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Whoof. Where to start.
- Milkman’s doctoral dissertation concluded that people would choose either heroin or amphetamines depending on how they liked to deal with stress.
Yes. Those are clearly the only two choices.
- After this work was published, he was among a group of researchers drafted by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse to answer questions such as: why do people start using drugs? Why do they continue? When do they reach a threshold to abuse? When do they stop? And when do they relapse?
Thus, the era that introduced paraquat into mexican marijuana (thereby creating the entire Humboldt County Superweed y'all grew up with) and eliminated quaaludes, singlehandedly creating the rise of crystal meth. This era of thinking also took the coke spoons advertised in the back of Playboy and replaced them with the "crack epidemic" and left us with the thoroughly practical "just say no" campaign.
- This idea spawned another: “Why not orchestrate a social movement around natural highs: around people getting high on their own brain chemistry – because it seems obvious to me that people want to change their consciousness – without the deleterious effects of drugs?”
By 1992, his team in Denver had won a $1.2 million government grant to form Project Self-Discovery, which offered teenagers natural-high alternatives to drugs and crime.
- In 1991, Milkman was invited to Iceland to talk about this work, his findings and ideas. He became a consultant to the first residential drug treatment centre for adolescents in Iceland, in a town called Tindar.
Okay, this is a great place to take a side-step into demographics. Go look up Tindar, Iceland. I thought I would to see how big it is. Turns out, it doesn't exist. Which might be due to the fact that Icelandic is written in like runes and shit but might also be due to the fact that Iceland - all of it - has a smaller population than Tampa. Than Honolulu. Than Anaheim. According to Wolfram Alpha, half again as many people attended Woodstock as live in Iceland.
About 30,000 of them are teenagers, also according to Wolfram Alpha. Demographically speaking, Iceland's teens are a negligible school district. Compare and contrast: Portugal is also heralded as a bastion of progressive drug treatment and their population is thirty times that of Iceland. Their approach, by the way, is "all the drugs, all the time." But getting back to the demographics:
- In 1992, 14-, 15- and 16-year-olds in every school in Iceland filled in a questionnaire with these kinds of questions. This process was then repeated in 1995 and 1997.
Sounds fucking stunning until you realize that you're talking about like 5,000 kids. That's two good high schools in LA.
- The results of these surveys were alarming. Nationally, almost 25 per cent were smoking every day, over 40 per cent had got drunk in the past month. But when the team drilled right down into the data, they could identify precisely which schools had the worst problems – and which had the least.
Pretty easy when they fit on a Wikipedia page. Drill down into some of those - most of them serve towns with a population under 1000. At that statistical bleeding edge, a town with 600 people of which 10% are between the ages of 10 and 20 has like 20 kids between the ages of 14 and 16. That means if Bjorn had a drink last week but Bjork didn't, you get a 5% variation.
But do tell. What magic program accomplished all this wizardry?
- Laws were changed. It became illegal to buy tobacco under the age of 18 and alcohol under the age of 20, and tobacco and alcohol advertising was banned.
...like in the USA since the '70s.
- Links between parents and school were strengthened through parental organisations which by law had to be established in every school, along with school councils with parent representatives.
Like the PTA and PTO in every school district in the United States going back to the '30s.
- Parents were encouraged to attend talks on the importance of spending a quantity of time with their children rather than occasional “quality time”, on talking to their kids about their lives, on knowing who their kids were friends with, and on keeping their children home in the evenings.
Like every fucking PSA ever run on television in the United States since the invention of television.
- A law was also passed prohibiting children aged between 13 and 16 from being outside after 10pm in winter and midnight in summer. It’s still in effect today.
- For kids aged 13 and up, parents can pledge to follow all the recommendations, and also, for example, not to allow their kids to have unsupervised parties, not to buy alcohol for minors, and to keep an eye on the wellbeing of other children.
That's it. It's the pledge. Hey, let's look at those statistics again.
- The percentage of 15- and 16-year-olds who had been drunk in the previous month plummeted from 42 per cent in 1998 to 5 per cent in 2016.
- The percentage who have ever used cannabis is down from 17 per cent to 7 per cent.
...okay well that speaks to a stunning lack of availability for weed more than anything else.
- Those smoking cigarettes every day fell from 23 per cent to just 3 per cent.
It's almost as if trends in Iceland are a microcosm for trends worldwide... regardless of the spin they want to put on it.
