Fatal Hypernatraemia from Excessive Salt Ingestion During Exorcism

Morton Salt Girl

“Although the patient received a prescription for Prozac to treat her postpartum depression, her family also advised her to undergo an exorcism. She reportedly drank six glasses of a mixture of 1 kg table salt in a liter of water! That’s more than what’s in your average container of Morton salt.” (via The Neurocritic). Before she died, the patient’s serum sodium was 255, the highest ever reported. (Normal is below 140 or so.)


Legal highs making the drug war obsolete

The so called "incense blend" spice ...

“If you want any evidence that drugs have won the drug war, you just need to read the scientific studies on legal highs.

If you’re not keeping track of the ‘legal high’ scene it’s important to remember that the first examples, synthetic cannabinoids sold as ‘Spice’ and ‘K2′ incense, were only detected in 2009.

Shortly after amphetamine-a-like stimulant drugs, largely based on variations on pipradrol and the cathinones appeared, and now ketamine-like drugs such as methoxetamine have become widespread.

Since 1997, 150 new psychoactive substances were reported. Almost a third of those appeared in 2010.

Last year, the US government banned several of these drugs although the effect has been minimal as the legal high laboratories have over-run the trenches of the drug warriors.” (via Mind Hacks).


Miles Davis turned to Nancy Reagan and said…

Deutsch: Miles Davis 1984 in Bad Segeberg

‘In 1987, he was invited to a White House dinner by Ronald Reagan. Few of the guests appeared to know who he was. During dinner, Nancy Reagan turned to him and asked what he’d done with his life to merit an invitation. Straight-faced, Davis replied: “Well, I’ve changed the course of music five or six times. What have you done except fuck the president?” ‘ (via Boing Boing)


How to Write About Wittgenstein


Carl Elliott: “Wittgenstein is a notoriously difficult philosopher, and anyone approaching his work will inevitably ask themselves the question: Is it going to be worthwhile? It’s a common problem, of course. Do I really want to set aside the enormous amount of time and effort that it will take to understand Heidegger, or Derrida, or Deleuze? Often the answer is no (and for good reason). Part of what convinced me early on that Wittgenstein would be worth the effort was the portrait of Wittgenstein that emerges in Malcolm’s memoir: a man of fierce, extraordinary intelligence who was driven by the very deepest questions of human life.

And, of course, who despised being a philosophy professor.” (via The Chronicle of Higher Education).


Todd Gitlin on the “NATO Three’

Todd Gitlin by David Shankbone cropped by Ed F...
Todd Gitlin

“I have no idea whether the three young men in Chicago charged with terrorism-related felonies are guilty as charged. Prosecutors say they are “members” of “the ‘Black Bloc’ group,” which is not so much a group that has members as a shifting population of enragés who take advantage of large demonstrations which they haven’t organized to break things. …

God knows, I was warning against violence on the fringe of peaceable assemblies in Chicago in 1968, and against violent agents provocateurs, who produce the same results. (They did.) I was recently worrying aloud that this week’s Chicago protests would be sabotaged by incendiaries, literal ones or not.

In the fullness of time, we’ll know more about what “22-year-old Brian Church, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; 27-year-old Jared Chase, of Keene, N.H.; and 24-year-old Brent Betterly, who told police he resides in Massachusetts” were up to. In the meantime, Chicago’s police are trampling liberties and this is an unwarranted outrage.” (via The Chronicle of Higher Education).


The Unabomber’s Pen Pal

Theodore Kaczynski at Unabomber trial
Theodore Kaczynski

‘The paper “Industrial Society and Its Future” makes the case that modern technology has restricted freedom, ruined the environment, and caused untold human suffering. People have become overstressed and oversocialized. Humanity, the author writes, is at a crossroads, and we can either turn the clock back to a happier, more primitive time or face destruction.

The author has occasionally been praised for understanding the unforeseen consequences of technology in modern life. Kevin Kelly, a co-founder of Wired magazine who, even though he disagrees with the author’s conclusion, devotes a section of his latest book to these ideas, calling the paper “one of the most astute analyses” of technological systems he has ever read.

But for the most part the 35,000-word manifesto, first published in September 1995, has been dismissed as a rant.

That’s because the author is Ted Kaczynski, also known as the Unabomber, who terrorized academics for nearly 20 years by sending a series of mail bombs that killed three people and injured 23. His demand, accepted by authorities in the hope that granting it would unearth clues to his whereabouts, was for a major newspaper to publish that manifesto.

Media profiles from the time of his capture, several months after the manifesto’s publication, paint Kaczynski as a kind of comic-book villain, a scruffy loner in a hooded sweatshirt whose failure in relationships drove him to insane acts of violence.

But when David F. Skrbina, a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Michigan here, read the manifesto in The Washington Post on the day it was published, he saw value in the message. He was particularly impressed by its clarity of argument and its references to major scholars on the philosophy of technology. He saw a thinker who wrongly turned to violence but had an argument worthy of further consideration. That argument certainly wasn’t perfect in Skrbina’s view, and he had some questions.’ (via The Chronicle of Higher Education).


The Anatomy of Harpo Marx, by Wayne Koestenbaum


Harpo Marx and three of his children wearing H...

Reviewed by Joe Queenan: “In 299 sometimes illuminating, sometimes screwy, but always self-referential pages, Koestenbaum the Deconstructor attempts to link Harpo’s work with Adolf Hitler, Charles Dickens, Marcel Duchamp, John Milton, Richard Strauss, Gilbert and Sullivan, André Breton, Frederic Chopin, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Frank O’Hara, Henri Bergson, Gérard de Nerval, Richard Wagner, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Walter Benjamin, Charles Baudelaire, Arnold Schoenberg and John Kennedy Jr.” (via The Globe and Mail).