Archive for ‘Drugs’

March 2, 2015

Brotherhood of Eternal Love

orange sunshine

The Brotherhood of Eternal Love was an organization of drug users and distributors that operated from the mid-1960s through the late 1970s in Orange County, California; they were dubbed the ‘Hippie Mafia.’ They produced and distributed drugs in hopes of starting a ‘psychedelic revolution’ in the US. The organization was started by spiritual guru John Griggs as a commune but by 1969 had turned to the manufacture of LSD and the importing of hashish. The group was known for it’s particular brand of highly potent acid dubbed ‘Orange Sunshine.’

In 1970, the Brotherhood hired the radical left organization the Weather Underground for a fee of $25,000 to help Harvard psychologist and LSD evangelist Timothy Leary make his way to Algeria after he escaped from prison, while serving a 5-year sentence for possession of marijuana. Their activities came to an end on August 5, 1972 in a drug raid where dozens of group members in California, Oregon, and Hawaii were arrested, though all of them were released within months; some who had escaped the raid continued underground or fled abroad. More members were arrested in 1994 and 1996, and the last of them in 2009.

December 9, 2014

Gypsy Brewery

Mikkeller

evil twin

A gypsy brewery is a beer company that does not have its own equipment or premises; it operates on a temporary or itinerant basis out of the facilities of another brewery, generally making ‘one-off’ special occasion beers. The term may refer to the brewmaster, or to the brand of beer. The trend of gypsy brewing spread early in Scandinavia. Their beers, and collaborations later spread to America and Australia.

Gypsy brewers typically use facilities of larger makers with excess capacity. Often, their beers are made with herbs, spices, and fruits, use experimental styles, are high in alcohol, or are aged in old wine or liquor barrels. Prominent examples include Pretty Things, Stillwater Artisanal Ales, Mikkeller and Evil Twin.

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December 2, 2014

Drunken Monkey Hypothesis

Drunken Monkey by Anna-Lina Balke

The drunken monkey hypothesis proposes that human attraction to ethanol may have a genetic basis due to the high dependence of the primate ancestor of Homo sapiens on fruit as a food source. Ethanol naturally occurs in ripe and overripe fruit and consequently early primates developed a genetically based attraction to the substance. This hypothesis was originally proposed by Dr. Robert Dudley of UC, Berkeley and was the subject of a symposium for the ‘Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology.’

Dudley believes that while most addictive substances are relatively new to humans, ethanol attraction may have a long evolutionarily based history. He believes that fruit ethanol may have been a significant source of energy and that the smell of the ripening fruit would help primates locate it. Ethanol is a light molecule and diffuses rapidly in a natural environment. Primates are known to have a higher olfactory sensitivity to alcohol than other mammals. The once-beneficial attraction to ethanol may underlie human tendencies for alcohol use and alcohol abuse.

November 30, 2014

Caffeine

Lu Yu

Caffeinated drink

Caffeine is a naturally occurring chemical found in various seeds, leaves, nuts, and berries. It serves a dual function in plants: as a toxin against unwanted pests, and as an enticement to pollinators, who are stimulated by it. Common sources of caffeine include coffee seeds (beans), tea leaves, kola nuts, yerba mate leaves, and guarana berries. It is extracted from the plant by steeping in water, a process called infusion. Chemically caffeine is an alkaloid, a non-acidic, nitrogen containing compound. A number of alkaloids are produced by flowering plants (e.g. cocaine from coca, nicotine from tobacco, morphine from poppies) to reduce or avoid being eaten by herbivores.

Specifically, caffeine is a xanthine alkaloid, an organic (carbon-based) compound from which many stimulants are derived. It is the world’s most widely consumed psychoactive drug, but unlike many other psychoactive substances, it is legal and unregulated in nearly all parts of the world. Part of the reason caffeine is classified by the FDA as ‘generally recognized as safe’ is that toxic doses, over 10 grams per day for an adult, are much higher than the typically used doses of under 500 milligrams.

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October 29, 2014

Nitrogen Narcosis

narcosis

Nitrogen narcosis [nahr-koh-sis] (also known as ‘raptures of the deep’ and the ‘Martini effect’) is a reversible alteration in consciousness that occurs while diving at depth. It is caused by the anesthetic effect of certain gases at high pressure. The Greek word ‘narcosis’ is derived from ‘narke,’ ‘temporary decline or loss of senses and movement, numbness,’ a term used by Homer and Hippocrates. Narcosis produces a state similar to intoxication caused by drinking alcohol or inhaling nitrous oxide. It can occur during shallow dives, but usually becomes noticeable at depths greater than 30 meters (100 ft).

Except for helium and probably neon, all gases that can be breathed have a narcotic effect, although widely varying in degree. The effect is consistently greater for gases with a higher lipid solubility (the ability to diffuse directly through the fatty part of a cell membrane), and there is good evidence that the two properties are mechanistically related. As depth increases, the mental impairment may become hazardous. Divers can learn to cope with some of the effects of narcosis, but it is impossible to develop a tolerance. Narcosis affects all divers, although susceptibility varies widely from dive to dive, and between individuals.

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May 29, 2014

Beer Mile

beer mile by John Markell

A Beer mile is a drinking race combining running and speed drinking. Typically, the event takes place on a standard 400 meter or 1/4 mile running track. Each lap must be preceded by the drinking of a standard amount of beer, typically a 12-ounce can. Rules vary by region. One custom requires runners to prove they have finished their beer by inverting it over their heads before commencing a lap.

