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The watershed moment came last September, when the FDA approved a clinical trial on the use of LSD to treat anxiety in cancer patients. According to the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (or MAPS), it was the first time since the 1960s that a medical study involving LSD was permitted by the federal government. MAPS Director Rick Doblin called it “a symbol that the psychedelic renaissance is here.” MAPS reached its fundraising goal of $225,000 in April, and will soon run its LSD trials in Switzerland, where it’s easier to legally obtain acid. The FDA’s approval is crucial, however, because it means it will accept the data that comes out of the Swiss trials. If those results prove the drug works, the agency will then run similar tests for safety and effectiveness. Doblin thinks that because of this ruling, it’s highly possible that within 10 years LSD prescriptions for treating anxiety associated with life-threatening illnesses could be available in America. –“Is LSD Good for You?” by Paul Schrodt, the Daily Beast
When the topic is sexual violence in wartime, the horrors of the Balkans and Rwanda typically come to mind — not the American Civil War. But in the academic journal Daedalus, Crystal N. Feimster begs to differ with historians who “have accepted without question the idea that Union soldiers rarely raped southern women, black or white, and have argued that sexual violence was rare during the Civil War.” –“Rape and the Civil War,” the New York Times
“Every time I go into the doctor’s office or the dentist’s office or a hospital anywhere, I’ve always got my eye out for it. Naturally, I’m proud of the fact that I was able to come up with something, or direct a program that evolved into this symbol that’s so widely recognized, so helpful. But I ran into a peculiar situation one time a couple years ago when someone was putting on a seminar on biohazards. As gifts for the participants, he devised a beautiful tie with little biohazard symbols all over it. This got me upset, and I sent him kind of a nasty letter saying this symbol was not designed to be used sartorially.” –“Symbol Making” (the origins of the “biohazard” symbol explained) as told to John Cook, 2001
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”