’t fair to the master. Virginian aristocrats would rape their own female servants, then add a penalty term on to their indenture for becoming pregnant. That is an impressive level of chutzpah. But despite these efforts, eventually all the white people either died, or became too sluggish to be useful, or worst of all just finished up their indentures and became legally free. The aristocrats started importing black slaves as per the model that had sprung up in the Caribbean, and so the stage was set for the antebellum South we read about in history classes.

(click here to continue reading Book Review: Albion’s Seed | Slate Star Codex.)

and my favorite as an inveterate map lover:

Borderer town-naming policy was very different from the Biblical names of the Puritans or the Ye Olde English names of the Virginians. Early Borderer settlements include – just to stick to the creek-related ones – Lousy Creek, Naked Creek, Shitbritches Creek, Cuckold’s Creek, Bloodrun Creek, Pinchgut Creek, Whipping Creek, and Hangover Creek. There were also Whiskey Springs, Hell’s Half Acre, Scream Ridge, Scuffletown, and Grabtown. The overall aesthetic honestly sounds a bit Orcish.

(click here to continue reading Book Review: Albion’s Seed | Slate Star Codex.)

Line Drawn In Space
Line Drawn In Space

Erick Erickson claims he’ll the flee the GOP. Doubtful, at best. I’m guessing 98% of Republicans will hold their noses and end up voting for Donald Trump instead of Hillary Clinton, despite what they say now. Maybe higher!

Prominent conservative talk radio host Erick Erickson said Tuesday night he will de-register as a member of the Republican Party if Donald Trump secures the presidential nomination.

“If Trump is the Republican Party nominee, I won’t be a Republican,” Erickson, who founded RedState, told the Daily Beast. “I’m not down with white supremacists.”

(click here to continue reading Erick Erickson Vows To De-Register As GOPer If Trump Is Party’s Nominee.)

The Earth Was Here
The Earth Was Here

Climate Disruption is going to disrupt the planet until it is stopped, or we perish…

In 2006, six years after his presidential bid, Al Gore launched the documentary An Inconvenient Truth. The movie made headlines around the world, raising awareness of global warming and its predicted dire consequences for the planet and society.

The movie did more than this, though, as it also politicized global warming to an unprecedented level. It brought the spotlight to an issue that, as the title says, many investors and politicians find inconvenient. If nothing is done to curb the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, temperatures will rise, ice caps will melt, ocean levels will rise and weather patterns across the globe will be disrupted. This truth remains unchanged.

An article in Science News by Thomas Sumner does an excellent job summarizing what we’ve learned since the release of the movie, which predictions panned out and what was off the mark. Lonnie Thomson, the climate scientist whose studies of melting glaciers in the high Andes were featured in the documentary, says: “The physics and chemistry that we’ve known about for over 200 years is bearing out. We’ve learned so much in the last 10 years, but the fact that the unprecedented climate change of the last 40 years is being driven by increased carbon dioxide hasn’t changed.”

(click here to continue reading After 10 Years, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ Is Still Inconvenient : 13.7: Cosmos And Culture : NPR.)

43
43

Don’t know if this is positive news or negative news for Donald Trump:

Neither George HW nor George W Bush, the only two living former Republican presidents of the United States, will endorse Donald Trump.

In statements released to the Guardian on Wednesday evening, spokesmen for both former presidents said they would be sitting out the 2016 election. Freddy Ford, a spokesman for George W Bush, told the Guardian: “President George W Bush does not plan to participate in or comment on the presidential campaign.”

The statement by the 43rd president was echoed in one released by his father. Jim McGrath, a spokesman for George HW Bush, told the Guardian: “At age 91, President Bush is retired from politics.

(click here to continue reading Neither George W nor George HW Bush will endorse Donald Trump | US news | The Guardian.)

Donald Trump Is A Swine
Donald Trump Is A Swine

Speaking of idiots, Donald Trump has already began to flip-flop:

“I’ll be putting up money, but won’t be completely self-funding,” the presumptive Republican nominee said in an interview Wednesday. Mr. Trump, who had largely self-financed his successful primary run, added that he would create a “world-class finance organization.” The campaign will tap his expansive personal Rolodex and a new base of supporters who aren’t on party rolls, two Trump advisers said.

The new plan represents a shift for Mr. Trump, who has for months portrayed his Republican opponents as “puppets” for relying on super PACs and taking contributions from wealthy donors that he said came with strings attached.

(click here to continue reading Donald Trump Won’t Self-Fund General-Election Campaign – WSJ.)

Tribune Tower
Tribune Tower

and speaking of fish-wrappers:

Less than two weeks after the Gannett Company went public with an unsolicited bid to acquire Tribune Publishing Company, Tribune’s board formally responded with a firm answer: No.

On Wednesday, Tribune Publishing, which owns newspapers including The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune, sent a letter to Gannett saying its board had unanimously rejected the $815 million takeover offer, which included debt and other liabilities and represented a significant premium above Tribune’s share price.

