‘Law & Order’ Senator?

‘Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), the sometime actor who once said that life in Washington made him “long for the sincerity and realism of Hollywood,” is negotiating to join the cast of “Law & Order” this fall, Hollywood sources report.

Thompson, the first sitting senator to have a lead role in a TV series, is slated to play a newly named district attorney and boss of Executive Assistant DA Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston) and Assistant DA Serena Southerlyn (Elisabeth Rohm).’ Washington Post [via Spike]


blivet‘s Hal Rager is 47 year old today, and yesterday was the fourth anniversary of his ordination as a Zen Buddhist priest. Hearty wishes, Hal!

Psychological consequences of cancer and their management:

A review from the British Journal of Medicine

. Sent by a trusted reader who says it “looks like a handy reference to have around for

us laypeople.”

Only a minority of cancer patients develop psychiatric illness, but other psychologically and socially determined problems are common. These include unpleasant symptoms such as pain, nausea, and fatigue; problems with finances, employment, housing, and childcare; family worries; and existential and spiritual doubts. Well planned care that fully involves patients and their families can minimise these problems…

Professor X

Not your usual psychedelic explorer:

With his gray beard, shock of white hair, and wrinkled tribal-patterned shirts, he certainly looks the part of a counterculture icon. But unlike Timothy Leary or Terence McKenna, Shulgin doesn’t proselytize for psychedelic drugs. Instead, he invents new compounds, runs experiments to determine their pharmacological effects, and publishes his recipes. His 1976 synthesis of MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine), aka ecstasy, is the best-known result of his work. But he’s also created dozens of other psychoactive compounds, including DOM (2,5-dimethoxy-4-methylamphetamine), more commonly known as the potent ’60s psychedelic STP, and 2C-T-7 (2,5-dimethoxy-4-(n)-propylthiophenethylamine), now sold on the street as “tripstasy”and suspected in the overdose death of a Tennessee teenager last year.

Together with Ann, Shulgin has written two books that have become cult classics: PIHKAL: A Chemical Love Story (short for “Phenethylamines I Have Known And Loved”) and TIHKAL: The Continuation (about tryptamines). They have long tested his compounds on themselves, in the tradition of scientists a century ago, then written about them in a style that mixes dispassionate technical detail (“A suspension of 9.5 g LAH in 750 ml well stirred and hydrous Et20 was held at reflux under an inert atmosphere”) with wide-eyed psychedelic utopianism (“I saw the cloud toward the west. THE CLOUDS!!! No visual experience has ever been like this.”). His approach inspired the so-called psychonauts, a small group of scientifically sophisticated young explorers who post chemical syntheses, experimental results, and “Train Wrecks and Trip Disasters” at Erowid.org. “Shulgin has given the scientific approach a role model,” says one psychonaut who, under the pseudonym Murple, self-publishes studies on next-generation psychedelics like 2C-T-7. Wired [thanks, David]

Experts Expect Rapid Rise in West Nile Virus Cases

“The number of cases of West Nile fever is expected to rise sharply in the next week and could eventually reach 1,000, federal health officials said yesterday. If the current epidemic reflects experience, about 10 percent of the cases will be fatal.

Yesterday, New York City reported its first case of the year.

This year, 169 cases, including 9 deaths, have been reported from 12 states and the District of Columbia, health officials said.” NY Times

Axis of Medieval

Nicholas Kristof: Bush vs. Women: “The Bush administration is allying the U.S. with the likes of Iran, Sudan and Syria to frustrate international efforts to save the lives of third-world women.” NY Times op-ed

Ultimate Frisbee:

Ed Headrick, Designer of the Modern Frisbee, Dies at 78: “Mr. Headrick asked that his ashes be molded into a limited number of memorial flying discs, which will be distributed to his family and friends, his son Ken told The Santa Cruz Sentinel.

“We used to say that Frisbee is really a religion — `Frisbyterians,’ we’d call ourselves,” Mr. Headrick said in an interview with the newspaper in October.

“When we die, we don’t go to purgatory,” he continued. “We just land up on the roof and lay there.”” NY Times