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ISS over NYC, 11/21/08 by abby

The International Space Station passes through the New York night sky, 11-21-08.
The International Space Station passes through the New York night sky.
My friend abby said:

“I tried (you only really get one try) to get a picture. Not great, but it’s that faint streak going vertically in the middle… [ISO 50 (that was the mistake), 165 seconds, f/11, 20mm]”

Adultery for heroin users


“A list of ingredients found by chemical analysis that have been used to cut street heroin sold in New York City from 1991 to 1996.

As reported in a 2000 review paper on trends in NYC heroin adulterants:

Acetaminophen (Analgesic)
Aminopyrine (Anti-inflammatory)
Amitryptaline (Anti-depressant)
Antipyrine (Body water measurement)
Benzoczine (Anesthetic)
Caffeine (Stimulant)
Cocaine (Stimulant)
d-metamphetamine (Stimulant)
Diphenhydramine (Anti-histamine)
Doxepin (Anesthetic)
Ephedrine (Stimulant)
Lidocaine (Anesthetic)
Hydroxyzine (Anxiety medication)
Methylparben (Chemical preservative)
Methocarbamol (Muscle relaxant)
Nabumetone (Arthritis treatment)
Nicotinamide (Coenzyme)
Phenylbutazone (Anti-inflammant)
Phenylpropanlamine (Dexatrim / caffeine)
Potassium chloride (Potassium supplement
Rocaine (Local anesthetic)
Propoxyphene (Analgesic – Darvon)
Sodium Bicarbonate (Acid indigestion)
Quinine (Malaria treatment)
Theophylline (Bronchial dialator)
Thiamine (Dietary supplement)
Thiopental (Barbiturate)
Thioridazine (Nausea medication)
Tripolidine (Allergy medication)
Disodium ethylenediame tetraacetic (Chelating agent for metals)

The study notes that the most common non-dope ingredients in street heroin are lactose, milk sugar, sucrose, cellulose, mannitol and other inert ingredients, but there is an increasing trend for heroin to contain psychoactive chemicals or additional substances to alter its effect through changing how it is absorbed into the body.

Interestingly, the paper also notes that professional heroin cutters are expensive, charging up to $20,000 for a kilo of heroin. This is likely due to the skill and knowledge needed to select ingredients that will have certain effects, which can be different for ‘smokers’, ‘snorters’ and ‘injectors’.

Ingredients that affect the vaporisation point of heroin will be more important for smokers, while adulterants that increase absorption through the nasal passages will obviously be more important for snorters.

For injectors, cutters need to be able to select ingredients that aren’t going to gum up needles or cause too much damage to the users’ veins.

Additionally, some ingredients are added purely for their psychoactive effect to give a different experience and ‘brand’ the dope.

However, owing to the cost of a professional cutter, some dealers just cut it themselves with whatever they think is reasonable, meaning all kinds of potentially fatal ingredients end up in the average bag of smack.”

Via Mind Hacks

Florida Teen Live-Streams His Suicide Online

‘A Florida teenager who used a webcam to live-stream his suicide Wednesday was reportedly encouraged by other people on the Web site, authorities told

Authorities say approximately 1,300 people watch as the boy takes his life.

"People were egging him on and saying things like 'go ahead and do it, faggot,' said Wendy Crane, an investigator at the Broward County Medical Examiner's office.

Abraham Biggs, 19, of Pembroke Pines, Fla., had been blogging on an online body-building message board and had linked to his page on, a live video streaming Web site, where the camera rolled as he overdosed on prescription pills, according to Crane.

Biggs, who had reportedly been discussing his suicide on the forums, also posted a suicide note on a body-building forum, which has since been taken down, in which he wrote, "I hate myself and I hate living." ‘

via ABC News

Deja vu tied to familiarity with past

The human brain

“In a report, published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, Anne Cleary of Colorado State University says deja vu may occur when aspects of a current situation resemble aspects of previously occurring situations — the more overlap between the elements of the new and old situations the stronger the feeling of familiarity”

via UPI

I haven’t read the research paper; just this account in the popular press. But it seems problematic. Most people I know can tell the difference between a deja vu experience and something reminding them of something from the past. The first response when something feels familiar is to ask what it could possibly be reminiscent of. The deja vu experience is so uncanny precisely because of that distinction — the nature of the situation promoting the sense of familiarity is one in which, after consideration, you know it cannot possibly be reminiscent of anything. It is more likely the case that deja vu represents a malfunction of the machinery of recognition or familiarity in the brain, in which the sensation of familiarity is too readily activated in inappropriate (i.e. novel) situations. This occurs, for example, in temporal lobe epilepsy, because the abnormal electrical activity autonomately activates areas of the brain associated with memory and recognition without the usual input. The research referenced here seems to misunderstand a fundamental aspect of deja vu, in short. This is my take on contemporary psychological research alot of the time. Hmmm, doesn’t that sound familiar?