(click here to continue reading Tribune Publishing Says No to Gannett’s $815 Million Offer – The New York Times.)

Prince - A Singular, Meticulous Master of Pop
Prince – A Singular, Meticulous Master of Pop

This is just sad news: addiction is a real epidemic…

Prince Rogers Nelson had an unflinching reputation among those close to him for leading an assiduously clean lifestyle. He ate vegan and preferred to avoid the presence of meat entirely. He was known to eschew alcohol and marijuana, and no one who went on tour with him could indulge either.

But Prince appears to have shielded from even some of his closest friends that he had a problem with pain pills, one that grew so acute that his friends sought urgent medical help from Dr. Howard Kornfeld of California, who specializes in treating people addicted to pain medication.

Dr. Kornfeld, who runs a treatment center in Mill Valley, Calif., sent his son on an overnight flight to meet with Prince at his home to discuss a treatment plan, said William J. Mauzy, a lawyer for the Kornfeld family, during a news conference on Wednesday outside his Minneapolis office.

But he arrived too late.

(click here to continue reading Prince’s Addiction and an Intervention Too Late – The New York Times.)

Ted Cruz - National Enquirer
Ted Cruz – National Enquirer

On a lighter note, at least Ted “Calgary” Cruz has suspended his campaign. Though I suspect he’ll still try to cause disruption at the Republican Convention in Cleveland, at least enough to get his name in the news again.

Before confronting for the first time the innate chaos contained in the phrase, “Presumptive Presidential Nominee Donald Trump,” let us pause for a moment to bid farewell to Tailgunner Ted Cruz, who probably is not the Zodiac Killer, whose father probably did not drink hurricanes in the French Quarter with Lee Harvey Oswald, and who definitely is not the towering figure in our national history that he fancies himself to be. Nothing became his ego so much as the speech in which he decided that his campaign was, indeed, a dead fish

He brought Carly Fiorina in as a mock running mate. (For the record, she was Cruz’s “running mate” for less time than Tom Eagleton was for George McGovern.) It didn’t work. He played the Urinal Cooties card. It didn’t work. Instead, he probably lost badly on Tuesday night at least in part because Trump deftly played The Oswald Card when it would do the most damage.

That was a bit of mock punditry there on my part, but the fact that Cruz couldn’t resist rising to that idiotic clickbait on the day of the primary is measure enough of the self-delusion that was his greatest weakness against a shameless and vulgar talking yam. It was Jeb (!) Bush who learned the second-worst thing for a candidate to be if he’s running against He, Trump—which is a humorless, privileged fop. The worst thing to be is what the Tailgunner was—a self-important dweeb with delusions of sacred grandeur. In both cases, you are a big bag of hot air in search of a needle. That is He, Trump’s only consistent political skill. No wonder Tom Brady loves him. Nobody is more skilled at deflating people than He, Trump.

(click here to continue reading Ted Cruz Drops Out of Race After Indiana – The Same Forces That Produced Trump Produced Cruz.)

Footnotes:
  1. more than just the Mayflower folks []

Written by Seth Anderson

May 5th, 2016 at 9:10 am

Photo Republished at Did Pharmaceutical Firms Exploit Pancreas Problems to Increase Profits? – Truthdig

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My photo was used to illustrate this post

Photo by swanksalot (CC BY-SA 2.0) Successful efforts by patient advocacy groups to require new approval standards for a particular class of drugs have resulted, perhaps inadvertently, in a sharp reduction of available products and a spike in the cost of brand name drugs to a tune of $350 million per year, Gastroenterology & Endoscopy News contributor Monica J. Smith reports.

click here to keep reading :
Did Pharmaceutical Firms Exploit Pancreas Problems to Increase Profits? – Truthdig

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Written by eggplant

July 28th, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Beer Baron John Hickenlooper Hates The Cannabis Competition

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Ballin'
Ballin’

What nearly amuses me is that Beer Baron John Hickenlooper is so opposed, still, to citizens of his state taking positive steps towards ending the ridiculous drug war in the US. The vote wasn’t even very close, considering. No, if Gov Hickenlooper had his way, only beer should be legal…

Colorado Democrat John Hickenlooper has a firm answer to other U.S. governors asking him about marijuana as source of revenue: Just say no.

Hickenlooper said yesterday that about a half-dozen called or asked him at this weekend’s National Governors Association meeting in Washington about his state’s experience legalizing recreational pot. They want to know about the potential to collect money and avoid the costs of enforcement and incarceration, he said.

Colorado projected last week that sales would generate more than $100 million a year toward a general fund of about $9 billion. But Hickenlooper, who opposed legalizing marijuana, said he’s telling fellow governors that he’s not counting on it to lower other taxes or for spending — and that they shouldn’t, either.

(click here to continue reading Colorado’s Experience With Legal Pot Has U.S. Governors Curious – Bloomberg.)

and this is despite admitting in his own state budget that legal cannabis sales could reach $1,000,000,000 in their very first year! Just consider that for a second: a newly legal industry that already is this significant, despite foot dragging from the Beer Baron, and others of his ilk who hold anachronistic viewpoints about the demon weed.

