Thursday, September 19, 2013

Is Your Kid Too Smart To Try Drugs? Think Again

Maia Szalavitz is a neuroscientist journalist (my dream job!) for Time, and she  asks the question: "Smarter Kids Are Smart Enough to Avoid Alcohol and Drugs, Right?"

The latest study of twins is part of an emerging body of work that suggests kids who develop language and intellectual skills earlier are more likely to drink and take other drugs than their less intelligent peers.

For decades, scientists had documented that those with lower IQ and less education were more likely to become addicted to alcohol or other drugs.  The latest data doesn't contradict those findings, but drug use is not the same as drug addiction - and a great deal of research shows that higher intelligence is a protective factor against alcoholism and addictions, even though smarter people are more likely to drink or try drugs.

Intelligence can serve as a vehicle for moderation when it comes to alcohol or drug use.  The smarter you are, the more you appreciate the dangers and risks of excessive use.  From all the reports of alcohol poisonings among college students, though, you wonder about their intelligence.  Apparently, higher intelligence spurs more curiosity and openness to new experiences - including experimenting with alcohol and drugs.

So, I will be ready when my #3 grandson is a teenager.  He has always been the one who thinks, "I wonder what would happen if . . ."  

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Good News in the War on Drugs

In a new book, "High Price," Dr. Carl Hart shares his findings from his research at Columbia University on crack cocaine and methamphetamine.  This research seems to contradict the conventional wisdom about drug addiction.

In a study of addicts, Dr. Hart recruited subjects by offering them a chance to make $950 while smoking crack.  At the start of each day, a nurse would place a certain amount of crack in a pipe - the dose varied daily - and light it.  While smoking, the subject was blindfolded so he couldn't see the size of that day's dose.

Then, after that sample of crack to start the day, each participant would be offered more opportunities during the day to smoke the same dose of crack.  At the same time, they were offered an alternative of a cash payment which they would collect when they eventually left the study in place of that chance to smoke another dose.  When the dose of crack was pretty high, the subjects generally chose the cocaine, but when the dose was smaller, he was more likely to pass it up for the cash.

"They didn't fit the image of the drug addict who can't stop once he gets a taste," Dr. Hart said.  "When they were given an alternative to crack, they made rational economic decisions."  He also found that when he raised the alternative reward to $20, every single addict chose the cash.  They knew they wouldn't receive it until the experiment ended weeks later, but they were still willing to pass up an immediate high.

"If you're living in a poor neighborhood deprived of options, there's a certain rationality to keep taking a drug that will give you some temporary pleasure, "Dr. Hart said.  "The key factor is the environment, whether you're talking about humans or rats," according to Hart.    "The rats that keep pressing the lever for cocaine are the ones who are stressed out because they've been raised in solitary conditions and have no other options.  But when you enrich their environment, and give them access to sweets and let them play with other rats, they stop pressing the lever."

So why is there all this focus on specific drugs?  One reason is convenience: it' much simpler for politicians and journalists to focus on the evils of a drug than to grapple with the underlying social problems.  But Dr. Hart also puts some of the blame on scientists.

"Eighty to 90 percent of people who use crack and methamphemine don't get addicted' but in the scientific literature nearly 100 percent of the reports are negative.  There's a skewed focus on pathology.  We scientists know that we get more money if we keep telling Congress that we're solving this terrible problem." 

My question is this:  what would the results of this study have been if the recruits had been Wall Street hotshots?  There are a lot of cocaine users who are not black men from low-income neighborhoods.

Comments on this topic are welcomed!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Thank You, Justice Ginsburg

Second Amendment 'Outdated'

