We’re engaged in very weird bio-engineering experiments and we don’t know what we’re doing, or how it works, or what the results will be.

It’s become an open secret that many of the “mass shooters” are either people who are on anti-depressants or who just quit them.

My kids probably needed medicine for ADHD. Look, my husband and I have all the stigmata. There’s a very good chance. But I fought against giving the kids ritalin when they were really young, because I had seen a ton of kids where they got ritalin and their personality changed completely. Worse, they never learned to deal with themselves, to manage themselves and who they are, for lack of a better term.

We are now for the first time in history, as far as I can tell, having entire generations come of age who never knew who they are chemically unaltered.

And it’s not “just” ritalin and anti-depressants, either. It’s a ton of other things, some of which are not supposed to have psych or emotional side effects. But do. Perhaps in a minority of people, perhaps in a majority, but it does have effects.

I know that illnesses can, too, like the flu.  The flu can cause an “after effect” of extreme depression.  Doctors tend not to tell you that. But I’ve had it a few times. Now I know what it is and I discount it.

But there are other things. I got very, very ill with singulair.  People keep telling me that singulair doesn’t even have side effects of that sort. But get any doctor alone, a good doctor, and they’ll squirm and say “Yeah, we keep hearing that. We just don’t know how or WHY.”

The effects on me were terrifying. I’m just now starting to write again. It shouldn’t have anything to do with that.  Maybe. But I know that from about the first week, my ability to remember things started to come back. At the end there, I couldn’t hold a thought in my head for more than five minutes. So… It was affecting me, but I didn’t know.

Which is the most terrible part of this. We trust the thinking meat, but what we’re thinking with is affected, and you don’t know it…

This came to mind because the boss over at instapundit had an article at USA today about selling contraceptives over the counter.  And I was talking with a friend about the weird psychological effects of the pill on some of us.  They put me on it twice, once while they were doing a bunch of tests for the infertility treatment and, in terms of liability, they couldn’t risk my being pregnant.  Once a few years ago, trying to figure out what would fix it.

Both times, I had a major side effect of depression and the hormones didn’t work as they should.  I got pregnant while on the “menopausal pill” which is weirdly weighted and very small.  Apparently it made me more “normal”.  Eh.

But there are psychological effects, and those are the worrisome ones.  Women on the pill prefer more “feminine” men, men who are less aggressive and have softer features.

Since most women these days pick their husbands or boyfriends while on the pill, they’re changing what the next generation is selected for.  And btw might have a lot to do with “toxic masculinity” because that type of men tend to have a more underhanded “dominance” than larger, more masculine men.  There’s a name and a pattern for it, and Dave Freer has told me it’s the same in ape bands, so it’s something very deep.

But heaven help us, that’s what the west is selecting for, without even knowing it.

In the same way, we’re feralizing our pets, animals who are practically our symbionts.

This occurred to me a while ago, and then I realized that other people have been thinking the same.

Think about it.  We know from the Siberian fox experiment you can tame an animal in ten generations of selective breathing.

Now think about the best cats and dogs.  None of them are reproducing.  In the US compliance with spaying and neutering is so complete that shelters are importing strays from other countries to be adopted. (Dogs. Cats are more likely to escape young and reproduce in vast feral colonies.)  Even twenty years ago there were guys with boxes of puppies outside walmart. Now we have to get puppies (or dogs) from elsewhere.  And then we spay them.

Now, I understand this is really bad in places like Australia, where felines can take down vast swathes of marsupial wild life.

In the US, the impact of feral cats is not the same as that of one “eco-power” windmill.  Not saying they don’t have an impact, mind. It’s just not the same.

We’re not going to eliminate feral cat colonies. And maybe that’s a good thing, because escaped or discarded cats that are still predisposed to like humans are still reproducing.  Dogs… Dogs who’ve been our best friends and without whom we’d not be where we are? The ones we allow to reproduce are either bizarre or come from countries where they’re practically feral.

What does all this mean?  I don’t know.

It looks like we’re conducting these bizarre experiments, which I’m not 100% sure where they lead.

Yesterday on Facebook someone said something about “we’ll go to the stars. And when we go, we’ll leave the Earth so clean no one will know.”

And I wonder. I wonder if it’s happened before.

What if there was a great civilization before us, and they did the type of bizarre biological things we’re doing, to themselves.  And what if they feralized their pets with their “responsible breeding.”  Perhaps some of the animals who now hang around humans and are domesticated but not tame are what remains of those pets.  Perhaps the great symbiont of humanity’s last civilizational interaction was the Raccoon.

And what will our descendants look like, as we’re allowing all these chemicals to change who we are, how we think, with whom we mate?

I don’t know. And neither do you. And neither does anyone else.

And maybe it’s for the best….

Humans are, after all, the self-domesticating animal.  We change the world, but most of all we change ourselves.

Perhaps we’ll get to the stars and we’ll meet aliens who are us.

And perhaps–

Perhaps it will turn out for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

But I’d feel better if anyone at all were thinking about it, instead of careening merrily down the same path, all together, without a thought.


252 thoughts on “Bio-Engineering

  1. I remember a very interesting breakfast conversation with SF writer [redacted] at a convention one year, in which she explained her bipolarity issues to me. It seems that lithium, a treatment for bipolar disorder, used to be a common component of well water — and is, of course, not included in our modern processed tap water. Thus what had been a manageable adaptation became problem in modern society.

    Without addressing lithium’s role in bipolarity, the issue of the effects of trace elements in our diets is an area meriting greater study. Even if kids are not being put on drugs, the changes in lifestyles to more sedentary, more indoor activities may be having consequences beyond our notice.

    In a similar vein, I have had employment problems due t a tendency to nod off in meetings. Seriously – ten minutes in and it’s like I was hit with a sockful of sand. I had attributed this to a by-product of sleep apnea, but today’s news brought this bit on interesting news:

    Why crowded meetings and conference rooms make you so, so tired
    That stuffy, sweltering, smothering feeling? It’s not just in your head. A carbon dioxide monitor shows why.
    We’ve all been there: You’re an hour into a meeting in a crowded conference room. The air is thick with hot breath and getting thicker by the minute. You’re trying to pay attention, but you’re so, so tired. If only you could just close your eyes for one brief second …

    But just as you’re about to doze off, the boss says it’s time to wrap up and the attendees jump out of their chairs. Someone yanks the door open, and the cool, fresh air washes over you, and suddenly you’re back to yourself again.

    That stuffy, sweltering, smothering feeling? It’s not just in your head, a fact underscored this week when an astronomer took a carbon dioxide monitor to an academic conference where 100 people were crammed into a stuffy lecture hall. The monitor’s output tells a wonderful little story about what happens to the air quality in a room when you stick a bunch of exhaling humans into it.

    1. Once-upon-a-time architects and HVAC designers knew this and allowed for it. And then the Department of Energy issued what amounted to mandates that ventilation had to be reduced far below previous levels “to save energy.”