Beer Money at the MCA
Beer Money at the MCA

new budget numbers predicted that those marijuana taxes could add more than $100 million a year to state coffers, far more than earlier estimates.

The figures offered one of the first glimpses into how the bustling market for recreational marijuana was beginning to reshape government bottom lines — an important question as marijuana advocates push to expand legalization beyond Colorado and Washington State into states including Arizona, Alaska and Oregon.

In Colorado, where recreational sales began on Jan. 1 with hourlong waits, a budget proposal from Gov. John W. Hickenlooper estimated that the state’s marijuana industry could reach $1 billion in sales in the next fiscal year, with recreational sales making up about $610 million of that business.

“It’s well on its way to being a billion-dollar industry,” said Michael Elliott, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, a Colorado trade association. “We went from 110,000 medical marijuana patients to four billion people in the world who are 21 and up.”

In the budget proposal that Mr. Hickenlooper released Wednesday, his office said the state could collect about $134 million in taxes from recreational and medical marijuana for the fiscal year beginning in July.

(click here to continue reading Colorado Expects to Reap Tax Bonanza From Legal Marijuana Sales – NYTimes.com.)

Shiner Bock in Lower Yurtistan
Shiner Bock in Lower Yurtistan

and the truth is that Gov Hickenlooper is just a hypocrite, a politician, in other words:

But the state’s Democratic governor said he “hates” his state’s legal weed “experiment.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper revealed his feelings about marijuana legalization to the Durango Herald’s editorial board Friday.

“I hate Colorado having to be the experiment,” he told the newspaper.

The governor said he intends the regulation of legal weed to be even more strenuous than alcohol. “We are going to regulate the living daylights out of it,” he told the Herald.

Hickenlooper was a beer brewer before governor and made his fortune from selling alcoholic beverages — a fortune that wouldn’t have been possible had the U.S. not ended its prohibition on alcohol in 1933. The irony that he hates the the end of another drug’s prohibition in Colorado was not lost on Marijuana Policy Project’s communications director, Mason Tvert.

“I doubt Gov. Hickenlooper felt like he was participating in an experiment when he was making a living selling alcohol in a legal market,” Tvert told The Huffington Post. “Our state has been successfully regulating alcohol for quite some time, so regulating a less harmful substance like marijuana is hardly something new. Does the governor want to go back to a system in which cartels control marijuana instead of licensed businesses and thousands of responsible adults are punished each year simply for using it? We let that experiment go on for 80 years and it never worked.”

Tvert also called out the governor for suggesting that marijuana should be more heavily regulated than alcohol. “Every objective study on marijuana has concluded that it is less toxic than alcohol, less addictive, and less likely to contribute to violent and reckless behavior,” Tvert said. “If he is truly concerned about public health, he should be encouraging adults to consider making the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol when they are socializing or relaxing after work.”

(click here to continue reading Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper Hates His State’s Legal Weed ‘Experiment’.)

Wouldn’t our society be better off if fatties were smoked at sports arenas instead of endless 20 oz mugs of beer? Not to say that pot smokers can’t be aggressive or violent, but let your own experience with drunks be a guide. 

Written by Seth Anderson

February 24th, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Ballin’ was uploaded to Flickr

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Lincoln Avenue

embiggen by clicking
http://flic.kr/p/k3GTed

I took Ballin’ on January 11, 2014 at 06:33PM

and processed it in my digital darkroom on February 13, 2014 at 03:10PM

Written by eggplant

February 14th, 2014 at 9:04 am

Keith Richards Turns 70

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Patience please
Patience please

Wow. I can’t say I’m much of a fan of most Rolling Stones records after, say, Tattoo You, but I enjoyed the hell out of his autobiography, and for a few years, the Rolling Stones made some awesome rock and roll records.

Anyway, Keef’ as alchemist…

But with the drugs and all, people will wonder how the hell you made it.

With the smack, I knew: “I’ve got to stop now, or I’m going to go in for hard time.” The cocaine I quit because I fell on my head! Due to that – no more coke. Actually, my body tells me when to stop . . . the hard way. It’s a knock on the head – OK. It’s no big deal to me, to give things up.

Your book suggests you did heroin because it allowed you to work. I find it hard to believe heroin was part of your Protestant work ethic.

It was – either stay up or crash out or wake up. It was always to do something. Also, I’ve got to confess, I was very interested in what I could take and what I could do. I looked upon the body as a laboratory – I used to throw in this chemical and then that one to see what would happen; I was intrigued by that. What one would work against another; I’ve got a bit of alchemist in me that way. But all experiments must come to an end.

Has there been damage done?

I’ve never felt that it affected the way I played one way or another; if I stayed up I got a few more songs out of it. It’s like Churchill said about alcohol, “Believe me – I’ve taken a lot more out of alcohol than it’s ever taken out of me!” And I kind of feel the same way about the dope and stuff. I got something out of it. Might’ve pissed off a lot of people!