In the wake of the Colorado recall election and a fierce, nationwide debate over gun rights and gun control, Justice Ginsburg also comments on the past, present and future of the Second Amendment. She cites her dissent in District of Columbia v. Heller, and says her "view of the Second Amendment is one based on history."
She continues, "The Second Amendment has a preamble about the need for a militia...Historically, the new government had no money to pay for an army, so they relied on the state militias. And the states required men to have certain weapons and they specified in the law what weapons these people had to keep in their home so that when they were called to do service as militiamen, they would have them. That was the entire purpose of the Second Amendment."
But, Justice Ginsburg explains, "When we no longer need people to keep muskets in their home, then the Second Amendment has no function, its function is to enable the young nation to have people who will fight for it to have weapons that those soldiers will own. So I view the Second Amendment as rooted in the time totally allied to the need to support a militia. So...the Second Amendment is outdated in the sense that its function has become obsolete."
As for the Heller case, decided by the Court in 2008, Justice Ginsburg says, "If the Court had properly interpreted the Second Amendment, the Court would have said that amendment was very important when the nation was new; it gave a qualified right to keep and bear arms, but it was for one purpose only—and that was the purpose of having militiamen who were able to fight to preserve the nation."

Find Your State - Which is the Winner This Week?

According to Slate’s gun-death tracker, an estimated 8,145 people have died as a result of gun violence in America since the Newtown massacre on December 14, 2012.

This is a copy of Joe Nocera's blog post in the NY Times.  I congratulate Joe and  Jennifer Mascia for their valuable work.