      I’m sure it does, but those ASHRAE engineers in the 1940s and 1950s didn’t just yank those air-exchange numbers out of their nether orifices…

      1. The Green Left apparently has a deep seated need to be uncomfortable. They LIKE stuffy offices, inadequately washed clothes, and too little bum-wipe.

        And I really feel that if THEY want for itch for Mother Gaia they should be permitted to do so…just leave me out of it, please.

        1. And since the worldwide left is also fond of neofeudalism, this usually means that they want the peons to be stuffed into inadequately-ventilated offices, while the Glorious Leaders of the People’s Whatever get the big corner offices.

          This, while they also decry the salaries of CEOs…

        2. The not washing your clothes as much thing is really, really dumb. Between this and hippies, I have to wonder what they have against basic hygiene?

      2. Bureaucrats do a lot of meetings. High carbon dioxide levels in those meeting rooms, according to that article, render people dumber.

        Just sayin’.

        1. That explains the stupidity of government as a whole. Maybe they should hold all important meetings, Congress and senate in a nice, clean forest. Plenty of oxygen to go around.

          1. Oh dear, NO! That’s a terrible idea! Politicians are notoriously incapable of seeing the forest for the trees – do you realize how many politicians (and their advisers, and their staff (who they reckon by the half) and their aides) we’d lose from their having wandered off and gotten lost, never again to be seen?

            Okay, that might be more feature than bug …

      3. Former hvac contractor. Trust me, that knowledge is not as lost as you think. *chuckle* There’s a few guys still out there teaching that stuff. At least there were when I was in, back in the nineties and early two thousands.

    2. We had a gas free tech come into our office for some reason or another and he happened to have his monitor on. It started alarming almost as soon as he walked in.

        1. Those are the guys who go in to confined spaces and validate that the atmosphere is safe to breathe or weld.

    3. “n a similar vein, I have had employment problems due to a tendency to nod off in meetings. Seriously – ten minutes in and it’s like I was hit with a sockful of sand. I had attributed this to a by-product of sleep apnea, but today’s news brought this bit on interesting news:”

      Was lucky to not have the employment problems, but can I relate. Starting, 7th grade (Jr High back then) through college, and into the work place, and even now, I can NOT stay awake/focused in any meeting beyond the first 10 minutes, unless I am doing something else. In school (JH/HS) that meant having a book or journal to write in, as well as regular notes (not that I took many notes, but …) In college, most the time I’d just doze off, rare the instructor was dynamic enough to keep my focus. Meetings. I’d better be the one conducting them, or heavily participating, or able to move around, specifically stand up, or out like a light. I don’t care if it was work or volunteer related. Drives my husband and extended family nuts.

      Sleep Apnea hadn’t been diagnosed until very recently, although probably played a part. I attributed it (for over 30 years now) to low BS, or crashes, although knowing what I know now, could have been (probably was) high BS too (anything over 140 is nap time for me until it drops below 130, which is either because it is high, or because if it goes that high it crashes FAST, take your pick.) Add that to bodies in a small place … well, no wonder.

      1. I have both problems (nodding off in meetings and sleep apnea), but I don’t think apnea is the cause. More like, ten minutes is the extreme limit I can pay attention to the s..l..o..w.. pace of the spoken word.

        Sometimes, though… there’s a strip of Interstate 40 between Stuttgart and West Memphis that has always been a problem for me. I’ve driven it shortly after a good night’s sleep, at the end of a long day, whatever, and it doesn’t seem to matter, my brain shuts down.

        Nowhere else. Just that one section of road. For decades…

    4. ehh, not buying it, Most people who are bipolar have to take a *lot* of lithium for it to reach therapeutic levels.

  2. I got diagnosed with asthma and then went on continually increasing doses of multiple meds for quite a while. I took them through a pregnancy and when there were complications, I wondered how much the meds had affected my body and if they had, how much the meds had made permanent. I wasn’t part of any studies, and I didn’t know if I could or how to submit records to pharmaceutical companies to provide data points (of course, it not being part of a study would make it difficult to parse out causes and effects) on a pregnant patient. I still wonder about that.

    1. When I was working hard to get pregnant, I had a few talks with both the OB and the psychiatrist. Their verdict on escitalopram, at least, was that the risks of a depressed mother to the fetus were greater than the risks of the medication to the fetus. Wouldn’t be terribly surprised if that was true for quite a number of medications as well.

      1. I was prescribed escitalopram after I lost child #4 to SIDs, (after having lost his elder brother to full-term stillbirth.) I didn’t have psych drugs before, but felt I needed the help coping this time around. It was supposed to be mild.

        Instead, I felt nothing, then spurts of extreme feeling – extreme despair, rage, joy, – and swing between them unexpectedly. Then, I ‘settled’ into ‘feeling absolutely nothing.’ Sure, I wasn’t grieving – and it felt WRONG- but I also couldn’t care about anything. I often found myself staring off into space, having lost a train of thought, and before I knew it, hours had passed.

        I’d forget to eat, or cook.

        So I went cold turkey, but I’m still… damaged by it. And I’m never taking psych drugs again. I wish there was a way for me to fix the damage, but it’s been too long, my neurochemistry in that regard’s been changed. That choice to take drugs to try cope so I could be more functional for my surviving children’s sake was one of the biggest wrong choices I’ve ever made.

        1. I’ve known several people who were put on antidepressants, and most of them quit using them due to the same problem you had. “I’d rather be crazy than numb.”

          Oddly, some people fake symptoms so they can get antidepressants just to be numb. I guess it’s like suicide, except for the ‘dying’ part.

          1. One of the things I really hated about it, besides the numbness, was the inability to concentrate and remember things. I had to make notes of nearly everything – and often couldn’t work up the arsedness to do even that. I had all the symptoms of severe depression without feeling, and explosions of feeling that were way beyond what were remotely proportionate. WORSE when I was about to have that time of the month.

            It also seriously messed with my metabolism. I had issues shedding the post-baby weight – probably a combination of the meds, depression and the fact that I couldn’t breastfeed any more, if I want to be fair about it – and it took a serious effort, equivalent to several-hour workouts, to start shedding that and regaining my waistline…

            Course, when I did, I ended up preggers with the baby girl who’s currently snoozing in the cot behind me. *self-depreciating sigh of amusement*

            I really hate filling out those mental wellness forms at the mama clinic too. I *tend* to be high anxiety because I’m one of those people who likes to try make sure that everything goes smoothly to avoid the stress of Things Go Wrong, and some of the depression is because of lack of sleep. Talking to someone, and adding yet another thing for me to fret about on my schedule isn’t really going to do me any good, and talking to therapists proved utterly useless for someone like me. I’m one of those people who stress when there’s a problem, and that stress goes away when the problem goes away/is solved. Talking to a therapist ain’t helping with that.