- No other country has made changes on the scale seen in Iceland.
That's because countries on the scale of Iceland include Barbados, Belize and Martinique. Malta is 25% bigger than Iceland.
I mean... yay. Let's keep kids off drugs. But "the rest of the world isn't listening" might be due to the fact that they aren't doing anything really different, and their sample size is so small that the whole damn country amounts to a tiny pilot project.
Yes. Well, we're trying not to make our customers feel hated.
The worst part about most IP-based hold music is it fucking starts at the beginning every time you move in the queue. Apple was the worst for this, especially as their call centers were all wired together using coat hangers and baling wire. Crackle crackle fizz fizz distorted guitar fizz crackle "hi, I'm representing the world's largest tech company can you hear me sir?"
I have an inordinate amount of information on the Boeing 2707, the plane that would have competed with the Concorde if it hadn't been killed by the Senate.
The economics would have never worked. The fuel necessary to keep that pig in the air is off-the-chain; the 747 didn't exist yet but the Boeing SST (and the Lockheed) would have gotten you there with something like 4 times the fuel. And that's according to the sales literature. It probably would have been more like 5 or 6 times, considering the engines were common with the XB-70.
The Museum of Flight (which is basically an homage to Boeing, so not exactly an unbiased source) will happily tell you that their pet Concorde would fly you from London to New York for $10,000 and only lose $7,000 at that price. 128 seats x $7k loss per seat = a government subsidy program writ large.
Theoretically, they're trying this shit again. Practically, gas hasn't gotten much cheaper and it still requires a shit-ton of power to push tons of anything that fast. There's a line in Sled Driver where Shul points out that each J-58 has the same shaft horsepower as the Queen Fucking Mary.
Your choice. Two dudes at Mach 3 or 4,000 dudes at 28 knots.
The Concorde didn't suck. It was just the ultimate expression of a mode of travel that was utterly unsustainable.
not yet d00d. 'sokay. I be buried. The thought is I'll spend next week mixing a feature rather than installing drawer pulls but it sounds like I get to hit Ikea on Saturday.
Previously on Bostrom
The full thread, which is well-worth reading:
It's particularly interesting that he discusses Art Bell, UFOs and cults. John Ronson outlines in The Men Who Stare At Goats how Art Bell's broadcasts were directly responsible for the Heaven's Gate mass suicide.
The Strugatsky Brothers' Roadside Picnic was also zebra2's first sci fi club:
North enough for Snohomish County taxes and regulations, south enough that people in Ballard love how close we are.
We are 1.0 miles north of the county line and 1.6 miles from the nearest off-ramp. And the nearest bus station is literally our parking lot.
I can't remember where I read it, but some wag pointed out that most people quote Capital without ever going through the chore of reading it because it's largely incoherent.
The moss is already spreading. The prayer plants are popping out leaves. The pothos are shooting out leaves, too, with some white to them. Even the Ludisias seem to be doing okay... the Spiders, though, are unmoved. We'll see.
The water is on a tap under the sink, which goes to a drip irrigation line along the top. The intent is to slap a solenoid on there, and then put a timer on the solenoid. Bonus points if I can get a doser in there too for some liquid fertilizer because otherwise, fertilizing the thing is gonna be tricky.
I wish I could call it an experiment. 80% of the installed green walls in the world use that system or the outdoor version.
My complaint about Alton Brown and "process" is that he overemphasizes how fragile that process is, not how robust it is. Like, he smash-zooms in and leers at you and says "DON'T. overstir" as if it'll cause Mogwai to turn into Gremlins or some shit. Compare to the guys at ATK - they make the recipe a dozen times and vary it and tell you what you need to worry about and don't and lo and behold, most of it you don't.
Make no mistake - I think Alton Brown did a real service to cooks everywhere by demistifying a lot of the chemical and physical processes involved. But he's also got people convinced that unless you perform a religious amount of tweaking your food will suck.
It amuses me to no end that if you ask the internet, the perfect roast chicken is Thomas Keller's, which is literally salt, pepper and trussing. But if you ask the internet, the perfect roast turkey is Alton Brown's, which takes two fuckin' days and $30 in brine. There's adoration, there's emulation, but there's no synthesis.
Julia Child took on a roast chicken Season 1 Episode 1. Compared to Thomas Keller, she fuckin' mauls that thing. But you know what? You do it Julia's way, it cooks more evenly.
I guess you don't get to charge $67 for it, though.