Weekend Gun Report: September 13-15, 2013

900 Californians were reported killed by guns from December 2012 to August 2013.California State Senator Kevin de León900 Californians were reported killed by guns from December 2012 to August 2013.
This week, the California State Assembly is set to vote on a measure requiring anyone who wants to purchase ammunition to obtain a permit requiring that they pass a background check. Similar bills have been proposed—then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger even signed an ammunition control bill into law in 2007, only for it to be stymied on appeal—but have failed, thanks to the National Rifle Association’s financial backing. State Senator Kevin de León, who represents areas of Los Angeles, points out that a criminal can walk into a Big 5 or Wal-Mart and purchase ammunition, no questions asked. In fact, it’s easier to purchase a pallet of ammunition in California than a pack of cigarettes or allergy medicine.
Senate Bill 53, which passed the state senate in August, requires all ammunition vendors to obtain a license to sell ammunition from the Department of Justice, and ammunition purchasers to submit to a background check. The N.R.A. has publicly opposed it, alleging that it would “encompass all hunting rounds that have no association with crime whatsoever,” and went so far as to say the bill “unconstitutionally and discriminately impacts the underprivileged, who are most likely to need to exercise their rights to keep and bear arms for self defense.”
Here is today’s report.
Jennifer Mascia
2-year-old Kyle Moses was shot in the head and killed by his father, who was upset the child’s mother was with another man, in Tununak, Alaska, early Friday. A 9-year-old boy was shot in the chest and wounded while playing in his grandmother’s backyard in Pine Lawn, Mo., Friday night. A 9-year-old boy was shot in the arm as he and two other boys played with a gun in Tampa, Fla., Friday.
A 14-year-old girl was shot in the leg when two groups of men opened fire on each other on the South Side of Chicago, Ill., Friday afternoon. 17-year-old Shyheim Buford was shot in the chest and killed in Wilmington, Del., Friday night. Jason Guymon was shot and wounded by a neighbor during an altercation that erupted when the victim’s friend rode a horse down a shared lane in Missoula, Mont., Thursday evening.
Valerie Robinson, 42, was shot and killed at the Katy, Tex., high school where she worked by her estranged husband, 54-year-old Gregory Robinson, who then shot and killed himself after a standoff with police Friday morning. Two men were injured in a drive-by shooting in Salt Lake City, Utah, late Thursday. A man in his 20s was shot and killed on the southeast side ofKansas City, Mo., Thursday night.
shooting on Roanoke Island, N.C., sent one person to the hospital Thursday night. One person was shot and wounded in Roanoke, Va., late Friday. A man was shot and critically wounded at a hotel in Phoenix, Ariz., Thursday night. A 19-year-old was shot in the chest during a fight at aGilbert, Ariz., apartment complex Friday night.
One person was wounded in a shooting outside the Oakland, Calif., hotel where the Ohio State University men’s football team were staying Friday evening. 30-year-old Holly Wilcox was shot in the arm at a hotel in Fallon, Nev., Friday afternoon. Two men were shot during an altercation in a car parked outside a home in La Quinta, Calif., early Friday.
Kerry Eck, 25, was shot and killed after an altercation over the sale and possession of narcotics in Wagener, Ga., Thursday night. Two people were wounded in a shooting in the Allison Hill neighborhood of Harrisburg, Pa., Friday night. Two men were killed in a shooting on the east side of Detroit, Mich., Friday morning. A man was shot in the head and another person was wounded outside Boulevard Townhomes in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., early Friday.
Kenneth Peppenelli was killed and Christine Peppenelli was wounded in a possible domestic shooting at a mobile home community in Orange City, Fla., Friday. A man on a bike was shot in the leg on the west side of Saginaw, Mich., Friday night. A man was shot and injured in North Plains, Ore., Thursday night. The bullet-riddled body of 24-year-old Vernon Davis was found in front of a garden apartment in Northeast Washington, D.C., early Friday; it was one of ten shootings there in a 48-hour period.
33-year-old Tyrone Terry was found shot dead in a grassy area near the parking lot of an apartment complex in Southern Pines, N.C., late Thursday. A 31-year-old man was shot to death in southeast Atlanta, Ga., early Friday, and a 30-year-old woman was charged with murder. A man wasshot and killed outside a home in Miami Gardens, Fla., Friday afternoon.
shooting left a man and a woman dead in an apartment complex in southeastFresno, Calif., Friday evening. Aaron Addison, 22, was shot several times and killed in Fort Myers, Fla., Friday afternoon. An 18-year-old man wasshot and critically wounded in the Sherman Park neighborhood ofMilwaukee, Wis., Friday afternoon. An officer was wounded during an accidental shooting at an Oklahoma City, Okla., shooting range Friday afternoon.
