top via post – national geographic puts lsd under the microscope
top bloggy post – Slow Cinema & the Long Take
top poem – thank you for you patience
top short story – The curious adventures of Lord Fuckington
top photography – epiglottal
article about fentanyl use in Seattle – a highly addictive, completely synthetic opiate, that is more powerful than heroin.
Then, in the summer of 2009, he started hanging around with a girlfriend who liked opiates. He’d heard that fentanyl was back in the city, so he went back to it. “I was kind of doing it recreationally for a while, but your tolerance builds almost immediately, after just a week,” he says. (The half-life of fentanyl is only about two hours, experts say. The half-life of heroin is around six.) “I would start to go into withdrawals on a daily basis.”
New evidence suggests that heavy drinkers outlive teetotalers. How can that be?
A new study offers strong evidence that drinking alcohol, even in large quantities, may help extend your lifespan:
So drinking really helps you live longer?
It would seem so. In a large study of older adults, University of Texas researchers found that mortality rates were significantly lower for drinkers than for teetotalers. Among drinkers, heavy partakers (4+ drinks a day) had a higher morality rate than moderate ones (1-3 drinks a day). (Watch a report about the study)
What are the numbers behind this assertion?
The researchers followed 1,824 participants between the ages of 55 and 65 for 20 years. Just over 69 percent of those who had never drunk alcohol died during that time, 60 percent of the heavy drinkers died, and only 41 percent of moderate drinkers died.
Surely other factors come into play?
Undoubtedly — but the University of Texas did their best to eliminate as many as they could. The authors got their results by “controlling for nearly all imaginable variables,” including physical activity, general health and social and economic status.
So can we say alcohol is good for you?
We can’t go that far yet, say the study’s authors. The dangers of drinking to excess include mental impairment, increased likelihood of accidental injury, and dependency issues. In other words, says Amy Scattergood at L.A. Weekly, “drinking might increase your lifespan, but it can also screw it up in pretty massive ways if you’re not careful.”
Why does alcohol help you live longer?
Unfortunately, says John Cloud at Time, the reasons “aren’t exactly clear.” We know that moderate alcohol use can “improve heart health, circulation and sociability,” but there’s no firm evidence that shows why even heavy drinkers outlive those who abstain. Maybe it’s just because they’re more fun, says Max Read at Gawker. Heavy drinkers enjoy the “social benefits” that come with alcohol, whereas studies show abstainers run a high risk of depression. Everyone knows an active social life helps you live longer, and besides, “I’ve been the only sober person at a party, and let me tell you, it is depressing.”
Article about Alcoholics Anonymous co-founder William Griffith Wilson and the influence a belladonna fueled halucination may have had on the founding of the organisation.
I think that headline might be a little misleading. Then again, after being fired by the government for telling the truth maybe the guy really does just wanna kick back and trip the light fantastic.
A friend was telling me about mephedrone the other day. I of course told him that drugs were bad, that they are always bad, and that there was no in between. All drugs are the same! They are evil and dangerous and turn 3 year olds into face-gnawing pederast fodder!
Oh, except for alcohol. But that’s not really a drug. All those mind-alterting pharmacuticals the doctor gives you so you can stand another day in your soul destroying job without flipping out and murdering your boss and co-workers? They’re okay. Those are the good drugs.
What’s that? There are positive results to be ascertained from drugs? Liberal Conspiritor I dub thee! Get thee to a nunnery!
Last month at a Lancaster nightclub, seven people were arrested for possession of a drug, even though the policeman leading the arrest team made it clear that the drug was not illegal. This was not the first time the police had exhibited such behaviour in relation to this drug, so what is leading to this apparently irrational police behaviour? The drug in question is mephedrone [not to be confused with the opioid substitute treatment methadone], a synthetic stimulant drug that is relatively new on the UK drug scene although it has been popular in Israel for a number of years.
Mephedrone is one of a number of so-called “legal highs” – these are drugs that users find pleasurable but which are not yet illegal, and indeed may never be. Mephedrone goes under various trade names such as “meow meow”, “plant food” and “bubbles”, terms derived from its chemical structure, commercial uses and subjective effects respectively. It is readily available from “head shops” and is popular with university students and other groups of clubbers. Its pharmacology is hardly studied but it is chemically related to the amphetamines. Users describe effects that suggest its actions are between those of amphetamine (speed) and MDMA (ecstasy); it activates, energises and makes them feel good but is relatively short-lasting.
