Articles by Easy Rider


Pharma DrugsKyle Wagner writes on Gizmodo:

Everyone’s cracked wise about cheerful voices in commercials telling us that an erectile dysfunction drug might make you blind, but have you ever read the full list of side effects? Prescription medication labels average an insane 70 possible side effects, according to a new study.

The study examined 5,600 medications, and found the worst offenders to be antidepressants, antiviral medications, and restless leg syndrome medications treatments. One especially ridiculous drug listed 525. The exhaustive lists fly in the face of FDA guidelines asking drug companies to keep the lists manageable. Obviously, 525 is a preposterous number of side effects to list on a label, but isn’t it just as concerning that we’re prescribing drugs that could go wrong in 500 different ways?


Meredith Attwell BakerEdward Wyatt writes in the NY Times Media Decoder:

Four months after the Federal Communications Commission approved a hotly contested merger of Comcast and NBC Universal, one of the commissioners who voted for the deal said on Wednesday that she would soon join Comcast’s Washington lobbying office.

Meredith Attwell Baker, a former Commerce Department official who worked on telecommunications issues in George W. Bush’s administration, announced that she would leave the F.C.C. when her term expires at the end of June. At Comcast, she will serve as senior vice president for government affairs for NBC Universal, which Comcast acquired in January.

The announcement drew immediate criticism from some groups that had opposed the Comcast-NBC merger. They said the move was indicative of an ethically questionable revolving door between regulatory agencies and the companies they oversee.






Mike RoweWrites Tim Barribeau on io9.com:

Being unemployed is generally regarded as detrimental to your mental health, with the prevailing wisdom being that gainful employment will fix you right up. Unfortunately, according to research published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, a crappy job can be just as bad — if not worse — than unemployment.

Analyzing more than 7,000 working-age Australians across a great number of data points, the researchers found that people defined good jobs as ones that provided a defined social role and purpose, friendships, and structured time (among other things). Being hired into these kinds of jobs resulted in an overall improvement in mental health. Conversely, those in jobs that offered little control, were very demanding, and provided little support and reward lead to a general decrease in mental health.


Heroin StampDenis J. O’Malley writes in the Times-Tribune:

After crashing her car Sunday, police said a Scranton woman suspected of burglarizing the Dunmore Inn was found to have a sizeable stash of drugs and money hidden in an unlikely location. According to a criminal complaint:

Dunmore police Officer Anthony Cali asked Scranton police Officer Nancy Baumann to detain Karin Mackaliunas, 27, 1609 Mulberry St., at the scene of a crash at the North Seventh Avenue off-ramp Sunday evening…

After searching her for weapons, Officer Baumann found three bags of heroin in Ms. Mackaliunas’ jacket. But as the officer drove her to Scranton police headquarters to charge her for drug possession, Officer Baumann noticed Ms. Mackaliunas fidgeting in the backseat of the cruiser…

A search of Ms. Mackaliunas by a doctor at Community Medical Center turned up 54 bags of heroin, 31 empty bags used to package heroin, 8.5 prescription pills and $51.22.


U.S. Naval AcademyDaniel de Vise reports in the Washington Post:

A synthetic form of marijuana is widely used at the U.S. Naval Academy because it cannot be detected in routine drug tests, according to several former midshipmen who have been removed from campus for using or possessing the substance.

Since its introduction at the academy last year, synthetic marijuana has become popular among rank-and-file midshipmen and on the football and wrestling teams, the former midshipmen said. Some isolated corners of the historic Annapolis campus, they said, have become well-known gathering spots for smoking it.

Synthetic marijuana is an herbal potpourri sprayed with chemicals that, when smoked, produces mood-altering effects. It is illegal in at least 12 states, although not in Maryland, and is prohibited in the U.S. military, including at its service academies.





Robert MichelsonVia the AP:

FARMINGTON, Conn — Police say a Connecticut man called 911 to ask a dispatcher how much trouble he could get into by growing one marijuana plant, then was arrested. Farmington police say a dispatcher told 21-year-old Robert Michelson on Thursday night that he could get arrested for growing pot, and Michelson said thank you and hung up.

Officers went to Michelson’s house and seized a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Michelson has admitted he bought seeds and equipment for growing. Michelson was released on $5,000 bail after being charged with marijuana possession and other crimes. A woman who answered the phone at his home Friday said he wasn’t available for comment.


Pot CatapultVia Reuters:

In a brazen attempt reminiscent of a medieval siege, Mexican smugglers tried to use a hefty catapult to hurl drugs north over the U.S. Border, authorities said on Wednesday.

The Mexican military seized 45 pounds of marijuana, a sports utility vehicle and a metal-framed catapult just south of the Arizona border near the small town of Naco last Friday, following a tip-off from the U.S. Border Patrol.

Surveillance video taken by National Guard troops deployed to support the Border Patrol caught a group of men apparently attempting to pull down a metal beam and load or test the catapult, which was powered by powerful elastic and mounted on a trailer close to the metal border fence.

“It looks like a medieval catapult that was used back in the day,” Tucson sector Border Patrol spokesman David Jimarez told Reuters.




ScarfaceInteresting find from Alasdair Wilkins on io9.com:

The first ever vaccine for drug addiction has just been created. By combining a cocaine-like molecule with part of the common cold virus, you get a vaccine that turns the immune system against cocaine, keeping it away from the brain.

So far, the vaccine has only been tested on mice, but the results are extraordinary. Mice given the vaccine no longer exhibited any of the hyperactive signs of a cocaine high when they were next given the drug.

The vaccine was created by taking just the part of the cold virus that alerts the body’s immune system to its presence, and then researchers connected the signalling mechanism to a more stable version of the cocaine molecule.





There is currently no way to know how widespread this kind of chemical contamination is in food. Emily Sohn writes in Discovery News: As part of an ongoing investigation into chemicals in…


D.A.R.E.Jeff Rivenbark reports on WBTV:

MATTHEWS, NC — Two parents are facing drug charges after their child took their drugs to school and told a school officer his parents were breaking the law. The 11-year-old student is in 5th grade at a an elementary school in Matthews. Police say he brought his parents’ marijuana cigarettes to school when he reported them.

Matthews Police say he reported his parents after a lesson about marijuana was delivered by a police officer who is part of the D.A.R.E. program, which teaches kids about the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.

“Even if it’s happening in their own home with their own parents, they understand that’s a dangerous situation because of what we’re teaching them,” said Matthews Officer Stason Tyrrell. That’s what they’re told to do, to make us aware.”



CaliforniaMarijuanaHaik Hoisington writes on Alternet:

This fall Californians will go the polls with a chance to make history. They will be able to cast a vote to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol or cigarettes. California’s Proposition 19 is one of many similar initiatives cropping up on state ballots across the country.

Whether it’s calls for decriminalization or medical marijuana the end of cannabis prohibition has never seemed closer. In this short animated parable, “The Flower,” award winning artist Haik Hoisington contrasts a legal marijuana economy with an illegal one, to show how everyone stands to benefit from ending the war on weed.