The standard rules published by BeerMile.com are based on the most common rules used in North America. They specify that any competitor who vomits prior to finishing the race must complete a penalty lap immediately following the fourth lap. The penalty lap does not require the drinking of an additional beer. The standard rules also dictate that the beer be consumed directly from the pour of the can (i.e. tampering with the cans, such as ‘shotgunning,’ is not allowed). The beer used for the competition must also be full-strength, or at least 5.0% ABV. Hard ciders and other alcoholic beverages are generally not allowed.

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March 6, 2014

Beyond the Black Rainbow

Beyond the Black Rainbow

Beyond the Black Rainbow is a 2010 Canadian science fiction film written and directed by Panos Cosmatos in his feature film debut. The films begins in the 1960s, as Dr. Arboria founds the Arboria Institute, a New Age research facility dedicated to finding a reconciliation between science and spirituality, allowing human beings to move into a new age of perpetual happiness.

In the 1980s, Arboria’s work has been taken over by his protégé, Dr. Barry Nyle. Outwardly a charming, handsome scientist, Nyle is in fact a psychopath who has been keeping Elena, a teenage girl, captive in an elaborate prison/hospital beneath the Institute. Elena demonstrates psychic capabilities, which Nyle can suppress, using a glowing, prism-like device.

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March 4, 2014

Psychoactive Toad

hallucinogenic frogs

Psychoactive toads are amphibians from which psychoactive substances from the family of bufotoxins can be derived. The skin and poison of Bufo alvarius (Colorado River toad or Sonoran Desert toad) contain 5-MeO-DMT and bufotenin, which both belong to the family of hallucinogenic tryptamines. The skin or poison of the toads may produce psychoactive effects when ingested. To obtain the psychoactive substances the toxin of psychoactive toads is commonly milked from their poison glands. The milking procedure does not harm the toad — it consists of stroking the animal under its chin to initiate the defensive poison response.

Once the liquid toxin has been collected and dried, it can be used for its psychedelic effects. The toad takes about a month to refill its poison glands. Rumors dating from the 1970s claimed that groups of hippies, some including teenagers, were licking the psychoactive toads to get high. Albert Most, founder of the Church of the Toad of Light and a proponent of recreational use of Bufo alvarius poison, published a booklet titled ‘Bufo alvarius: The Psychedelic Toad of the Sonoran Desert’ in 1983 which explained how to extract and smoke the secretions.

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November 23, 2013

Soju

jinro chamisul

Soju (lit. ‘burned liquor’) is a distilled beverage native to Korea, typically 20% alcohol by volume. Jinro and Lotte soju are the first and third top selling alcohol brands in the world. It is usually consumed neat. It is traditionally made from rice, wheat, barley, but modern producers of soju use supplements or even replace rice with other starches, such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, or tapioca.

Alcohol etiquette is tied to South Korea’s strict culture of respect, particular for elders. When accepting a glass from an older person, the recipient must hold the glass with two hands (left palm on the bottom, right hand holding the side) and bow the head slightly. When drinking the younger person must turn away from the elder and cover their mouth and glass with their hands. There are a few rules unique to Soju: never pour your own glass, and don’t refill your glass until it’s empty.

November 19, 2013

Zoopharmacognosy

drunken monkey

michael huffman

Zoopharmacognosy [zoh-uh-fahr-muh-kog-nuh-see] refers non-human animal self-medication (using plants, soils, insects and psychoactive drugs to treat and prevent disease). Coined by Dr. Eloy Rodriguez, a biochemist and professor at Cornell University, the term came to popular attention in 2003 from Open University lecturer Cindy Engel in ‘Wild Health: How Animals Keep Themselves Well and What We Can Learn from Them.’ A well-known example of zoopharmacognosy is when dogs eat grass to induce vomiting. Some species ingest non-foods such as clay, charcoal, and even toxic plants, apparently to ward off parasitic infestation or poisoning.

Noted primate researcher Jane Goodall witnessed chimpanzees eating particular bushes, apparently to make themselves vomit. Reportedly, they also swallow whole leaves of rough-leaved plants such as Aneilema aequinoctiale to remove parasitic worms from their intestines. Illustrating the medicinal knowledge of some species, apes have been observed utilizing a medicinal plant by taking off leaves then breaking the stem to suck out the juice. Elephants in Africa will self-medicate by chewing on the leaves of a tree from the family Boraginaceae, which induces birth. Kenyans also use this tree for the same purpose.

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October 28, 2013

Pharmacy Automation

robot invasion

Omnicell

Pharmacy automation is the automation of tasks performed in pharmacy: measuring and mixing powders and liquids for compounding; tracking and updating customer information in databases (e.g. personally identifiable information, medical history, drug interaction risk detection); inventory management; and dispensing of medication.

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October 19, 2013

Drunken Boxing

drunken master

Zui quan is a concept in traditional Chinese martial arts literally meaning ‘drunken fist,’ the term is also commonly translated as drunken boxing. Zui quan has the appearance of a drunkard’s movements. The postures are created by momentum and weight of the body, and imitation is generally through staggering and certain type of fluidity. It is considered to be among the most difficult wushu styles to learn due to the need for powerful joints and fingers. While in fiction practitioners of zui quan are often portrayed as being actually intoxicated, the actual practice is usually performed sober.

Even though the style seems irregular and off balance it takes the utmost balance to be successful. To excel one must be relaxed and flow with ease from technique to technique. Swaying, drinking, and falling are used to throw off opponents. When the opponent thinks the drunken boxer is vulnerable he is usually well balanced and ready to strike. When swigging a wine cup the practitioner is really practicing grabbing and striking techniques. The waist movements trick opponents into attacking, sometimes even falling over. Falls can be used to avoid attacks but also to pin attackers to the ground while vital points are targeted.