Read more of the latest threat to your children, society, indeed the very fabric of reality and the cosmos over at 23narchy in the UK
and there’s more of me talking about this, but with a serious tone, here
News of a documentary about the life of William Burroughs sent me scurrying – giant bug-style – back to his most celebrated work, Naked Lunch. Actually, it was more of a tentative crawl, because this was and remains the most difficult book I’ve ever encountered.
Maybe I’m about to commit hara kiri on my intellectual/literary credibility – such as it is – but I must confess: I find Naked Lunch pretty much unreadable. And not in the Dan Brown/misery lit/sleb memoir sense: I could read those if I had to, I just wouldn’t enjoy it.
But Naked Lunch, my God … It’s like someone swallowed the diaries of a hallucinating lunatic and vomited the resultant mess into your ears, stomach bile and all. While I can admit Burroughs was an important and seminal (pun probably not intended) writer, I can’t read Naked Lunch without feeling queasy. And I can’t finish it.
Lord knows I’ve tried. I wrestled with it again just this week. But once more this slim volume defeated me, forcing me to pound the mat and yell, “No more!” I felt as exhausted and brain-fried as someone coming out the far end of a two-week bender, but without any of the pleasurable memories.
Each time I get about halfway through, battling each disconnected sentence, all that disturbing weirdness, trying to mentally force some kind of shape onto these brilliant, demented ramblings, and then … I don’t know. I run out of energy, maybe. Or interest. Or time. Or willingness to engage with the most grotesque and unsettling imagery this side of a prog rock album covers compendium. (The specific line this time round, the literary straw that broke my camel’s back, was: “Mold odors of atrophied testicles quilted his body in a fuzzy grey fog …” I’m not sure which disturbs me more: the horrible vision conjured up, or the annoying spelling of “mould” and “odours”.)
No: for me the best part of Naked Lunch – the only part I can get through – is the pharmacological essay in the appendix. A fascinating explanation of the effects of narcotics on mind and body. And it got me to thinking about drugs in literature; more specifically, fictional drugs.
Inventing a drug gives authors a certain freedom: they’re no longer bound by the known, recorded, provable consequences of real-world consumption. You can’t have a character hallucinate vividly and poetically, for instance, if they’ve injected heroin: it doesn’t have that kind of effect (according to Dr Benway in Naked Lunch, it “affords relief from the whole life-process”). But a fictional drug offers a blank slate. Now the characters can do anything, go anywhere, have any sort of reaction, good or ill – and indeed, make any political argument the author wishes them to make.
The brain’s innate interest in the new and different may help trump the power of addictive drugs, according to research published by the American Psychological Association. In controlled experiments, novelty drew cocaine-treated rats away from the place they got cocaine.
Novelty could help break the vicious cycle of treatment and relapse, especially for the many addicts with novelty-craving, risk-taking personalities, the authors said. Drug-linked settings hold particular sway over recovering addicts, which may account in part for high rates of relapse.
A photogallery of famous literary drunks & addicts. Below, Ernest Hemmingway, who I have never actually read (the shame!) but I just had to stick him here for you to see because of the awesomely distrubing description under the photo.
Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961): BoozeNotorious for making fun of his fellow writers who sought relief from their own alcoholism (when Fitzgerald admitted that alcohol had bested him, Hemingway urged him to toss his “balls into the sea — if you have any balls left”), Papa himself was an increasingly messy drunk. George Plimpton once famously observed that by the end, Hemingway’s ruined liver protruded from his belly “like a long fat leech.”
Whether it’s Tony Montana snorting lines of coke the length of pool tables, Cheech and Chong puffing on some quality bud, Harry Goldfarb injecting himself with smack, or crack smoking on The Wire, mind-altering and recreational drugs have been a major part of movies and television for a long time. But there are also a gangload of fictional drugs to consider, when the stuff that already exists isn’t potent enough.
Some fictional drugs can be simply a great time, while others grant the user incredible perspective or abilities. One thing’s for sure, they are all a lot more powerful than the dime bag you bought from the creepy guy on the corner. Anyway, there are quite a few that stick out, so take a look at the most memorable fictional drugs in movies and television.
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