            1. And what’s funny is that I’m the opposite — I was taking a natural serotonin supplement that interfered with the escitalopram, and my clue that it wasn’t working was that I started screaming and throwing fits at the littlest thing.

              I should note that while I am adamantly “take the drugs if you need them,” I also am a strong believer in doing whatever one can to minimize the need for them. Whenever I talk to a friend or acquaintance struggling with possible depression, I always recommend starting with a week of getting at least eight hours sleep at night even if you have to take a sleeping pill, ingesting a multivitamin and possibly one of those meal replacement bars/shakes with all the extra nutrition, drink enough fluids that your urine is pale yellow, and get in 20 minutes of walking each day. If after a week of that you’re still scoring high on the depression tests, then you’re more likely to actually need medication.

              1. I should note that while I am adamantly “take the drugs if you need them,” I also am a strong believer in doing whatever one can to minimize the need for them.

                This, very much.

                I’m getting over a mild bout of flu (which consisted of being mildly feverish, that achy malaise, and the joints being painful.) It’s resulted in some rather annoying insomnia, because I’d JUST gotten my brain under control on the ‘sleep before midnight’ the week before. I’ve tried having some white-noise sounds but it keeps me from hearing the little Snuza clipped to my baby’s nappy. I’m dead exhausted, but the cute little thing I’m having an ‘argument’ with is the main reason for why I’d like to be awake and coherent during the day.

                She might go down for a nap shortly though and when she does, I’ll join her.

                I figure a lot of my stress would go away if I knew how to drive, but that’s a can that’s going to be kicked down the road for now.

  3. It’s become an open secret that many of the “mass shooters” are either people who are on anti-depressants or who just quit them.

    True. Of course, that’s like saying many people who die of cancer were on or had just finished chemotherapy. Depends on the doctor, obviously, but at least for those not on really good insurance to get access to the docs who prescribe anything you want at the drop of a hat, it’s surprisingly hard to get a script for anti-depressants. I had to lie that I was actively suicidal for anyone at the public health service to take my mental illness seriously enough to give me a script. (I was merely in the serious contemplation phase.)

    Couple that kind of difficulty in getting treatment with the fact that we don’t know exactly how the medications work and it can take months to find a medication and dosage level that gives you the necessary mental clarity to fix the external factors which are contributing the depression (and God help you if you have multiple mental illnesses), are we really surprised that people receiving the horribly slow and inefficient treatments we have for their illnesses died of their illnesses?

    Their illnesses don’t excuse their behavior — but the treatments for their illnesses shouldn’t catch the blame either.

    1. While that can be true, there’s also some known side-effects of certain antidepressants that can include personality changes (besides the desired one, that is), sometimes pretty spectacular ones. John Ringo has told the story of how his wife, an Episcopal Christian, had a reaction to the antidepressant medication she was taking. As I recall, and I’m sure some people here will be able to link me to the original story so if I get some details wrong they can be corrected, while on the antidepressants, she started planning — seriously planning — to murder several people. People who were known sex offenders against young children, as I recall, but it’s still something that she would never have done under normal circumstances. She realized this at some point and checked herself into a mental facility, who helped her get on medication that wouldn’t affect her like that. But I remember Ringo saying that her plans had been detailed and methodical, including ways to dispose of the evidence later — so that if she had carried them out, he thought she would have not just succeeded, but gotten away with it.

      1. As I recall, the facility kicked her out when she started recruiting other patients for the plan. They however did not warn anyone including John Ringo of her plans. It could have gone very bad very fast.

        1. and she was the one who said “Wait a minute . . .something is VERY Wrong.” and had him haul her in somewhere to figure out what the deal was.

          1. Based on hte things I’ve heard about her, I am inclined to agree with John’s assessment that Einstein would meet Miriam and go “ok, now *she’s* smart”

        2. Yep – according to John, her arguments were very rational, and were bringing the others in her group sessions around to her way of thinking.


    2. The problem, and I speak as someone intimately familiar with psychoactive drugs, is that we don’t have a complete understanding of how it helps. The SSRI theory and such explain the effects for most individuals but then you have things like wellbutrin (SNRI) where it’s ‘it helps sometimes but we don’t know why.’

      Mental illnesses are not something yet fully understood and that shows.

      1. Oh, don’t I know it. Whenever you start an anti-depressant, the docs warn you that you may not feel any relief of systems for at least two weeks, and of course that’s even more so when the only way you can get your hands on anti-depressants is with clinical trials and you might end up with a placebo. I can feel the difference within 18 hours. That’s just not supposed to happen.

        My operating theory is that my brain needs an SSRI like a diabetic needs insulin.

        1. I don’t call shrinks quacks unless I want to annoy my brother, but it’s a field where the data isn’t there yet
          We have correlation but have no clues as to why.

        2. I can feel the difference within 18 hours. That’s just not supposed to happen.

          That is SUPPOSED to be a symptom of a psychological influence.

          AKA, plasebo effect. Because “the body can’t work that fast.”

          Issue being, I also know from the Navy that if you feed someone who is really starving, they can DIE in less than six hours.
          ….which shouldn’t happen, if the first is true.

          1. A more than 18 hour period and a less than 6 hour period of effect are plausible if the mechanisms are different. Or if the molecules are differently sized, or have other properties that change the rate of transport within the body.

            Other side, if you simplify things down to gut > gut/blood barrier > closed loop of pumped blood > blood/brain barrier > brain, we know that there are illnesses which weaken the gut/blood barrier, probably likewise the blood/brain barrier, and changes in blood chemistry could change the solubility of drug in blood. So it is obvious that there is all sorts of possibilities for faster or slower drug transport that testing in the numbers we do might not be capturing.

            1. May have been a wee bit unclear.

              Imagine, say, the blood brain barrier simplified to a flat membrane with blood on one side, and brain on the other. Thickness, local chemistry, etc are all going to effect the rate at which a chemical passes through, and these can probably vary hugely without a person being dead. Looks like there might be all sorts of fun areas for research.

              1. Further, it can be altered, as it was for a friend of mine, by a TBI. Now most anti-depressants and painkillers simply don’t work at normal dosages. They have been able to document it with a tagged CAT scan, but no one has the first clue on how to reverse it.

      2. There are at a bare minimum, two separate mechanisms for mental illness.

        One is the brain chemistry issue. In theory, one could map the concentrations of various chemicals to a state space vector, look at the system dynamics, and figure out some sort of intervention/control that would modify the dynamics to be automatically stable in a safe range. In practice, we guess that throwing certain chemicals into the mix on a schedule will change things, try it, see what happens, and adjust accordingly.

        Second issue is habits and customs that can modify the impact of dysfunction. Basically, best practice amounts to being preventative maintenance.

        You also have things like brain lesions, or feedback training to modify electrical activity in the brain.

        Really complex, and so very many things we don’t know.