Warren Duvant, 22, was shot in the groin during a dispute over a moped inClover, S.C., Friday afternoon. A man was wounded in a drive-by shooting inGulfport, Miss., Friday night. A woman checked into a Selma, Calif., hospital with gunshot wounds late Friday. 24-year-old Timothy Charles and 21-year-old Kirt Swan were shot and wounded in the courtyard of Pulse Nightclub in New Haven, Conn., late Friday. Ramon Prieto, 31, was shottwice and wounded during an altercation on the porch of a home on the west side of Fort Meade, Fla., late Friday.
A 11-year-old boy was shot in the arm by his 13-year-old sister in a home inIndianapolis, Ind., Saturday night. Gerard Gomez, 16, was shot and killed at the Residence Inn in the Tysons Corner area of Vienna, Va., early Sunday. 25-year-old Nelson B. Castillo was shot and killed in the Roslindale section ofBoston, Mass., just before midnight Saturday.
Three separate shootings in Boston sent seven people to the hospital in a 14-hour span on Saturday. Four people were shot with a 40-caliber semi-automatic and wounded after an argument broke out at the Vortex nightclub in Marion, N.C., early Saturday. Two women, ages 19 and 39, and an 18-year-old man were killed in a drive-by shooting in the Baden neighborhood ofSt. Louis, Mo., Saturday evening.
21-year-old Michelle Parker and 22-year-old Michael Parker Jr. were killed in a murder-suicide by gun at a Mesa, Ariz., apartment complex Saturday morning. 25-year-old Devery Bell was killed and another man was wounded in a shooting at an apartment complex in south Birmingham, Ala., early Saturday. A woman was shot and wounded in the Morton Simpson public housing community in Birmingham Saturday night.
A 32-year-old man was shot multiple times and killed while sitting in a truck inCamden, N.J., Saturday afternoon. One person was killed and another person was injured in a shooting in a house in Jacksonville, Fla., Friday night. Two men walked into an Albany, N.Y., hospital with gunshot wounds before dawn Saturday. A man and a woman were shot and killed in a parked car in the West Ward of Newark, N.J., Saturday afternoon.
A man was shot and wounded in Charlotte, N.C., early Saturday, and his brother was arrested. A 55-year-old man was found shot in the head on the floor of an apartment in south Knoxville, Tenn., early Saturday. Two men were killed and a woman was injured in a domestic shooting in a Kansas City, Mo., apartment Saturday afternoon. A man was wounded in a drive-byshooting in Hamilton, N.J., Saturday afternoon.
51-year-old Zelda D. Kollock was killed in a domestic shooting in Richland County, S.C., Saturday night. Jeremy Draper, 25, was shot in the arm in southeast Portland, Ore., early Saturday. Harry Short Jr. was shot and killed at Club Ciroc in Columbus, Ga., early Saturday, and one of the club’s armed security guards was charged with murder.
A man was injured in a shooting near Hilltop Mall in Richmond, Calif., early Saturday. 45-year-old Jerome Goosby was killed and Walter Pickens was injured in a shooting outside the Elks Club in Beaver County, Pa., early Saturday. Richard Alequin-Hernandez, 25, and Jose Santiago, 20, were shotand killed less than 100 feet from a children’s playground in Holyoke, Mass., early Saturday.
Miguel Delgado, 19, was shot in the head and killed during an argument in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago, Ill., early Saturday. Elsewhere inChicago, nine people were wounded in shootings on Saturday, including a 14-year-old girl caught in the crossfire. A man and a woman were shot and injured in Norfolk, Va., Saturday night.
Steven Edward Briscoe, 54, was found shot to death at his home southwest ofLawrenceburg, Ky., Saturday night. One person was shot and injured inSpencer, Okla., early Saturday. A man was shot and killed at a motel on the southwest side of Oklahoma City, Okla., early Saturday. At around the same time in Oklahoma, one person was killed in a shooting at a home inMidwest City, and another person was shot and killed at an apartment complex in Norman.
shooting victim stumbled through the door of a drug store in Mobile, Ala., early Saturday. A man was shot during a drug-related dispute in Wichita, Kan., early Saturday. Jonathan Duque, 26, was shot three times and wounded during a fight at a gas station on the northeast side of San Antonio, Tex., Saturday. Demetrius Morales was shot in the neck during an argument with his wife at their home in Tulsa, Okla., early Saturday.
Two men, 30 and 48, were shot and wounded during a home invasion inKilleen, Tex., early Saturday. One person was shot after two rival motorcycle gangs got into a fight at a Phoenix, Ariz., bar early Saturday. One person was shot and wounded at an apartment in Salem, Mass., early Saturday. A man in his 30s was found shot in the neck and critically wounded in Fort Worth, Tex., early Saturday.
55-year-old Charles Turner was shot to death in a parking lot in south Dallas, Tex., Saturday afternoon. Richard Register, 41, shot and killed his estranged wife, Ebony Parson, then shot and killed himself at a bingo hall in Conway, S.C., late Saturday. 20-year-old Samson Oyelaja was shot and wounded during a marijuana robbery in Hope Mills, N.C., Saturday.
A drive-by shooting in Fayetteville, N.C., seriously injured a man Saturday. A 53-year-old man was shot and wounded after an argument in a massage parlor in the Chinatown neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pa., late Saturday. A man died in a shooting in the McElderry Park area of east Baltimore, Md., late Saturday. A 40-year-old man was shot and wounded in Hazelton, Pa., Saturday afternoon.