Now it’s just a little weed, a little wine?

Yeah, exactly. I hate all this idea of rehab and giving stuff up because it just means you’re hung up on it. It just means, “OK, I’m drinking too much – I’ll cut down.”

(click here to continue reading Profile: Keith Richards at 70 – MensJournal.com.)

Rock Records
Rock Records

Written by Seth Anderson

June 13th, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Posted in Music

Tagged with , ,

The Lance Armstrong Conundrum

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Livestrong guitar in AUS
Livestrong guitar in AUS

The Ethicist, Chuck Klosterman, was asked

It was recently demonstrated by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency that Lance Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs during the seven years when he won the Tour de France. During the same period, Armstrong started Livestrong, a cancer-support organization known for its ubiquitous yellow bracelets. Is the unethical nature of Lance’s doping offset by the fact that his Livestrong organization has touched many lives in a positive way? Is it even right to consider Livestrong in our ethical analysis of Armstrong’s doping? MYRIAH JAWORSKI, WASHINGTON

The specific ethical problem with Armstrong’s use of performance-enhancing drugs is debatable. What’s less debatable are the unethical extensions of that behavior, the treatment of his teammates and his willingness to perpetuate a conspiracy that willfully deceived his supporters. But that’s not really your inquiry. What you’re asking is how we’re supposed to weigh the many bad things Armstrong did against the very good charity he created.

This is ultimately a question about motive. A cynic might argue that even Armstrong’s involvement with Livestrong was self-serving, since its beneficence made people want to believe he was not lying about his own impropriety. Yet this is mere speculation. We don’t know Armstrong’s true motives, and we clearly can’t believe whatever he claims those motives were. All we can do is work with the accepted reality: Armstrong helped the lives of many cancer victims by being the most talented cheater within a sport where cheating is rampant. Now, does that positive conclusion “offset” the unethical exploits that allowed it to occur? I would say it does not. And I say this because they are too interdependent to isolate and judge. There is no right or wrong way to feel about Armstrong, but however you feel should be based on the totality of his career. Everything has to matter.

(click here to continue reading The Lance Armstrong Conundrum – NYTimes.com.)

Hmmm, Livestrong wouldn’t even exist without Lance Armstrong cheating and lying his way to multiple Tour de France titles, and yet…

What do you think? It isn’t a clear cut question as, for instance, continuing to support Susan G Komen For the Cure of Right Wing Women despite their clear political stance, or even for that matter, enjoying Alfred Hitchcock movies despite knowing he was probably an abusive, predatory man.

Full disclosure, I have never signed up for Livestrong, but I do use their online nutritional database periodically to look up information about food I am eating – it is a good resource. 

Written by Seth Anderson

November 11th, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Many drugs are just fine years after they expire

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Earlier today…

If you’ve wondered whether medicines really do need to be tossed after their expiration date, you’re got some company at the California Poison Control System, UC San Francisco and UC Irvine. Researchers from those institutions decided to satisfy their curiosity by testing the effectiveness of eight drugs that had been sitting around, unopened, in pharmacies for years after they had supposedly gone bad.

These drugs were not just a few years past their prime, these medications were a full 28 to 40 years past their official expiration dates.


The tablets and capsules were dissolved and subjected to chemical analysis using a mass spectrometer. That revealed how much of the active ingredients remained in the pills.

Out of the 14 active ingredients, 12 were still at high enough concentration – 90% of the amount stated on the label – to qualify as having “acceptable potency,” the researchers found.

Via:
Many drugs are just fine years after they expire
[automated]

Written by eggplant

October 13th, 2012 at 8:58 am

Posted in Links

Tagged with , , ,

Mind-altering drugs research call from Prof David Nutt

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Shroom as Big As Your Head
Shroom as Big As Your Head

If only governments listened to reason…

Former government drugs adviser Prof David Nutt has said that regulations should be relaxed to enable researchers to experiment on mind-altering drugs.

Prof Nutt told BBC News that magic mushrooms, LSD, ecstasy, cannabis and mephedrone all have potential therapeutic applications.

However, he said they were not being studied because of the restrictions placed on researching illegal drugs.

He said the regulations were “overwhelming”.

His comments followed the publication of new research by his group in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which suggests that the active ingredient in magic mushrooms could be used to treat depression.

“I feel quite passionately that these drugs are profound drugs; they change the brain in a way that no other drugs do. And I find it bizarre that no-one has studied them before and they haven’t because it’s hard and illegal,” he said.

Prof Nutt was sacked by the home secretary from his government advisory role three years ago for saying that ecstasy and LSD were less harmful than alcohol.

We need to have a more scientific rational approach to drugs and vilifying drugs like psilocybin whilst at the same time actively promoting much more dangerous drugs like alcohol is totally stupid scientifically” Prof David NuttHe says his new research indicated that there were no “untoward effects” from taking magic mushrooms and that it should not be illegal to possess them.

Prof Nutt and his team scanned the brains of volunteers who had been injected with a moderate dose of psilocybin, the active ingredient of magic mushrooms.