        1. I have a friend who underwent ECT for severe suicidal depression. The quote she got from the doctor was “it works and we have no idea why.”

          I mean, yeah, it does electrically rewire the brain (losing a lot of memories in the process, which is why it isn’t done often), but it’s a poorly-understood mechanism at best.

          Occasionally she worries about what she lost. We reassure her “but you’re still here.”

        2. And while it might transfer down to chemistry (and in the end everything is physics…) I will note that if you ‘tune’ a strobe ‘just so’ (to roughly 10 Hz, alpha wave – you’ll know it when you find it!) it’s somewhat like being rather drunk – have to concentrate on walking, for example. And almost the instant the strobe is shut off or deviates sufficiently from that rate, “sobriety” happens (thankfully sans hangover). Photonic or Electric “drugs” do not seem a crazy idea. Perhaps impractical at today’s level of comprehension, but there are detectable effects. It seems anything subtle is ignored or dismissed, and what is acknowledged is rather brute force.

      3. Mental illnesses are not something yet fully understood and that shows.

        That’s partly because once we understand them, we stop calling them mental. Epilepsy was a mental illness as long as it consisted of throwing inexplicable fits.

    3. Besides the active shooters, take a long, hard look at the parties who’ve been involved with our war crimes downrange in Afghanistan and Iraq. Nearly all of them are men who were TBI victims, prescribed childhood SSRI subjects, or were actively taking SSRI meds for PTSD symptoms.

      The way they go about prescribing these things in the military and in civil life is, in my opinion, criminal. They do not put the subjects into clinical observation in order to determine what the actual effects are; they rely, instead, on purely subjective reports from the patient and/or the parents. In the Army, at least, HIPAA requirements mean that a lot of the time, a soldier’s leadership won’t even know their people are undergoing treatment.

      As well, there’s a lack of understanding about the effects and implications of these drugs, along with the whole package of other stuff a soldier might be taking, like supplements and anabolic steroids they might be taking as part of a training regimen. If you review the records, nearly all of these incidents have this stuff in common.

      Not to mention the side effects from things like some of the anti-malarials. The Canadians wound up deactivating their Airborne Regiment because of misconduct that was at least associated with the issuance of Lariam as an anti-malarial drug in Somalia.

    4. But you’re assuming all of these were needed. At one time I had to fight to avoid being given anti-depressants when the cause of my depression was an infection that hadn’t allowed me to sleep for two weeks for more than a few minutes at a time.
      Granted MOST (not all) psychiatrists are better ar this, but family doctors hand out anti-depressants like candy. And honestly, so do some psychiatrists I can’t find it right now, but I read recently the story of a society girl who was having trouble coping with her come out, no one wanted to tell her to grow up, and next thing you know she was on NINE anti-depressants and mood-adjustors and barely functioning. And there’s a lot of similar cases.

      1. Granted that there’s abuse. And granted, it’s not like we have the ability to know how psychotic these kids were before anti-depressants — given that almost all of them were also in single-mother homes, their underlying problem likely wasn’t a biochemical one that medication is most useful for treating. These are definitely powerful drugs that will make a normal person out of sync even as they can make an abnormal person in sync. (Sometimes. Again, brains are basically black box problems.)

        I just worry about the people like myself who need the medication but who are scared off taking it because the frequent insinuation that it will make them homicidal, or the scare a few years ago that anti-depressants in teens promote suicide. No, depression promotes suicide. The danger with anti-depressants in depressed people is that they give you the motivation to carry out plans, including suicide plans, before they restore your ability to evaluate whether suicide is really the best solution to your problems.

          1. I had a long running issue with my psychiatrist; I was on an SSRI, and it helped, but I wanted to get off it quite some time. For some reason, I wasn’t willing/able to push the issue, but when my COBRA ran out, I stopped a) taking the med, and b) seeing the psychiatrist.

            I retrospect, I should have been on it a few months. I’d been working on issues through a different therapist. Once those were resolved well enough, it would have been a good idea to stop the med.

            OTOH, it worked as advertised, without any of the more gruesome side effects that can show up. I’ll give the psychiatrist credit for keeping me under observation frequently at first, but not in the long run.

            1. While I agree that SSRIs can be a wonderful thing when properly prescribed to the right patient, modern medicine is great for prescribing things, not so hot for unprescribing them.

              There’s totally no profit motive there, of course…

              1. I had a diabetes check with my primary care doctor, and I asked if my statin was really necessary. PCDr was also trying to remember why he’d prescribed Metformin last year, for a while. Heart issues came up, and that was why the Metformin.

                It’s been a long time since we talked history, and when I mentioned family history of heart attacks (Dad had his third & fatal one at age 53), the doctor said; “Yes, your statin is inappropriate. You are going on a stronger one. Right now.” Scratch Lovastatin, enter generic Lipator.

                Had to update the med list for my retina doctor. Three independent med visits in the next 10 days. Whee.

              2. In the docs’ defense, they’re far more likely to get sued for not prescribing or ending a prescription than for prescribing or keeping someone on a med.

                It’s still about the money, but more about the doc keeping what he has than getting more.

              3. These drugs are a crutch. Crutches are useful. People who think crutches fix broken bones (or minor sprains) are… foolish.

                The warning sign is getting the drug by itself, not part of a plan that includes a timeline to get off it, and monitoring for side effects during.

        1. They’re informed of the risk. It’s behind the clickbox everyone skips when getting a prescription filled, and in a hyperlink printed in faint microscopic type in some of the packaging.

          The drug industry fought *hard* to eliminate psych counseling, and few doctors are going to take the time if it extends the patient session more than a minute or two, which it will. Nobody else in the office is *qualified* (yay for regulatory creep) for counseling, so it doesn’t happen.

          “Had a problem, got a prescription.” That’s the extent of most patient involvement in the 21st century.

      2. My GP is, shall we say, unimaginative. A coupe of years back, I contacted her about exhaustion and she sent me a depression screen. Filled it out, fine, you’re not depressed, let’s see what we can find. After some blood tests that showed nothing, she had me take the same screening again, decided that I was depressed (based on virtually the same answers), and wanted to send me to the psych end.

        I eventually got her to do a more complete set of blood testing and look at that, severe iron depletion. “But you’re not anemic!” she said, looking at my other blood counts. While I, looking at the WHO and CDC numbers on iron depletion, see them state outright that you can have anemic symptoms well before the blood count levels show it if you have critically low iron.

        This is also the GP who was baffled at some of the symptoms a short course of birth control (for a different issue) were giving me—as opposed to my OB, who said, “Wow, I’ve never heard of that,” but accepted that yes, it was the BC, since the symptoms stopped as soon as the medication did.

        1. Sounds like the pediatrician who missed celiac disease when my niece was a toddler, and threatened to go for CPS
          (“you’re starving the child”. No, the kid was losing everything she ate.)

          My SIL dumped the quack, and niece (now healthy, 25 years later) just got married today. Yay!

