Saturday, May 30, 2009

Smart Drugs are all the rage

ABC News has an interesting item on smart drugs (or nootropics) |WKPA|and how far they've spread into American society.

I consider Mr. Lamb's way of framing the debate a false dichotomy. We do not have to choose between our souls and smart drugs... But it's a nice article and I'll forgive him for that rhetorical flourish.

[T]he influential technology blog TechCrunch, wrote [last summer], "How many Silicon Valley start-up executives are hopped up on Provigil?" [Michael Arrington of Techcrunch] was referring to the stimulant, which is the brand name for modafinil, that doctors normally prescribe to treat excessive drowsiness associated with narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. "[T]he buzz lately is that it's the 'entrepreneur's drug of choice' around Silicon Valley," the post said.

In an online poll in the British science journal Nature last year, answered by 1,400 people in 60 countries, 1 in 5 said they had used drugs for nonmedical reasons "to stimulate their focus, concentration, or memory." Only about half had a prescription for the drug they were using. A third had bought the drugs over the Internet. And even though about half reported unpleasant side effects, 4 out of 5 "thought that healthy adults should be able to take the drugs if they want to," Nature reported.

Philip Harvey is one who uses them. A professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University in Atlanta, he regularly flies from Georgia to Europe on business. To prepare for his flight, he takes modafinil. He uses the stimulant to feel alert and rested, despite lost sleep, allowing him to return to his family faster. He has no trouble getting a prescription from his doctor. | Debate Rages Over 'Brain Booster' Drugs - ABC News |

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Carbon Monoxide Poisonings tied to Video Games during disasters

The Science Blog reports a study by Dr. Caroline Fife |LinkedIn| which found 9 children were killed by carbon monoxide during Hurricane Ike, all of the children were running generators to power video game consoles.

Of the 37 individuals treated for carbon monoxide poisoning after the storm, 20 were under the age of 20. In nine of those cases, researchers were able to speak with families to determine why a generator was being used. In 75 percent of those cases, the generator was used to run video games.

Sounds like natural selection in action to me.

The Consumerist has some safety tips for running a generator safely.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

End of Academic Year

This blog isn't dead, I'm just so damned busy these days. End of the academic year has me busy and I'm so ambitious I bite off too much.

I meant to cut back on my volunteer work this year... but with mixed results.

Monday, May 04, 2009


Thaddeus Jimenez was convicted of murder when he was 13 years old. He was recently exonerated after 16 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Rescue Chip

A rescue chip is the chip you use to fish the bits of the first one that broke apart in the dip.

[e.g.] My tortilla chip busted when I tried to load it with extra salsa so I gotta get a rescue chip to recover the pieces. |Urban Dictionary|

Friday, May 01, 2009

Glorious Spring

I walked to school today and plan to bike tomorrow. I gardened in the misty rain this morning and it was glorious.

Speaking of following distances, when following people on foot, I like to always have strangers at least one arms length away and preferably farther. More distance means more reaction time.

That's why I hate big cities, in high population densities, I am forced to allow others within my personal space on a regular basis.

I always allow friends and family within my personal space and I often allow library patrons into my personal space, but only after I've determined that they're (probably) not mad as hatters... as a professional librarian, I've developed a spidey sense |UD| for paranoid schizophrenics.

In this day and age of political correctness, the only people you can still make fun of are the French and mad hatters.

Safety Propositions: safe following distances

Blogging has been light of late... what can I say? I'm busy getting stuff done! I'm running a library RA pool this summer, which is going to be great fun.

But I did want to share that if I see a fire diamond symbol or NFPA 704 |Wikipedia| placard on a vehicle, I stay as far away as possible. I think 10 car lengths away is a minimum following (or leading) distance, especially when the flammability and reactivity are numbers are high. If you must pass, be quick about it, don't hang out next to the vehicle in heavy traffic.

A cop once suggested to me that I always try to keep one car length for every 10 mph of speed between me and a vehicle in the same lane as me while driving. I try to practice that, but it's impossible in places like LA.

I stay especially far away from big vehicles with NFPA 704 placards. Tanker trucks and round railroad cars often have these symbols. That's one thing I've taken away from my CERT training...