They had expected higher activity in areas of the brain associated with visual imagery. But in fact they found that the drug switched off a network of interconnected regions of the brain which regulated an individual’s sense of being and integration with their environment.

The researchers say that this alters consciousness because individuals are less in touch with their sensations and normal way of thinking.

(click here to continue reading BBC News – Mind-altering drugs research call from Prof David Nutt.)

LSD Partners  Dylan

LSD Partners – Bob Dylan

Written by Seth Anderson

January 23rd, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Posted in government,health,science

Tagged with ,

The Electric Dock Ellis Acid Test

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A.J. Daulerio of Deadspin tried to recreate Dock Ellis’ famous no-hitter, albeit on a video game, but the LSD was real.

“Can we get some pizza now?”

But in order to get that type of nourishment one must go

Outside!!

I had been instructed not to go outside by people who were more accustomed to these types of activities than I was. The cozy confines of the apartment were the only place for a 37-year-old first-timer like me, they said. It only took a few brisk steps to realize what they had been talking about. The normally straight sidewalk on Court Street between Union and Sackett started to tilt to the left in a comical, funhouse way. The storefront signs were more vivid than usual; the swooping cursive letters on Italian bakeries were now a menacing Satan font. Couples pushing strollers passed by me and I looked the other way because I was ashamed and too paranoid that they’d see my eyes bouncing or that I’d stare too long at their kicking babies and they’d call the cops.

By the time we arrived at the pizza parlor things were threatening to go haywire. That ricotta pie was clearly agitated by my presence. Toder relayed my order for me and handled the money transaction with the counterperson, because I could not possibly participate in such activities with the dickhead pizza being all mouthy and with the fearsome heat of that big oven so close by. Toder handed me my large cup of Dr Pepper and we were soon outside again on the crooked sidewalk, headed back to the ballpark inside my TV to accomplish greatness. The Dr Pepper was so good. So, so good. Why this was not the beverage of choice for all when life goes awry was unfathomable. Hey, look, the sidewalk is back to normal. Everything’s coming up me. I needed to hug something.

(click here to continue reading The Electric Dock Ellis Acid Test: An Attempt To Recreate His Drug-Addled No-Hitter, On Xbox.)

Amusing, though A.J. Daulerio doesn’t actually succeed in throwing a no-hitter, but you should read his explanation of the experience.

Actual footage of Dock Ellis on LSD don’t seem to be available, but this YouTube creation by James Blagden and No Mas is pretty good. Excellent, in fact.

In celebration of the greatest athletic achievement by a man on a psychedelic journey, No Mas and artist James Blagden proudly present the animated tale of Dock Ellis’ legendary LSD no-hitter. In the past few years we’ve heard all too much about performance enhancing drugs from greenies to tetrahydrogestrinone, and not enough about performance inhibiting drugs. If our evaluation of the records of athletes like Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens, Marion Jones, and Barry Bonds needs to be revised downwards with an asterisk, we submit that that Dock Ellis record deserves a giant exclamation point. Of the 263 no-hitters ever thrown in the Big Leagues, we can only guess how many were aided by steroids, but we can say without question that only one was ever thrown on acid.

Sadly, the great Dock Ellis died last December at 63. A year before, radio producers Donnell Alexander and Neille Ilel, had recorded an interview with Ellis in which the former Pirate right hander gave a moment by moment account of June 12, 1970, the day he no-hit the San Diego Padres. Alexander and Ilels original four minute piece appeared March 29, 2008 on NPRs Weekend America. When we stumbled across that piece this past June, Blagden and Isenberg were inspired to create a short animated film around the original audio.

Written by Seth Anderson

July 13th, 2011 at 7:17 am

Posted in humor,Sports

Tagged with , ,

The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries

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The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries‎
The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries‎, originally uploaded by swanksalot.

Black Friars Lane, London.

www.apothecaries.org/

From Wikipedia:

The Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London is one of the Livery Companies of the City of London. Originally, apothecaries, or pharmacists, were members of the Grocers’ Company (1345) and before this the Guild of Pepperers formed in London in 1180. The apothecaries separated from the Grocers in 1617, when they were granted a Royal Charter, and during the rest of the 17th century its members (including Nicholas Culpeper) challenged the monopoly of the College of Physicians.

The Apothecaries Act 1815 granted the Society the power to license and regulate practitioners of medicine throughout England and Wales. Today, the Society retains such a role as a member of the United Examining Board. Also, the Society grants diplomas in general areas such as Medical Jurisprudence, Medical History, Medical Philosophy, and in specialized fields such as HIV Medicine.

The Society of Apothecaries is well-known due to its foundation of the Chelsea Physic Garden in Chelsea, London, in 1673, one of the oldest botanical gardens in Europe, and the second oldest in Britain. After Sir Hans Sloane granted the Society the use of the Manor of Chelsea, the four acre (16,000 m²) garden became the richest collection of medicinal plants in Europe, under the direction of Philip Miller. Under its seed exchange program, originally initiated with the Leiden Botanical Garden, cotton was planted for the first time in the colony of Georgia. Jealously guarded during the tenure of the Society, in 1983 the Garden became a registered charity and was opened to the general public for the first time.