          Some doctors really are clueless.

            1. It was going to be a burden for $SPOUSE to make it to the wedding, so we’re looking forward to the AAR from SIL.

              1. SIL said it went well; pictures to come. Yay!

                (Wedding was in the high(!) Sierras. Something like 8000′ plus. Might have been tough on the lowlanders.)

      3. Psychiatrists cost more money and with insurance companies trying to provide free birth control every extraneous expense matters. Your family physician can write a scrip just fine and it isn’t really very likely any complications will develop — and if they do, we’ll deal with it then.

        Don’t you WANT everybody getting their health care covered?

        1. I’ve gotten “free” mental health care through the county. After a few months, they decided the world could cope with one fewer licensed attorney employed as a mall shoe salesperson. Hence why I was using clinical trials after they dumped me.

          Thank the good Lord I swallowed my pride, took law school off my resume, and got hired in an office job with benefits.

    5. I wonder how many of them were on pristiq / prestiq. I have heard/read about how it … numbs. That’s too shallow a word. It takes out everything that makes you feel, and has you act like a robot, but also takes away things like impulse control, creativity…

      And my Dad was one of those who died after successful chemotherapy for lung cancer, though it was also because he’d caught pneumonia while undergoing chemo.

      1. FIL & MIL died from smoking, even tho by the time they died at over 70, neither had smoked in over 40 years. As did dad. Although his smoking was (technically) quit 22 years before his death. So, technically quitting smoking killed them (???).

          1. Well, yes. Heck. Same family of siblings — Both dad’s younger bothers smoke, although rumors are they’ve recently quit … at 71 and 68 … Dad’s stroke due to arterial closure, was at age 50; they were in their early 30’s (considerably younger.) His older sister lived to 83, was a heavy smoker, but quit after she turned 75. All all/were heavy(ish) drinkers (compared to what we drink, but then we’d almost be considered non-drinkers.)

  4. we’ll leave the Earth so clean no one will know.

    Wha?!?? Define “clean.” The Earth is a mudball, clean is contrary to its nature.

    1. Just wait a while and a few subduction cycles will take care of it…

      – TRX “taking the long view…”

  5. Against the Grain, by James C. Scott, explores this idea of human domestication, though mainly in cultural rather than genetic terms. Scott’s an interesting thinker: Definitely to the left, but often insightful, as in his critique of Le Corbusier’s inhumanistic approach to architecture.

  6. Maybe we were the descendants of the feral pets that got left behind…

    Maybe we are the primate exhibit in the galactic zoo…

  7. I was talking with a friend about the weird psychological effects of the pill on some of us.

    For a number of years now, I have been talking about the effects of female hormones in our drinking water. Long enough for folks to deem be a few fries shy of a Happy Meal (I maintain I have all my fries; it is the apple turnover that is absent.) Women on The Pill piss those excess hormones into the water and I very much doubt downstream processing reliably cleans them out. There have been reports on aquatic life affected in curious manner by that tainted water, and I’ve no doubt that it is having subtle effects on human behaviour as well.

    As to the “toxic masculinity” portion, consider that physically powerful men tend to be more secure, while weaker men have to resort to psychological strategies to compensate for their lack of physical strength. There are probably characters from Game of Thrones who exemplify this, but I prefer the MCU characters of Thor and Loki. Thor, by virtue of his physical prowess, while (originally) somewhat short on empathy, tends to be very unthreatened and secure within himself. Loki, OTOH, has to play his little psychological manipulations to achieve dominance. Thus any environmental factor which favors less physical males will probably boost “toxic” male behaviour patterns. (It ought be noted that feminine behaviour — Queen Bee Syndrome — in men is one of those toxic behaviours.

    Dominance competition is an essential element of human psychology, from “who wears the pants” in a relationship to whether a child or a parent will dominate n a family. The only real question is how we challenge that competition to productive (or, at least, minimally destructive) paths.

    1. As an aside, there’s somewhere out there an article refuting the idea that the problem stems from birth control meds going into the waste stream, and suggesting that it’s all the other estrogen-like compounds like the BPA and other plasticizers used in the chemical industry. I can’t remember where I read it, but the guy who did it claimed that the majority of the hormones used in birth control had limited lives in the waste stream and the environment, being broken down relatively quickly, while the BPA and its analogs were basically “forever”.

      Can’t evaluate that for myself, but it is an interesting point.

      1. That was the attempt right before the “hormone effects are from feed lots and dairies” attempt, which seems to have sunk without many ripples.

        Based on there BEING a second-string attempt, and the first string vanishing besides bottles that say “BPA free!”, I am guessing it’s not well supported.


        Of course, the guy who pointed out that dish detergent didn’t work the way they theorized kinda vanished. Outside of indi type places.

        On the third hand, that guy actually had evidence and was showing it to everybody.

    2. from “who wears the pants” in a relationship
      It’s amazing how many relationships founder on “who wears the pants”, when it’s patently obvious a relationship works better when no one is wearing pants.

    1. Updated headline –

      Vicious Pit Bull Drags Infant Out of Its Home

      It’s a pit bull, after all. 😛

        1. What a GOOD dog!

          She should get *all* the scritches


  8. From webmd on singulair: Tell your doctor right away if any of these rare but serious mental/mood changes (such as agitation, aggression, anxiety, trouble sleeping, abnormal dreams, sleep-walking, memory/attention problems, depression, hallucinations, thoughts of harming yourself/suicide), numbness/tingling/shooting pain in the arms or legs, sinus pain/swelling, muscle weakness, uncontrolled muscle movements. The doctors may not know why it affects some people the way it affected you, but they know it does. Is it different blood types? That affects frequency of some types of cancer. Ethnic background? It’s also well known that blacks/Asians/Caucasians react differently to different medications. Actually researching those differences is a forbidden subject…. Obviously hormones have different effects on males and females, but it’s also known that a lot of other meds have different effects. Most meds are researched on males, unless specifically targeted for a female audience.

    It’s why I read the side effects. My wife’s practitioner is trying to get her to change from Fosamax to some newer drug that’s a monoclonal antibody because of the side effects of Fosamax. It has all the same side effects and more, more frequently. Know what I couldn’t find? The side effect frequency on women who smoke vs women who don’t. Side effects show up much more frequently in smokers in my own personal observations.We’re non-smokers.

    With the amount of information now available thanks to Al Gore inventing this internet thingy, there’s really no excuse not to know what’s going on in the world of medicine when it comes to your own body. Doctors have been trying for years to get me on statins. I’ve been skeptical from the beginning about their “benefits” Turns out that being skeptical was the right choice.

      1. I don’t get weird dreams, per se – but far more vivid and remembered dreams. That is with melatonin. Not mentioned anywhere that I have found. That being the only side effect I have recognized, I can live with it to cut my time to get to sleep from two hours to fifteen minutes.

