If open threads are outlawed, only outlaws will open threads.
Archives for April 2007
The Institute of Psychiatry study gave THC, CBD or placebo capsules to adult male volunteers who had not abused cannabis.
They then carried out brain scans, and a battery of tests, and found that those who took THC showed reduced activity in an area of the brain called the inferior frontal cortex, which keeps inappropriate thoughts and behaviour, such as swearing and paranoia in check.
The effects were short-lived, but some people appeared more vulnerable than others.
In a second study, a team from Yale University administered THC intravenously.
Even at relatively low doses, they found 50% of healthy volunteers began to show symptoms of psychosis.
Volunteers who already had a history of psychotic symptoms appeared to be particularly vulnerable.
Like most of my science posts I don’t have any political agenda to push here. If pot contains chemicals that have promise in medicine then I think it deserves research just like any other potential cure. In the spirit of full disclosure I’m wearing a pair of hemp pants right now, and it seems like a pure shame that the cotton biz has succeeded so well in keeping this great material down. Looking back at a fairly normal youth in America, all of my scary pot stories involve either the fact that it is illegal or people doing crazy things under the influence of either some additional drug or their own underlying craziness. So call me lukewarm when it comes to the dangers of wacky tabacky, and hopeful about the potential good from destigmatized research and industrial use.
I certainly wouldn’t classify pot in the same category as serious habit formers like heroin and cocaine or mind benders like LSD or psilocybin. But given our almost total knowledge vacuum about what cannibinoid molecules do inside the brain, treating them as harmless makes little sense either.
I don’t want to steal Tim’s content, but this is going to be ALL SORTS OF BLOODY:
The woman charged in a federal indictment with running a high-class Washington, D.C. call girl service says she plans to call her prominent clients to testify at her trial.
Jeane Palfrey, dubbed the D.C. Madam, says among those she will call to testify are Randall Tobias, who resigned Friday as deputy secretary of state after confirming to ABC News that he had been a customer of Palfrey’s escort service.
Tobias said he “had some gals come over to the condo for a massage” but denied any sex was involved.
Tobias is the second prominent man to be identified as a customer of the Palfrey’s “sexual fantasy service.” Two weeks ago, Palfrey alleged that military strategist Harlan K. Ullman, creator of the “shock and awe” combat theory and now a scholar with the Center for Strategic and International Studies, was also a customer. Ullman has said that the claim was “beneath the dignity of comment.”
I wish there was a way that only the hypocrites could be named and hurt by this.
I’m not that big a fan of honoring every random thing with its own calendar slot,* but I like poetry so it seems fitting to send off National Poetry Month with at least one post on the topic. The whole idea of favorite poets does a disservice to the art, since we go through times when any of two dozen poets and specific works speaks to us more strongly than the others. I have had Donne periods, Frost, Pound and Wislawa Szymborka. Often I switch between being mesmerized at the mythic renderings of Gary Snyder’s beatnik life and frustration with the way that he poemizes ordinary journal entries by adding arbitrary line breaks. For a few demented nights in college I was a Neruda guy.
So instead of picking our favorite poets, let’s use this thread to recall the poems that we can write down without looking them up. By definition that will make this a thread for poetry wonks, as if that is a bad thing. I will lead off with one of the few poems that I both like and (hopefully) remember in full.
Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if I had to perish twice,
I think I’ve known enough of hate
to say that for destruction ice is also great
and would suffice.
(*) Please remind me when Intergalactic Coblogger Week comes around this year. For some stupid reason I keep missing it.
Before going too far into this new study, non-scientist readers should remember that every year basic research produces hundreds of promising leads that for whatever reason don’t pan out. Either the proposed treatment has too many side effects, it doesn’t work as well as something already on the market, follow-up work discredits the original report or the treatment doesn’t work when translated from mice to humans. As a general rule exciting lab results should raise an eyebrow but we should hold off on changing our lives until the clinical trials are in.
That said, keep an eye on new results from a team at MIT:
Scientists found mice with a similar condition to Alzheimer’s were able to regain memories of tasks they had previously been taught.