The Society is based at Apothecaries’ Hall in Blackfriars. The original Hall was Cobham House, purchased in 1632. This building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. A new Hall was built on the same site and completed in 1672 to the designs of Edward Jerman. An Elaboratory was included for the first ever large-scale manufacture of drugs. A major restoration and building programme was carried out in the 1780s. Although the Hall underwent major re-development in the 1980s, its external appearance has altered little since the late-eighteenth century. It is the oldest extant livery company hall in the City, with the first-floor structure and arrangement of the Great Hall, Court Room and Parlour remaining as re-built between 1668 and 1670.

The Society, which is the largest of the Livery Companies, is the fifty-eighth in the order of precedence for Livery Companies. Its motto is Opiferque Per Orbem Dicor, a Latin reference to the Greek deity Apollo, meaning I Am Called a Bringer of Help Throughout the World.

Notable people who qualified in medicine as a Licentiate of the Society of Apothecaries (LSA) include John Keats, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, who thereby became the first woman to gain a medical qualification in the UK, and Ronald Ross.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worshipful_Society_of_Apothecaries

Sat across the street and had a glass of Chianti at an Italian outdoor cafe.

Written by swanksalot

September 20th, 2010 at 7:27 am

Posted in Photography

Tagged with , , ,

Hallucinogens Have Doctors Tuning In Again

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Not surprising really, the argument against this class of entheogens being made illegal was always fairly weak, and coupled with cultural nonsense, and not scientific reality. In fact, before the rise of Reagan and Nixon and similar finger-waggers, there was a lot of very interesting research being conducted with LSD, with mescaline, with psilocybin. We blogged about this new research in 2006 too.

Shiitake mushrooms from FreshPicks.com

Scientists are taking a new look at hallucinogens, which became taboo among regulators after enthusiasts like Timothy Leary promoted them in the 1960s with the slogan “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Now, using rigorous protocols and safeguards, scientists have won permission to study once again the drugs’ potential for treating mental problems and illuminating the nature of consciousness.

After taking the hallucinogen, Dr. Martin put on an eye mask and headphones, and lay on a couch listening to classical music as he contemplated the universe.

“All of a sudden, everything familiar started evaporating,” he recalled. “Imagine you fall off a boat out in the open ocean, and you turn around, and the boat is gone. And then the water’s gone. And then you’re gone.”

Today, more than a year later, Dr. Martin credits that six-hour experience with helping him overcome his depression and profoundly transforming his relationships with his daughter and friends. He ranks it among the most meaningful events of his life, which makes him a fairly typical member of a growing club of experimental subjects.

Researchers from around the world are gathering this week in San Jose, Calif., for the largest conference on psychedelic science held in the United States in four decades. They plan to discuss studies of psilocybin and other psychedelics for treating depression in cancer patients, obsessive-compulsive disorder, end-of-life anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction to drugs or alcohol.

[Click to continue reading Hallucinogens Have Doctors Tuning In Again – NYTimes.com]

Johnny Depp and some psychoactive mushrooms

Let’s hope the research continues unabated, and uncoupled from the Drug War ridiculousness. If you want to read Dr. Griffiths study, it is available in PDF form at this website.

Since that study, which was published in 2008, Dr. Griffiths and his colleagues have gone on to give psilocybin to people dealing with cancer and depression, like Dr. Martin, the retired psychologist from Vancouver. Dr. Martin’s experience is fairly typical, Dr. Griffiths said: an improved outlook on life after an experience in which the boundaries between the self and others disappear.

In interviews, Dr. Martin and other subjects described their egos and bodies vanishing as they felt part of some larger state of consciousness in which their personal worries and insecurities vanished. They found themselves reviewing past relationships with lovers and relatives with a new sense of empathy.

“It was a whole personality shift for me,” Dr. Martin said. “I wasn’t any longer attached to my performance and trying to control things. I could see that the really good things in life will happen if you just show up and share your natural enthusiasms with people. You have a feeling of attunement with other people.”

The subjects’ reports mirrored so closely the accounts of religious mystical experiences, Dr. Griffiths said, that it seems likely the human brain is wired to undergo these “unitive” experiences, perhaps because of some evolutionary advantage.

“This feeling that we’re all in it together may have benefited communities by encouraging reciprocal generosity,” Dr. Griffiths said. “On the other hand, universal love isn’t always adaptive, either.”

Written by Seth Anderson

April 14th, 2010 at 8:41 am

Posted in health

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Yemen chews itself to death over thirst for narcotic qat

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California may have its iceberg lettuce addiction to blame for its drought, but Yemen’s water drought has a more direct cause: drugs. In this case khat (sometimes spelled qat).

Blue Ball

There’s something a bit different about the three Rafik brothers proudly leading us around their field of lanky green trees, grown from the rich and rare soils of Wadi Dahr.