        Reactions to drugs can change, too, sometimes drastically. When I was younger, codeine would just knock me out at the lowest dosage. Later in life, I crossed it off of the acceptable pain relief meds, because it didn’t knock me out – but made me into a raging paranoiac (which is mentioned as a rare side effect).

        1. Affects my dreams too. The same way, except for the remembering part. No matter how hard I try, dream memories fade away within minutes.

          1. You may not be missing much… I’ve synopsized a couple of them as possible story ideas, although they would need major development work.

            The rest – well, let’s just say that I could, if I were at all interested in following them up, win a modern literary award with a story based on them.

        2. Mine with Singulair can only be described as: Vivid and bloody and violent nightmares. I couldn’t even remember the CONTENT just the general feeling of horror.

      2. Younger son, who researches all the medicines anyone in the family takes, is STILL confused by my report that lisinopril (a blood pressure medicine, in case anyone is not familiar) caused me to have weirdly vivid dreams for the first month or two.

        One of the common side effects with lisinopril is a dry cough, which I sort of got (with me, “dry” and “cough” don’t really ever go together, but I guess the cough was as dry as it gets for me). Robert said he has never heard of that cough going away, when i mentioned that when i was out for five days, the cough came back after I restarted it.

    1. > Tell your doctor right away if any of these rare but serious mental/mood changes (such as

      The problem is, way too many drugs have the same warnings. So people learn to ignore them even if they bother to read them.

      How much is a fact-based medical warning and how much is legal boilerplate? Look up the MSDS for “SAND, WASHED AND DRIED.”

      “Wolf! Wolf!”

      1. It’s not even that. It’s that once I switched taking it to the morning, I didn’t have ANY side-effects I could track for well over a year, except the eczema was gone for the first time in 53 years.
        I think it was a slow, slow creep, long after I’d stopped watching.

      2. *searches for SAND, WASHED AND DRIED MSDS*


        Well, duh. Like I really want to breathe sand.

        1. How dare they not remove the dust from the sand. You don’t breath SAND!
          You breathe the dust.

      3. I was offered the complete list of side-effects when put on an antidepressant. I said, “Everything anyone’s ever suffered while taking this?” and she said, “Yup.”

        1. Usually, you get “everything, unfiltered.” So when you notice that two or three of the test subjects died you might be worried, because they didn’t tell you one drowned and the other died in a car wreck.

        2. A woman I dated was part of a drug trial for a narcolepsy drug. They had a strict procedure they were supposed to follow. Mix the doses (two glasses of water, add prescribed amount of medication, one for bed time, one for middle of the night). GO TO THE BATHROOM. Once done, sit on side of bed and drink first dose. Immediately lay down, and do not get out of bed for any reason until time for second dose. Then a similar procedure for second dose (drink, lay down, do not pass go etc.)

          When I read that I was a little confused by how precise they were being (having had zero experience with such things). Then she explained it. The medicine was sleep inducing, so if anyone on the drug trial took their dose and then fell in the bathroom the company would have to put it in the side-effects.

  9. OCD. Howard Hughes, one of the richest men in the world had nothing to treat it just a few years ago. Now many possibilities. In the 80’s, “we have this drug. We haven’t tested it in children. Would you like to experiment with them?” My son took drugs for it. He also had severe depression from OCD.

    Cancer killed him a year ago at 42. He had been able to overcome and create a useful life. If someone had known all the risks, and told us, (and you never know all the risks), we still would have made most of the same choices. Life is a game of risks. Walking across the street. Walking in San Francisco.

    We are still in the alchemy stage. “Try this. See if it works”.

    We don’t understand. So much we don’t know we don’t know. The only questions that matter: Do you know where you are going? Will you appreciate what you have?

    1. My personal vote for “treatment most likely to put on part with leeches” is chemotherapy, which is basically feeding the patient poison and hoping the sick parts die faster.

      But then, bodies are very whacky. The only known treatment for the negative symptoms of schizophrenia is an antibiotic.

      1. Yup. Chemotherapy aims at the VERY rapid reproduction of cancer cells and interferes with that. I hopes to screw over more cancer cells than standard ones. Of course there’s been meds like that before. Strong arsenic based medications were used against syphilis in the early 20th century before antibiotics showed up…

  10. “But there are psychological effects, and those are the worrisome ones. Women on the pill prefer more “feminine” men, men who are less aggressive and have softer features. Since most women these days pick their husbands or boyfriends while on the pill, they’re changing what the next generation is selected for. ”

    Also…when the woman goes off the pill…either because of side effects or because she wants to get pregnant…then (to the extent that the pill’s influence on preference is a significant one), she is likely to think “How on earth could I have ever been attracted to THIS guy?”

    (OTOH…although I’ve seen the preference effects of the pill mentioned in numerous places, I don’t think I’ve encountered any *quantification* of how great the effect is. A 2% effect or a 20% effect would be a pretty important difference in terms of the social and evolutionary impact.

      1. Reading that, the above assertions were tested, and shown valid. There’s only one quantitative number in the document, that women on the pill have a 9% lower attraction to the masculinized face. Shown, but not numerically quantified is that the highest relationship satisfaction is when the women are in the same state (using pill vs not) as they were at the relationship start.

    1. Note that use of oral contraceptives *strongly* correlates to demographics.

      So you have Demographic A reproducing rarely and often late, and Demographics B, C, and D going “Oh, look! Another baby!”

  11. Medieval and traditional medicines were big on the influence of food and drink on mood, as well as on various body systems. They may not have been entirely wrong, and they were good on patterns of how various conditions tend to occur together. (Obviously their explanations for effects were wrong, but the actual patterns have good observation behind them.)

    1. A lot of people have food allergies, and some of them can be serious.

      Cow milk in particular is *poison*…

      1. The stray noodle in hot and sour soup put the local Asian buffet permanently on the “avoid at all costs” list. It took time to develop a sensitivity to gluten, but it’s there. Big time.

        1. Haven’t you heard the latest proclamations? After years of being New and Trendy, gluten sensitivity is now exceedingly rare and most cases are imaginary.

          So, doctors will see the symptoms, diagnose them as something else, and gluten sensitivity will become a curiosity once more.

          There! That should make you feel better… (sigh)

          1. “… gluten sensitivity is now exceedingly rare and most cases are imaginary*”

            Is it possibly lupus?

            Possibly not.

            1. I know people with actual gluten sensitivities, and it sucks for them. The whole trendy “gluten BAAAD” thing just pisses them off.

          2. With $SPOUSE, she has a hard time breathing. That’s before the GI stuff happens. Whyinhell does the grocery story put the peanut butter in the bread aisle?

            With me, after about a day, both ends of my GI system decide to go free-emptying. The first time, I was in the hospital with “We don’t know what it is, but you have blood in your stool, and your meals will be delivered by IV” for four days.

            Repeat occurrences led me to do some detective work. It was hard because of the delay, but I had a lot of episodes. $SPOUSE had some family history to fall back on, and her reaction time is a lot faster.