Phuoc Huu Nguyen, 35, was found dead of gunshot wounds after a fight broke out in a parking lot in Falls Church, Va., Saturday evening. A man was shotin the leg during a party at an apartment complex in Vallejo, Calif., early Saturday.
Six people were injured, one critically, in a suspected gang-related shooting in the parking lot outside Aladdin’s Hookah Lounge in Yakima, Wash., early Sunday. Five people were wounded in a firefight in a parking lot in Colorado Springs, Colo., early Sunday. Four or five people were struck by bulletsafter an altercation between two groups in the parking lot of a convenience store in St. Joseph, Mo., early Sunday.
Two people were shot and wounded at a fraternity party in Charleston, Ill., early Sunday. A 77-year-old Missoula, Mont., homeowner shot an intruder in the torso early Sunday. A 37-year-old man was shot in the head and killed inBaltimore, Md., early Sunday. Kathleen N. Battle, 21, suffered a gunshot wound to the leg when her friend, Jacob E. Richardson, 22, showed her hisgun and it discharged near Longwood University in Farmville, Va., Sunday evening.
shooting in Richmond, Va., sent a man to the hospital Sunday evening. Nikia Mills, 27, and Shenise Miller, 23, were injured by debris from a drive-byshooting in Palmetto, Fla., Sunday morning. An 18-year-old man was shotand wounded in the Foxhurst section of the Bronx, N.Y., Sunday afternoon. A man was shot in the shoulder during an argument between two groups of men in a deli at a mall in Virginia Beach, Va., Sunday afternoon.
A 27-year-old man was shot in the chest multiple times and killed on the west side of Cleveland, Ohio, early Sunday. 25-year-old Kendall Green was found shot to death on the front porch of a home in Glen Burnie, Md., early Sunday. One person was killed and at least one other person was injured after a dispute escalated to gunfire at a Snellville, Ga., home Sunday night.
Police in Portsmouth, Va., found a man shot to death in a 7-Eleven parking lot early Sunday. A man was killed after being shot in the head in North Hollywood, Calif., Sunday afternoon. One person was shot in the face and wounded at a Circle K convenience store in Tangipahoa Parish, La., early Sunday. A man is in critical condition after being shot in the head while driving in Lexington, Ky., Sunday night.
A man was shot in the back on the east side of Saginaw, Mich., Sunday evening. A man and a woman were shot and wounded after an argument near the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga., Sunday afternoon, just before the Falcons’ first regular season home game. A 35-year-old man walked into aBaltimore, Md., hospital with a gunshot wound to the foot early Sunday.
A 24-year-old man was shot multiple times and seriously wounded in southwest Baltimore Sunday evening. A man in his 30s was shot and killed by the boyfriend of the woman he was with in Independence, Mo., early Sunday. 22-year-old Vidal Rodriguez was shot and critically wounded at a party in Austin, Tex., early Sunday. A 46-year-old man suffered a gunshotwound to the leg in Evanston, Ill., early Sunday.
A man showed up at a Hartford, Conn., hospital with a gunshot wound to the calf he sustained at a party early Sunday. A man was found shot to death in a home in Marshalltown, Iowa, early Sunday. A man was arrested forshooting and critically wounding a 16-year-old boy who broke into his car inAlbuquerque, N.M., early Sunday.
Two men, 18 and 34, were injured in a gang-related shooting in South Los Angeles, Calif., early Sunday. A shooting over a girl at a mobile home park sent one man to the hospital in Greenville, N.C., Sunday night. Two people were shot and wounded in a drive-by shooting in southeast Washington, D.C., early Sunday. A man was shot in the foot in a parking lot nearTillman’s Corner, Ala., Sunday evening.
Sidney Thomas, 32, who suffered from mental and physical disabilities, was found lying on a sidewalk dying of a gunshot wound in Shreveport, La., early Sunday. A man and a woman were shot and wounded after they got into an argument with a man about cutting in line at a Subway restaurant inAtlanta, Ga., Sunday afternoon. Two men, 38 and 61, died of gunshotwounds in an apparent murder-suicide near Carencro, La., early Sunday.
A woman was shot in the chest and wounded by her husband during an argument at their residence in Mountain Home, Idaho, early Sunday. Justin Galloway, 31, was shot in the leg outside JoJo’s Famous Chili Dogs inToledo, Ohio, early Sunday. At around the same time in Toledo, an 18-year-old man walked into a store and told a clerk he’d been shot. A man was hospitalized after being shot in the arm in Peoria, Ill., early Sunday.
According to Slate’s gun-death tracker, an estimated 8,145 people have died as a result of gun violence in America since the Newtown massacre on December 14, 2012.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Gone in Sixty Seconds (Almost)

I posted the Bright Orange chiffon piece yesterday and it sold the same day!  So happy someone will enjoy this pretty fabric.  Now I'll have to make another one today!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Get Creative - Make a Costume!

I just finished dying a beautiful length of silk chiffon that would be wonderful as a costume.  Since I'm not that kind of creative, I can't make it myself, but I know there are lots of folks out there who could do a great job.  Also have a 14" x 72" orange habotai scarf so you can support your favorite baseball, football or basketball team that has orange as one of its colors.