Unlike three-quarters of Yemeni men on the afternoon of a day off, there are no little green flecks around the teeth of Abdullah, Nabil and Ahmed: they are not chewing qat, they are growing it.

The bitter and mildly narcotic leaf is key to Yemen’s economy, and yet its enormous need for water is on course to make the capital, Sana’a, the first in the world to die of thirst. With the problem extending across the nation, the country is almost literally chewing itself to death.

From high on the scorched brown rock face that surrounds the Wadi Dahr valley, half an hour’s drive north-west of Sana’a, the fertile carpet of vegetation below looks miraculous. Like most of Yemen, these northern mountains are a dry and barren land. But the irrigation needed to grow qat, coupled with an exploding population, means Sana’a’s water basin is emptying out at a staggering rate: four times as much water is taken out of the basin as falls into it each year.

Most experts predict Sana’a, the fastest-growing capital in the world at 7% a year, will run out of economically viable water supplies by 2017. That is the same year the World Bank says Yemen will cease earning income from its oil, which currently accounts for three-quarters of the state’s revenues.

[Click to continue reading Yemen threatens to chew itself to death over thirst for narcotic qat plant |Environment |guardian.co.uk]

Wikipedia has this to say about khat since I’ve never tried it either:

The khat plant is known by a variety of names, such as qat and gat in Yemen, qaat and jaad in Somalia, and chat in Ethiopia. It is also known as Jimma in the Oromo language. Khat has been grown for use as a stimulant for centuries in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. There, chewing khat predates the use of coffee and is used in a similar social context.

Its fresh leaves and tops are chewed or, less frequently, dried and consumed as tea, in order to achieve a state of euphoria and stimulation; it also has anorectic side-effects. Its use is generally not limited by religion, though the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (along with its Eritrean counterpart) has forbidden Christians from using it due to its stimulating effects.

The stimulant effect of the plant was originally attributed to “katin”, cathine, a phenethylamine-type substance isolated from the plant. However, the attribution was disputed by reports showing the plant extracts from fresh leaves contained another substance more behaviorally active than cathine. In 1975, the related alkaloid cathinone was isolated, and its absolute configuration was established in 1978. Cathinone is not very stable and breaks down to produce cathine and norephedrine. These chemicals belong to the PPA (phenylpropanolamine) family, a subset of the phenethylamines related to amphetamines and the catecholamines epinephrine and norepinephrine.

Both of khat’s major active ingredients – cathine and cathinone – are phenylalkylamines, meaning they are in the same class of chemicals as amphetamines. In fact, cathinone and cathine have a very similar molecular structure to amphetamine.

When khat leaves dry, the more potent chemical, cathinone, decomposes within 48 hours leaving behind the milder chemical, cathine. Thus, harvesters transport khat by packaging the leaves and stems in plastic bags or wrapping them in banana leaves to preserve their moisture and keep the cathinone potent. It is also common for them to sprinkle the plant with water frequently or use refrigeration during transportation.

Written by Seth Anderson

February 26th, 2010 at 12:30 pm

Posted in environment

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Diabetes Drug Avandia Harms the Heart

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Speaking of Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, GlaxoSmithKline wants to protect its drug profits at the expense of hundreds of deaths a year.

Hundreds of people taking Avandia, a controversial diabetes medicine, needlessly suffer heart attacks and heart failure each month, according to confidential government reports that recommend the drug be removed from the market.

The reports, obtained by The New York Times, say that if every diabetic now taking Avandia were instead given a similar pill named Actos, about 500 heart attacks and 300 cases of heart failure would be averted every month because Avandia can hurt the heart. Avandia, intended to treat Type 2 diabetes, is known as rosiglitazone and was linked to 304 deaths during the third quarter of 2009.

“Rosiglitazone should be removed from the market,” one report, by Dr. David Graham and Dr. Kate Gelperin of the Food and Drug Administration, concludes. Both authors recommended that Avandia be withdrawn.

The internal F.D.A. reports are part of a fierce debate within the agency over what to do about Avandia, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline. Some agency officials want the drug withdrawn because they believe there is a safer alternative; others insist that studies of the drug provide contradictory information and that Avandia should continue to be an option for doctors and patients. GlaxoSmithKline said that it had studied Avandia extensively and that “scientific evidence simply does not establish that Avandia increases” the risk of heart attacks.

[Click to continue reading Diabetes Drug Avandia Harms the Heart, Studies Find – NYTimes.com]

Nancy Reagan - Just Say Yo

GSK is more interested in resurrecting their cash cow:

Driven in part by a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign, sales [of Avandia] were $3.2 billion in 2006

despite the US Senate suggesting the process itself was/is flawed:

Just Say No Drugs

In a letter sent Thursday to Dr. Hamburg, the Food and Drug Administration commissioner, Mr. Baucus and Mr. Grassley asked “what steps the F.D.A. has taken to protect patients in the TIDE trial” and said the trial’s patients had never been told about the concerns raised by the agency’s own safety officers.