            I’m glad it’s been trendy; keeps the cost of GF foods less hideously expensive. One Oregon bread maker (Franz) does a decent line of bread and bagels, and careful shopping gets a loaf for merely $6.00. ($7.50 at the Kroger affiliate, cheaper at Bi-Mart.) Fortunately, $SPOUSE bakes GF.

  12. oh boy, medical stuff. My family has stories… from the antibiotic that gave my husband janudice – doctor at ER/Urgent Care “It doesn’t do that.”
    Husband “it’s the only variable that changed recently.” (he’s a scientist.) He was right, it IS in the side effects, rare, but documented. And our kid who has a long list of things OTC and not that we learned the hard way not to give her. None of them classic allergy reactions, mostly affecting the brain. Fortunately wise enough to stay off pharmaceutical birth control due to those experiences.

    Given how she was diagnosed with a mental illness and went stable when treated for hypothyroid, I DON’T want hormones over the counter in any way shape or form. They’re too powerful. And schools push them, and doctors just hand them out.

    Looks at soapbox, cough apologetically. Sorry. Rant over.

    1. He was right, it IS in the side effects, rare, but documented.

      This summarizes 90% of the post-mortum followups.

      Go to doctor: “______ is happening!”
      Doctor: “Can’t be, that doesn’t happen, you’re imagining it.”
      Patient: *gets wrong treatment, dies*
      Research: “Oh, wait, it DOES happen.”

      1. Sounds like the responses to $SPOUSE’s issues with gluten. She’s an order of magnitude more sensitive than I am, and it was laughed off a couple decades ago.

    2. ” I DON’T want hormones over the counter in any way shape or form. They’re too powerful. And schools push them, and doctors just hand them out. ”
      So what difference will OTC make? Other than making them much cheaper for those that need them.
      By the way, I agree on the undesirability of hormones unless absolutely needed as a last resort.

      1. Cheaper? They’re already available for free. That’s the whole Planned Parenthood thing. OTC would actually raise the price.

        What it would do would limit the availability for those who wish to use it for someone else, or for someone who wants to do something really dumb.

        For example, there are news stories about guys who put a month’s worth of OTC pills into their baby-momma’s drinks because they didn’t WANT her to give birth.

        Usually as a foot-note in for when they murdered her.

        Hell, there are even jokes about “grandma” putting in her grandaughter’s morning OJ.

        1. OTC would actually raise the price.

          I saw something last night — Washington Examiner, IIRC — about Planned Parenthoodlums demanding OTC birth control be covered by insurance.

          Otay – this is not where I saw the reporting, but it covers the ground:

          Democrats roll out proposal requiring insurance to cover OTC birth control
          House and Senate Democrats rolled out a proposal Thursday that would require insurance companies to cover over-the-counter birth control at no cost to patients.

          The measure, introduced by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), would ensure birth control that is available to women without a prescription is covered by insurance companies.

          Plan B, commonly referred to as the morning after pill, is currently the only method of oral contraception available over the counter, without a prescription, which means it is often not covered by insurance.

          “At a time when reproductive rights are under attack, it is more critical than ever that we take bold steps to reaffirm reproductive rights for all Americans,” Pressley said in a statement.


          All Americans. Presumably that includes for men, too. So gay men’s condoms will be covered? And, of course, for transgendered individuals. Does this include a right to abortion on demand for men?

          1. Nah, it means they really, really want to force even those who are OK with birth control but not abortion to cooperate with abortions.

            1. Don’t they just!

              New York City’s Shocking Abortion Plan
              Editorial of The New York Sun | June 15, 2019
              No wonder New York City’s latest move in respect of abortion was advanced “under the radar,” as the New York Times put it. The plan being hatched to start allocating taxpayer funds for abortions for poor women who travel here from other states may not, at least at the moment, involve a lot of money. It is, though, a shocking escalation in the population wars.

              The plan, according to the Times, which broke the story, is for the city to allocate $250,000 for abortions. The idea, the headline suggests, is to challenge conservative states that have been moving to curb abortions. The allocation from taxpayer funds would go to a charity, the New York Abortion Access Fund, that cuts checks directly to clinics to cover abortions for women who cannot pay.

              “We heard the news on the abortion bans across the country,” Councilwoman Carlina Rivera is quoted by the Times as saying. “Many of us in New York felt helpless. We wanted to do more.” So she and her colleagues seem prepared to send tax collectors to raid the savings of even religious Catholics and Jews, among others, and force them to underwrite a practice that horrifies them.

              “Abortion rights activists,” the Times reports, “believe that this is the first time that a city will allocate money specifically for abortions.”

              Who knew the City Council had such solicitude for Alabama? No need for it and other conservative states to reconsider expanding their laws against abortion. If they don’t want to allow — never mind pay for — abortions, the New York City Council will be delighted to force its citizens to cover the cost, even, it seems, travel. The Council reckons our working stiffs don’t pay enough in taxes as it is. …

              Read The Whole Damned Thing.

      2. I used to take allergy shots. I had to buy my own hypodermics, which weren’t covered by my insurance.

        They weren’t all that expensive, but it chapped my ass that I had to pay for them while the county health clinic gave them to druggies for free. (so I paid for theirs too)

    3. Oh, yeah. Most of my depression was due to galloping hypothyroidism. Also symptoms of dementia, like forgetting EVERYTHING.
      That is why the singulair took me by surprise. i was looking in the wrong place.

      1. Hypothyroidism really messes with the mind — and the feeling like you’re never going to be well again, that you’ll never have enough energy again, can be the worst part because of the despair it induces.

        I spent most of last winter sick, and I was pretty sure it was hypothyroid because my dad said I looked just like my mom did right before she was diagnosed. But by the time I finally worked my way through the medical mouse maze to someone who could actually write me the scrip I needed, I was beaten down so flat I was starting to believe this was just the way things would be. I’m still not sure how I got through the one comic convention where I was so exhausted I could barely put one foot in front of the other, and still had to unload, set up, sell, pack, tear down and load out — and was getting a talking to from the dockmaster about taking so much time getting in and out, because I didn’t look sick.

        And then I got to the endocrinologist, who looked at me, looked at my test results and family history (mother and grandmother both hypothyroid), and wrote me the scrip that day. I took my first pill the next morning, and by the following day I was up at the storage unit working on merchandise for our next convention. Maybe not as fast or as productive as I’d been last year, but still able to make progress on something that needed doing. And it felt so good that my spirits started lifting, even if I was still weak and my joints still hurt.

        After two months of treatment, my strength is mostly back, although I still have some trouble with stiffness and soreness in my joints (which seems to get worse with cold, rainy weather). And I’m trying to get back to the projects I was supposed to be doing over the winter, when I was so weak and tired I could barely even manage to read. I’ve been very careful to make sure I get my thyroid pill every day, and when we’re preparing for a trip, I count my pills and make sure to get a refill if I need it, because I do not want to go Back There.