A team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found two methods – brain stimulation and drugs – both worked.
[…] After six weeks with the brain disease, the mice were no longer able to remember how to perform these tasks.
Some of the mice were then placed in a more stimulating environment with toys, treadmills and other mice.
The playground mice were able to remember the shock test far better than the mice in other cages. They were also better at learning new things.
Scientists then tested a class of drugs called histone deacetylase, or HDAC, inhibitors on the mice.
These also improved memory and learning, similar to improvements made by environmental stimulation
Also reported in the Washington Post, which emphasizes the treatment’s potential to recover lost memories.
HDAC proteins reduce gene expression by tightening the interaction between histone proteins and DNA. Inhibiting these lifts the block on silenced genes and increases overall gene expression, although it remains unclear how exactly gene silencing relates to the protein plaques that cause Alzheimer’s disease.
Although none of the reports I have found identify the drug (anybody?), it struck me that this class of drug alost exactly counteracts a red wine-related polyphenol called resveratrol, a drug that should sound familiar to frequent readers of this blog. Although none fo the reports have made the jump from lab animals to humans, resveratrol and related polyphenols have shown promising results in preventing cancer, decreasing infectious diseases, extending lifespan, increasing stamina and most intriguingly, increased mental agility in rats. If HDAC inhibitors fight Alzheimer’s disease, and resveratrol almost directly counteracts the effects of HDAC inhibitor drugs, does that mean that resveratrol makes Alzheimer’s disease more likely? Why would resveratrol-like polyphenols increase mental agility and at the same time almost the exact opposite drug fights Alzheimer’s?
This work lies outside my personal expertise so all that I can offer is provocative questions. But the odd contradictions here suggest that something weird is going on, and a lucrative prize waits for whoever figures it out.
This is your captain speaking, and I would like to take a moment to welcome Rick Moran aboard the Defeatocrat cruise ship for his maiden voyage. Since Rick is new, I will repost the itinerary for his first morning with the Defeatocrats. The ship will board in Berkeley on May Day.
5 AM- Sunrise Yoga Session led by Deepak Chopra. Come join us as we get in touch with our inner selves to a beautiful California sunrise while listening to melodic new age music.
6 AM– Community Showers led by Code Pink and Mothers Against the War. Don’t forget to bring your soap and deodorant, but remember that some of your fellow cruise matesmay be sensitive to perfumes, so no cologne.
7 AM– Vegan breakfast. Come feast on our delicious and fulfilling breakfast by the bay, which will feature all bran cereals with added wheat bulger, unflavored yogurt, and a variety of all natural, home grown fruits- and I don’t mean Harvey Fierstein.
8 AM– Prayer Session led by Al Sharpton and Cindy Sheehan
8:30 AM– Loyalty Oath, trading of black armbands. Duringthis brief session, new cruise members will pledge loyalty the the House and Senate leadership. At this point, you are no longer permitted to refer to Senator Reid as Senate Majority Leader, and must simply call him “Leader Reid” out of deference to our Soviet roots.
10 AM– Q and A Session led by Scott Ritter and Joe Wilson. This will be held in the Y. Arafat Memorial Meeting Room in the local CAIR chapter. In memory of Arafat, date palms and raisins will be served and all attendees will be asked to use a bucket when they need to go to the bathroom
11 AM– Group Therapy- Many notables will be present to help newer members adjust, including Bob Barr, Andrew Sullivan, Greg Drjerijan, and Pat Buchanan.
I think you will find the itinerary eases you in nicely, and remember, there are no fees or charges, because hating America is free.
Smartly, Iraq boosters gave up the tired cliche about painted schools and women’s clinics a long time ago. The work got too dangerous for us, contracting with Americans became a near death sentence and our government’s pathological hatred of oversight guaranteed that money spent largely disappeared to shoddy work and unaccountable fraud. These days the only thing we build is walls.
Still, at one time the stalwart defenders of our Iraq adventure liked to hold up this project or that as evidence that ouroccupation was doing some good. If the stories we didnt already know about weren’t enough to shame those arguments into silence, the New York Times pretty much puts it to bed:
In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United States had declared successes, seven were no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle.