Mr. Grassley said the internal agency battle showed that the agency needed to be restructured to give more power to safety officials like Dr. Graham and Dr. Gelperin over their counterparts who approve medicines and deal more directly with drug makers.

“It doesn’t make any sense to have these experts who study drugs after they have been on the market for several years under the thumb of the officials who approved the drug in the first place and have a natural interest in defending that decision,” Mr. Grassley said. “The Avandia case may be the most alarming example of the problem with this setup.”

The question of when and how to communicate possible drug risks has long bedeviled drug makers and regulators. Hints are common that drugs may cause injuries; thousands of drug injury reports pour into the Food and Drug Administration every week. For example, Avandia ranked first among all prescribed drugs in the number of serious, disabling and fatal problems — including 304 deaths — reported to the agency in the third quarter of 2009, according to an analysis done by the Institute for Safe Medication Practice, a drug safety oversight group.

The Senate investigation — the result of years of digging through more than 250,000 internal company documents — concludes that GlaxoSmithKline and by extension the F.D.A. delayed far too long in this process.

Don’t forget that the FDA’s coziness with the pharmaceutical corporations is part of the problem too. Unless there are some drastic structural changes in the FDA, these sorts of issues are going to come up repeatedly.

Written by Seth Anderson

February 20th, 2010 at 1:00 pm

Richard M. Nixon and Elvis Presley at the White House

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Richard M. Nixon and Elvis Presley at the White House
Richard M. Nixon and Elvis Presley at the White House, originally uploaded by The U.S. National Archives.

From: Series: Master Print File, compiled 1969-1974 (Collection RN-WHPO)

Created by: President (1969-1974 : Nixon). White House Photo Office. (1969 – 1974)

Production Date: 12/21/1970

Persistent URL: http://arcweb.archives.gov/arc/action/ExternalIdSearch?id=1634221

Repository: National Archives at College Park – Archives II (College Park, MD)

Nixon high on whatever he was high on (lies and duplicity, and maybe a little Scotch whisky) and Elvis Presley high on various prescription drugs…

Written by swanksalot

February 3rd, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Posted in Photography

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John P Walters – Drug Warrior to the Bitter End

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John P Walters is either ignorant, willfully misleading, or both. Saturday’s WSJ contained a pro/con section discussing legalization of drugs. The pro-legalization side, written by Steven B. Duke, mostly dwells on the benefits of legalizing marijuana, with arguments you’ve probably heard before: tax revenue, reduce burden on our prison system, etc. John Walters, a two-term Bush-ite, bases his argument against marijuana legalization by ignoring marijuana, and pointing fingers at methamphetamine addicts, and the crack so-called epidemic of the 1980s.

Justified alarm over drug-related Mexican border violence has led to the predictable spate of drug legalization proposals. The most prominent was a call by three former Latin American presidents — from Brazil, Colombia and Mexico — to end what they claimed was the drug war. While there are many “end the drug war” plans, all of them, as even their advocates admit, result in more drug use and addiction. Their response? We should emasculate prevention and law enforcement and just spend more on treatment.

What would America look like with twice or three times as many drug users and addicts? To answer, consider what America was like in the recent past, during the frightening epidemic of methamphetamine, so similar to the crack outbreak of the 1980s. Each was a nightmare, fueled by ready drug availability.

Americans can’t forget the meth epidemic hitting the heartland earlier this decade. In 2004, 1.4 million people said they had used methamphetamine in the past year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The powerful, long-lasting stimulant began growing rapidly as the make-it-yourself drug, using a precursor in over-the-counter cold medicine. It later was produced in large quantities by Mexican traffickers and smuggled into the U.S. Drugs weren’t just an urban problem anymore.

[From Drugs: To Legalize or Not – WSJ.com]

I have never actually ever met a marijuana addict in my life: do such creatures exist?

Walters continues his spiel:

The violence essential to drug trafficking is meant to be shocking — from the marijuana traffickers who brutally murdered DEA special agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in Mexico in 1985 to the viciousness of rolling heads across a dance floor — calculated to frighten decent citizens and government authorities into silence.

and so on

Legalizing drugs is the worst thing we could do for President Felipe Calderón and our Mexican allies. It would weaken the moral authority of his fight and the Mexicans would immediately realize that we have no intention of reducing consumption. Who do we think would take the profits from a legal drug trade? U.S. suppliers would certainly spring up, but that wouldn’t preclude Mexican supplies as well — or Mexican production for consumption in other countries. The Mexicans know that they too have a dangerous use and addiction problem. They have already learned that it is wrong and dangerous to make abuse and addiction worse.

We can make progress faster when more of us learn that drug use and addiction can not be an expression of individual liberty in a free society. Drug abuse is, by nature and the laws of organic chemistry that govern this disease, incompatible with freedom and civil society. Drug abuse makes human life solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short (a special version of Hobbes’s hell in our own families). In the deepest sense, this is why failure is not an option.

What a buffoon

Written by Seth Anderson

December 4th, 2009 at 10:33 am

Posted in government

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