People outside of the UK may not know about Professor David Nutt, who was government Chief Advisor in the UK for ten years, and was finally sacked for not coming to the conclusions that they wanted him to.
He explains it all in the first few minutes of this 50 minute presentation.
He's very good on the way the discussion of legal and illegal drugs blurs the more important measures of the amount of harm to self and others of drug abuse - for instance how much worse for people and society alcohol proves to be (and we are talking about evidence here, not BS).
I recommend this whole presentation, which covers the legal situation which prevents proper scientific work on drugs which can be abused, or simply used for recreation, but which also have exciting therapeutic possibilities, from MDMA to LSD, these things need to be available at least to researchers. Currently, when he invents new combinations to reproduce the effects, the substance immediately gets made illegal.
"People cannot be rational when something's illegal. And that's why we have to be very, very cautious, about making anything illegal." Prof Nutt.
The chart that he and his team created for the UK, comparing the relative risks of a range of drugs, appears irrefutable (it has been independently reproduced by European colleagues).
And I was intrigued by his suggestion that with enough research he could create something that would let you feel intoxicated for the evening, then take the antidote, sober up immediately, and feel OK to drive home, and wake up without a hangover the following day. Breaking news.
"I’ve done the prototype experiments myself many years ago, where I’ve been inebriated and then it’s been reversed by the antagonist. There’s no question that you can produce a whole range of effects like alcohol by manipulating the brain.”
Website RAWIllumination.net to sponsor online group reading of 1970s cult literary work “Illuminatus!” starting on Feb. 24.
An online reading group plans to spend more than a year doing a page-by-page analysis of an unusual 1970s cult novel that has never gone out of print.
Illuminatus! by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson, originally published as a series of three science fiction paperback originals, was influenced by writers as diverse as James Joyce, William Burroughs and H.P. Lovecraft. The book reads at first like a thriller about a vast conspiracy, albeit one that uses an obscure theological term, “immanentize the Eschaton,” in the first sentence. But it also has elements of fantasy and the occult and spends many pages discussing political theory.
The ostensible subject of the book is the Illuminati, an alleged secret society that seeks to control the world and is still the subject of many conspiracy theories. Many of the book’s protagonists are either battling the Illuminati or struggling to figure out what is really going on.
The work makes liberal use of Discordianism, a tongue-in-cheek religion devoted to worship of the Greek goddess Eris, who was blamed for starting the Trojan War, and of the Kabbalah, an esoteric mystical system that began as part of Judaism. The text also reflects the authors’ strong interesting anarchism and libertarianism.
Readers of the RAWIllumination.net website will participate in an online discussion of the book beginning on Feb. 24. The discussion will proceed at a pace of 10 pages a week, to give readers time to untangle many of the esoteric references and meanings in the text. The slow pace also will allow time for readers who missed the initial announcement to get caught up and participate. The standard paperback edition has 805 pages, so the discussion is expected to take well over a year.
Each week, an entry on a 10-page section of the book will be posted on the website’s blog, and readers will be invited to weigh in using the comments.
The book began as a joke in a Chicago bar. The two authors, Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea, were editors at Playboy magazine in 1960s, responsible for the Playboy Forum, a section of letters from readers. Many of the letters dealt with speculation on who had killed the Kennedys and other conspiracy theories.
The two editors, who were friends, had a habit of going to a bar every payday. One day, Shea jokingly suggested that the two collaborate on a novel that would take seriously every crazy conspiracy theory that had been sent in by a reader. The idea caught the pair’s imagination, and they began work on the book that became Iluminatus!
Issued beginning in late 1975 as three mass market paperbacks, The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, and Leviathan, Illuminatus! was reissued beginning in 1984 as a one-volume trade paperback and has remained in print ever since. It also is available as an ebook and an audiobook.
Illuminatus! received good reviews from publications such as the Village Voice but was generally ignored by major literary magazines, newspapers and book reviewers. It won only one literary award, the relatively obscure Prometheus Hall of Fame Award, in 1986. It has received less attention from major literary critics than two broadly similar works written at about the same time, Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon and Mumbo Jumbo by Ishmael Reed. It has nonetheless enjoyed a strong cult following from its initial publication and there are many websites on the Internet devoted to it or to one of its two authors.
The two authors never collaborated on another book, although they remained close friends, but Illuminatus! helped them launch their literary careers. Wilson quit his job at Playboy and became a freelance writer. He eventually published more than 30 books, including novels and essay collections. He died in 2007. Shea continued to work for Playboy, but after he lost his job at the magazine, he began sending out proposals for novels and began a successful second career as a historical novelist. He died in 1994.
RUSHKOFF says - "My DC comic series 'TESTAMENT is now available in a single, digital “omnibus” volume via ComiXology http://cmxl.gy/1dPSOdd In some ways, I think Testament is my most important work. Instead of merely talking *about* narrative, economics, sigil magic, and the Bible, I'm actually doing it. The purpose of Testament was to predict the world of crypto-currencies that we're entering right now, and show how this story has happened before. This moment is exactly what Torah was talking about - not in the sense of predicting the future, but in the sense that this is the perennial human story. I think having it all in one place at one time really makes the story SO much clearer. I always wanted this to be in one volume, so you can really feel the characters - especially the Gods, who live *between* the panels on page. I have written most of my books way too early. Testament is really about this exact moment. And it's also the oldest story we know." -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And I say great! I love this comic and was super psyched to get to participate in the small way of formatting it for digital release and designing the cover collage. I wish it a very happy and healthy digital life! - bc