Frankly, it seems almost insane to expect our projects to funtion normally in Iraq today. So on the one hand sure, I’m outraged that nearly everything that we spent in Iraq has come to naught. But honestly, if Stuart Bowen’s inspectors found that some of our projects remained functional in Iraq’s present state of near-total anarchy, wouldn’t that be shocking?
The grief that we sometimes get in the comments section is worth observations like this.
[I]t was probably expensive to clean all those flower petals off our tanks.
Another sex scandal. Tim will be titillated, as his favorite Madam gets another scalp.
Planting bombs at abortion clinics is terrorism. Eric Rudolph and those like him are domestic terrorists.
Here is the situation.
I switched computers, and have apparently lost all my information for this website. Meaning, I can not log in to make changes to the website because I not only do not know where to log in, but what my username PW are. Basically, all I have is the ability to log into WordPress.
How do I fix this? It has been so long since I touched the site I do not know where to begin. Would everything be at Hosting Matters?
FOUR DOLLAR GASOLINE.
When the next Shakespeare pens an Oedipus Rex or Richard III, his largest problem might be picking our president’s central, tragic flaw. Would he choose the epic lack of intellectual curiosity?* It would be sorely tempting to pick the overdeveloped messiah complex which blocks out the faintest hint of self-doubt. Merely separating phenomena (the oedipal masculinity gap between himself and poppy, and probably Barb as well) from epiphenomena (pathological fixation on knocking over Saddam) will take entire PhD theses. It might be easier to rewrite the rules of drama than pick a single pathology. Still, in a pinch it’s hard to disagree with this:
A prominent conservative complains: “With this White House, there is loyalty not to an idea, but to a person. When Republicans talked about someone in the Reagan administration being ‘loyal,’ they didn’t mean to Ronald Reagan but to the conservative movement.”
The president is psychologically incapable of examining an issue in depth, but he is also unable to tell disagreement from betrayal. Add together the ideological reflexivity and the gilded class demand of fealty in the place of what most of us would have called loyalty, and you have somebody who is both unable to make the right decision and incapable of revisiting it.
But then the tragedy of our last eight years probably won’t star an actor playing the president. More likely the guy taking the last bow at the end of the night will have just finished showing just how much damage a vice president can do with enough skill to exploit the president’s personal faults to the hilt, along with an almost unprecedented lack of scruples and judgment. Like one of those binary explosives A combines with B to make something that you would never have guessed by looking at either one alone.
(*) Pedant alert – yes, I know that Sophocles wrote Oedipus Rex. Next time I will write clearer.
So I am watching the debate (accidentally, I turned the tv on, and MSNBC was on), and looking at the candidates from the Democrats on stage tonight, and looking at the candidates from the Republicans, my first inclination is to treat the 2008 election like a Browns/Cowboys Superbowl- to root for injuries.
I have only caught the tail end, and I feel fortunate. There is some crazy gray-haired guy who seems to be mixing things up, and Dennis Kucinich is waving around a Constitution, and Edwards just seems so slick. Hillary Clinton is just terrible at this format. I have seen her do town hall things where she seemed downright likable, empathetic, and Presidential. Tonight, she has the forced stridency to her voice, and she appears stiff. Joe Biden seems to think he is at a cocktail party, and the way he is talking, he may very well have had a cocktail or too. He just laid he smack down on Kucinich, in fact- something about happy talk. Obama didn’t seem overly impressive, but it may be that is the impression I am getting simply because it seems like everyone is attacking him.
From the 20 minutes I have watched, the person who seemed most impressive was Chris Dodd.
*** Update ***
I am now watching the post-game wrap-up, and Chris Matthews is paining me. He is reminding me of Harry Caray, to be honest. Olberman talks about something, and Matthews just interrupts him with some random babble. A sample:
Olberman: What do you think of-
Matthews: There is a good looking couple there.
Olberman:- the way that the candid-
Matthews: And there is Mrs. Obama.
Because there are more things I want to post about, but you all probably need a break.