Friday, May 31, 2013

Girl by Jamaica IKincaid

I don't know how I missed this gorgeous poem by Jamaica Kincaid. It's part instructions on how to get along in life and part condemnations, as is a lot of advice girls get when they are coming of age. I especially love the dissonance at the end.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

MyHeartMap Challenge

MyHeartMap Challenge

AEDs, automatic external defibrillators, can dramatically improve chances of resuscitation and return to functional health.  The sooner the AED is used the better the chances. For each minute that passes between collapse and application of the AED the chances of survival drop by more than seven percent.

It is imperative that access to AEDs is quick but there is no database of the locations of the one million AEDs in the US.  My Heart Map is trying to correct that and is asking for help from the public. Bonus personal points - if you help with the effort you'll know where your local AEDs are and you'll be more prepared in case of cardiac arrest in your vicinity. (Don't worry, the devices talk you through the process. Pretty smart.)

Sunday, May 19, 2013


I really like this song but this is the first time I watched the video. Great storytelling.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Vaccines that Sound Like Science Fiction

I found an interesting article about vaccines to prevent certain reactions to "nicotine, cocaine, methamphetamine, and opiates". The idea is that post vaccine the drug molecules will be too large to pass the brain/blood barrier. You won't even need to block the receptors the way medications like Zyban or Chantix do with nicotine.

The research is at the animal phase and it's disturbing. According to the article they are burning the paws of rats to measure response times, tracking how long it takes the rats to take their paws off the heat source.

The researchers injected rats with heroin and placed them on a plate that was hot enough to cause mild pain, but not injury. Control rats took 30 seconds to lift their paws off the plate. Vaccinated rats evinced sufficient discomfort to do so after just 10 seconds, no different from the response of animals not treated with heroin.

Is it really fair to make rats addicted to heroin? Animal research is useful but hard to stomach.

The vaccine won't neccessarily keep people from becoming addicted, or cure them, but it will help them stay sober by blocking drug effects if they fall off the wagon.

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