Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for July 31st, 2006

Intriguing idea: classify drugs by their harm potential

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Drugs graph

BBC News reports on a new classification scheme for drugs, basing the classification on how harmful the drugs are. The graph above shows both the relative harmfulness of the drugs (height of bar) and the current classification. As you can see, the classification does not follow the harmfulness of the drugs.

To classify drugs based on how harmful they are seems quite sensible, but of course such things arouse various kinds of outrage, in which people seem totally uninterested in looking at evidence, data, facts, and that sort of thing. UPDATE: In fact, it looks as though the expert advice is now (May 2008) going to be ignored. Read here.

The designation of drugs in classes A, B and C should be replaced with one more closely reflecting the harm they cause, a committee of MPs has said.

The Science Select Committee said the present system was based on historical assumptions, not scientific assessment.

BBC News has seen details of a system devised by government advisers which was considered by former Home Secretary Charles Clarke but is now on hold.

It rates some illegal drugs as less harmful than alcohol and tobacco.

The new system was based on the first scientific assessment of 20 legal and illegal stimulants used in contemporary Britain. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

31 July 2006 at 6:27 pm

The “Smart Key” is not all that foolproof

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How the “smart key” (which uses RFID), like other anti-theft measures before it, has been figured out by car thieves:

Two years ago, my white 2003 Honda Civic – which my wife and I had affectionately named Honky – disappeared from the street in front of our San Francisco home. It has a transponder, and all three of our keys were accounted for (including the spare valet key). Police were polite but not much help; they speculated that thieves had towed the car away or hoisted it onto a flatbed truck and broken it down for parts.

But Honky materialized two weeks later on a side street near the ocean. It was out of gas and littered with cigarette butts and pirated Pantera CDs, but otherwise undamaged. The ignition cylinder was intact, and our keys still worked. The car was a living, gas-sipping rebuke of modern antitheft technology.

Mystified, I wrote up my experience for Newsweek’s Web site in early 2004. I figured that would be the end of the story, but I got hundreds of emails from people with similar tales. I’m still getting them – type “stolen car” into Google and my article is in the top 20. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Leisureguy

31 July 2006 at 4:42 pm

Posted in Technology

Megs, still in cubbyhole

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Megs still in cubby

This is Megs still in her cubbyhole, as from a couple of days ago. Notice that she’s starting to get sleepy—not a terribly great surprise. It’s her thing.

Written by Leisureguy

31 July 2006 at 12:22 pm

Posted in Cats, Megs

Unsought tooth knowledge

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Dental implants

I blogged earlier about my sore tooth. (Correction: tooth 29, not 20.) Went to the dentist this morning, got new (digital) X-rays, and the dentist said the tooth was going to have to go. They called the oral surgeon, who (alas) is not so up-to-date as to be able to receive the digital X-ray file by email and look at the original—but that was not a problem, in fact.

After a relatively short wait, he brought me in, gave a local anesthetic (by needle—and thank heavens for anesthetics), and when I was suitably numb, pulled out the tooth: quickly, easily (on my part, though I could tell the tooth didn’t want to go), and painlessly (so far). It was actually less uncomfortable than a filling—so go ahead and chew that ice and crack those nuts. You’ll set up a tooth fracture, but the tooth can then be pulled.

Best part of it: no surprise fire during surgery.

Next steps: See the oral surgeon on Friday, just so he can check. Then wait four months and have the dental implant installed (see photo above) by the oral surgeon, wait four more months and return to dentist to get a crown installed on the implant. Whee.

Written by Leisureguy

31 July 2006 at 12:03 pm

Posted in Health, Medical

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