Posts Tagged ‘Drugs’
In the grand tradition De Quincey, Freud, Burroughs, and Thompson (if not Emerson, from whom the quote in the title of this post), Bryan Saunders used self-experimentation as source material– as explained in “Artist Takes Every Drug Known to Man, Draws Self Portraits After Each Use.”
[TotH to EWW]
As we follow the yellow brick road, we might send alternative birthday greetings to The Village Voice; it was first published on this date in 1955. Started with backing from Norman Mailer (among others), the Voice was the first of the “alternative weeklies.” Since it’s absorption in 2005 into a chain of urban free weeklies, the Voice has become, essentially, an ordinary “urban shopper.” But in it’s first 50 years, it featured reportage, opinion, essays, and literary contributions from the likes of Ezra Pound, Henry Miller, Katherine Anne Porter, James Baldwin, e.e. cummings, Nat Hentoff, Ted Hoagland, William Bastone (later of thesmokinggun.com), Lucian Truscott IV, Tom Stoppard, Lorraine Hansberry, and Allen Ginsberg. Its award-winning reviewers– including Jonas Mekas, Linda Solomon, Robert Christgau, and J. Hoberman– helped define the taste of an age; and it’s cartoonists– led by regular Jules Feiffer, and including R. Crumb, Matt Groening, Lynda Barry, and Tom Tomorrow– helped set its tone.
Recently uncovered evidence suggests that William Shakespeare used marijuana, and now a team of paleontologists want to dig him up to prove it.
Francis Thackeray, an anthropologist and director of the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa, has made a formal request to the Church of England to unearth the playwright. “We have incredible techniques,” Thackeray told Fox News. “We don’t intend to move the remains at all.”
After determining the identity of the remains, Thackeray’s team hopes to find out more about Shakespeare’s life and even the cause of his death. “Growth increments in the teeth will reveal if he went through periods of stress or illness — a plague for example, which killed many people in the 1600s,” he said.
Further tests should be able to ascertain if the Bard smoked marijuana. “If we find grooves between the canine and the incisor, that will tell us if he was chewing on a pipe as well as smoking,” Thackeray explained.
Pipes uncovered in the garden of Shakespeare’s home in 2001 showed evidence of cannabis and cocaine. “There were very low concentrations of cannabis, but the signature was there,” according to Inspector Tommy van der Merwe, who tested the pipes at South Africa’s Forensic Science Laboratory.
The evidence of cocaine was also very strong. “The pipes we tested still had dirt in them which preserved the residues inside the stem and bowl,” Van der Merwe said. “The readings we got were the same as if it had tested a modern-day crack pipe.”
Camphor, myristic acid, and quinoline were among other substances detected in the pipes. “Myristic acid, which is found in nutmeg, has hallucinogenic properties, and camphor, perhaps, was used to hide the smell of tobacco or other substances,” Thackeray noted in 2001.
Sonnet 76 of Shakespeare’s poems contains a reference to the “noted weed.”
Via The Raw Story.
As we wonder if perhaps it was actually Francis Bacon or the Earl of Oxford who did the dope, we might recall that it was on this date in 1971 that the first ever National Scrabble Championship was held, when Gyles Brandreth had brought together 100 players in London. Despite this slow start (Scrabble was created by Alfred Mosher Butts in 1938), national tournaments sprang up in other countries over the next several years; and a World Championship was established in 1991.
Gyles Brandreth (source)
In 2009, physicians in the U.S. wrote more prescriptions for psychiatric drugs than there are citizens of the country.
The good folks at Good have teamed with Stanford Kay to create a Top Ten list of Mother’s (and Father’s and Sister’s and Brother’s) Little Helpers…
As we note that “this one makes makes you bigger, this one makes you small,” we might recall that it was on this date in 1955 that psychiatrist Nathan Kline testified before the U.S. Congress about his work with the drug Reserpine to treat psychosis. Kline was sufficiently compelling that he influenced passage of the Mental Health Studies Act of 1955, and received over $2 million in research grants for psychopharmacological research to study antidepressant medications. His discovery of Reserpine and his subsequent lobbying efforts have earned him the title “Founder of the field of psychopharmacology.” He is the only two-time winner of the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research (“America’s Nobel Prize”).
From io9, “Use Your Microwave to Measure the Speed of Light“…
Can your microwave oven really measure the speed of light? Yes, it can be done. And since many of the suggested experiments also involve chocolate, it will be done. Oh yes, it will be done.
Step-by-step instructions (and an accessible account of the physics involved) here.
Also from io9, “A Drug That Causes One Animal’s Brain to Transform Into Another.”– “Does this mean you could treat a chimp embryo and make its brain human? Possibly – as long as you started very early in the process of development.” Fascinating.
As we say “Hello, Mr. Wizard,” we might recall that it was on this date in in 1671 that Thomas Blood, an Irish Colonel and a “noted bravo and desperado,” dressed as a clergyman and attempted to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.
Blood was frustrated in the attempt, apprehended, and taken in chains before King Charles. Despite the attempted robbery, prior involvements in kidnapping and attempted murder, and the fact that Blood had forsaken the Royalist cause for the Roundheads, the King not only pardoned Blood, but endowed him with land in Ireland. Blood died of natural causes nine years later.
From the good folks at Pill Talk, a reminder that today’s illicit drugs were yesterday’s featured pharmaceuticals… From Black Beauties marketed as a weight loss aid to Bayer’s ad for Heroin (“the sedative for coughs”), readers can see them all here. (And for more on Heroin’s companion in the Bayer catalog, aspirin, see the almanac portion of the post here.)
As we realize that we still have our coughs but don’t really care, we might remark that today is the birthday of not one but two extraordinary mathematicians: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646; variants on his date of birth due to calendar changes), the German philosopher, scientist, mathematician, diplomat, librarian, lawyer, co-inventor, with Newton, of The Calculus, and “hero” of Neal Stephenson’s Baroque Trilogy… and Alan Turing (1912), British mathematician, computer science pioneer (inventor of the Turing Machine, creator of “the Turing Test” and inspiration for “The Turing Prize”) and cryptographer (leading member of the team that cracked the Enigma code during WWII). Go figure…