Archive for April, 2009

Neuroenhancing

Posted in general rant with tags on April 27, 2009 by Justin

A friend on Facebook, who happens to still be in college posted a link to an article in The New Yorker about healthy people taking stimulant drugs (such as Adderall and Ritalin) intended for treatment of ADHD as “neuroenhancers”. The article goes into detail about some specific uses by people interviewed, as well as some of the studies done on the subject. It also outlined some of the potential ethical concerns with their use.

The consensus positive of the drugs is that they enable the user to focus more intently on a given task, for a longer period of time. Some of the negatives are unknown, but it seems that at least one is that some of the drug can have a damping effect on creative thinking. Another is that if the user takes one of the drugs with the intent to focus on a paper, but instead decides to start sorting their cd collection, they will expend that extended period of intense focus on that task, and not get to the originally intended task. Another negative is that the drugs can be potentially addictive. The article also stated that it seemed that the drugs worked better on below average people to bring them up to normal/above average productivity far more effectively than elevating the performance of already above average individuals.

In the area of ethics, the article compared the use of such drugs to plastic surgery, and one of the users interviewed said it would not be accurate to compare their use to that of steroids by athletes. I am inclined to disagree. I think that it is exactly the same as athletes using steroids or other performance enhancing drugs. Both parties use said drugs to get ahead in their chosen field of endeavor, be it athletics, academics, or whatever their corporate field and I think that is wrong. I do however feel – in agreement with one of the people interviewed, Nicholas Seltzer (I believe) – that whether or not an adult person uses such drugs should not be a legal matter, in that said users are not infringing on anyone else’s rights by doing so.

I believe there are some negative effects of “neuroenhancing” not mentioned in the article. First of all, I would say that many people use the drugs in a manner that is harmful relationally. They allow the user, who is most likely already somewhat of a workaholic, to extend their working time, therefore further decreasing their time spent with family and friends and damaging those relationships. Secondly I suspect the drugs are harmful emotionally. The article stated that part of their effectiveness seems to come from artificially created dopamine. When artificially created dopamine enters the brain, if the brain becomes over whelmed with dopamine, it turns off dopamine receptors and/or produces less natural dopamine. Dopamine is the chemical in your brain responsible for feelings of pleasure. If your dopamine receptors are turned off, or your naturally occurring dopamine levels are decreased you will experience pleasure in life less often and to a lesser degree. (This is what happens to cocaine/meth/other drug addicts.) Also, in the end I believe you will experience a net loss in cognitive ability. Finally, there may be physical detriments, since these “neuroenhancing” drugs are stimulants, they will have the same negative affect on the body that other stimulants have over time. To what level they have these affects has yet to be shown.

I’ve been a bad blogger

Posted in Uncategorized on April 23, 2009 by Justin

So… yeah you’re supposed to blog more often than I do. My apologies. I’ve sort of let this blog fall by the wayside, got busy at work for a while, then I started writing for MMAFrenzy then I got to playing too many apps on Facebook. Plus I didn’t have that many readers anyways. ::big sigh:: So I’ve cut back some on my facebooking, but I think I need to do more cut backs, and work is busy again…. soo, there’s probably not going to be a huge turnaround anytime soon. Then again, maybe there will be, who knows.

Is Porn the New Tobacco?

Posted in Political, Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 17, 2009 by Justin

I just finished reading a long article from Stanford University’s Hoover Institution comparing the current societal view of pornography today to the societal view of tobacco in the 1950s. It was really quite an interesting read, and I recommend if you have the time to sit down a read it, do so. I have included the opening paragraphs of the article after the jump, but that is literally only a snippet.
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P.U.M.A.

Posted in Uncategorized on April 8, 2009 by Justin

So, I heard about this car called the P.U.M.A. that GM is working with the makers of the Segway to create. I then read this blogger’s opinion on the car and it prompted me to write about the car.

P.U.M.A. supposedly stands for “Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility” in my opinion it stands for Practically Useless Mechanical Abomination. One of the executives from Segway was on North Carolina’s Morning News (680 WPTF) this morning and admitted on the show that the car is only practical for around 50% of the country because it only gets up to 35 MPH. How daft is that, “Yeah we’re struggling and begging for a bailout, so we’re going to spend money on inventing a car that only half the country can use, instead of one that would be practical to everyone.”

Neild Cavuto v. Congressman Grayson

Posted in Uncategorized on April 2, 2009 by Justin

I think it’s bad enough we’ve already got an arbitrarily set minimum wage, we don’t need to allow the Secretary of the Treasury to arbitrarily set a maximum wage as well.

*side note- You people in Florida that elected this guy should be ashamed.