        1. I think it takes a while to “come back” after you start the therapy. The wife has been on her current dosage for about two and a half years (it was too low when first prescribed, didn’t bring up the levels to “normal”).

          Try to take major things one at a time. She went gangbusters on the weight last year (and is doing very well at it, unlike myself, sigh…) – this year, she’s adding several new certifications for exceptional education. (Which means that come August, she’s be running about seventy hours total or more a week. Hopefully there will not be enough energy left to wrangle with me over the specific methods of doing housework when I take it over again.)

        2. I think my dosage is still low/low again. I need to have tests. But yeah, for years I couldn’t write because the energy wasn’t there, and I was always sick.

          1. Looking back, I think the problem may have started a year or more before the symptoms became so bad it was obvious I was sick, but I missed the signs because a. I was going through menopause and b. I was mourning my mother (and when you’re dealing with the Long Goodbye, mourning often starts before the actual physical death, as bits and pieces of your loved one slip away).

            It’s possible that my dose will need to be adjusted at some time, but right now my endocrinologist is satisfied with the numbers on my two-month followup test and wants me to stay on the same dose. She may have new instructions when I go in for my appointment next month, but for now I’ll work on increasing strength and flexibility through exercise, and push myself to move faster, both physically and on mental tasks.

            And the past few days I’ve finally been able to write actual narrative prose that doesn’t stink. Back in January my efforts had been so flat and lifeless that I went to just making notes on whatever ideas I could come up with, whether they were just descriptions of settings or attempts to actually outline a scene to be written. It was writing, after a fashion, but it sure wasn’t much.

            1. You know, on the hypothyroidism, mine was VERY SLOW and over 20 years. Brain fog settled in firmly around 2001 but it got worse every year. At the end of it I couldn’t read anything longer than a short story.
              Problem is, mine is auto-immune. That is, I produce enough precursor, but my body produces only RT3. All my doctors — who noticed I looked and sounded floridly hypothyroidal — tested only the precursors, so… they kept telling I was normal.

            2. FWIW, our endo says most people need to change their dosage in spring(ish) and fall. I go up for winter, down for summer. Our kid goes the other way. It’s the sort of thing where you can just skip one T4 dose a week to be at the new lower dose.

              Our family clue is migraines. If migraines are happening, something needs adjusting. Reportedly other people stop sleeping well. There are probably other clues.

  13. Two things I’ve noticed about women on the pill-

    1)Women on the pill will tend to pick more androgynous, more “caring”, less masculine and male problem-solving men. They’ll date, then get married, then the woman goes off the pill so that they can have kids. The women will note that the man they are married to/having a baby with is “not the man I married!” and/or “he’s such an asshole and I don’t understand why I was with him!” And, after that, either divorce or counseling begins and lots of it…

    Most of the women I have dealt with, I can almost always tell that they are on the pill. And, for some of them, I can understand why (one girl, pretty much was told by her doctor when she was 17 or so that her choices were extremely messy, painful periods, the pill until menopause, or finding a guy to make sure she was always knocked up until menopause). The others…well, let’s just say that if I ever had a sufficient lapse of sanity to set up a dating website, “are you on hormonal birth control?” would be a question asked to women-and a sorting point for men to choose from.

    2)Related to the first, this drives men crazy because they’re trying to be the men that they thought was “the right kind of man.” The women that they’re attracted to? They don’t want that kind of Western-masculine men, the big guy that is loud and enthusiastic and forward and everything else. In the United States, they tend to run more towards gay men (the stories I can tell of Furry fandom…) and the aforementioned “androgynous” males.

    In Europe and England, this tends to be more the providence of the “Asian” (read “Pakistan, Middle East, Arabia”) males-they tend to be slighter than Western men, they tend to be more fiscally and emotionally affectionate, and they tend to be less “aggressive” in the Western sense. Then you read about some girl marrying or dating an “Asian” male, then she goes off the pill and the male decides it’s time to “educate” his new wife…

    1. The women that they’re attracted to? They don’t want that kind of Western-masculine men, the big guy that is loud and enthusiastic and forward and everything else.

      Of course, an aspect of being attracted to those women is that they are sexually available.

      Which may be part of why those groups which emphasize that sexual availability before marriage is exactly not what to look for have a much higher rate of successful marriages?

      1. Hm… you know, ignoring morality issues, sexual availability while deliberately sterile is the feminine biological version of a man’s one-night stand.

        Each one violates the biological promise of the reproductive act in humans.

    2. The other item is that in current world, flashy doesn’t equal strong. The guy that will protect, be courteous, and provide, isn’t the one with all the bling at the clubs but the one with his back to the wall watching. But, at least imo, we’ve empowered the flash and made style rule substance.

  14. Actually a very intriguing point regarding pets. Never really had an option personally but it does segue a bit into humanity where the persons supported in terms of breeding are the least responsible. The fighting dogs or ones buried under decades of purebred inbreeding remain while those like my Freya who wanted nothing other than comfort and attention are ends of line. Sadly I think some very similar effects are ongoing with humanity, where those in middle can’t afford kids, the top disdains them, and bottom/least able to pay is paid for em.

    1. . Never really had an option personally but it does segue a bit into humanity where the persons supported in terms of breeding are the least responsible

      Which leads directly to those who DID breed are irresponsible.

      Which leads to me pointing at the horde and saying “hey, kids! Lift your hands, back to me!” and titling it “read between the lines.”


      The folks who are responsible get no notice, unless folks are assuming they are irresponsible and are rude enough to say so in public.


      You’ve got a point on dogs, though. A lot of the dogs we met in El Paso should’ve been put down as health risks.

      Ever been STALKED by a Chihuahua cross? Ha ha ha. Very funny. Until you realize that he is actually trying to take out your ability to run…. AFTER you are snarling at yourself for being such an idiot that you won’t turn your back to a dog smaller than your cats.

      I tested it.

      Turned my back like someone going “it’s just a dumb little dog.”

      Did NOT hit any of hte little psychopaths, because when I heard them burning rubber, I turned back around. And Elf had insisted I take a .5×30 inch stick.

      1. You mean like the would be thief who discounted the “Chihuahua’s on patrol. Beware of the Chihuahua’s.” sign? Then tried to sue the homeowner when the Chihuahua’s, uh “chewed him up.” Then the judge laughed him out of court when it was dismissed. He admitted the sign was there, had read it, and dismissed it, because Chihuahua’s are what <10#s. Not that he had any choice. The responding emergency crew (police and paramedics) had the whole thing posted with the sign before the day was out.

        My dog is a Pom/Chi (mostly Chihuahua) mix. 20#s. Better believe she has manners and is held to them.

          1. While I was in high school, I worked in a pet store (mostly fish and birds), in a college town. We had a BIG tank in the back that we tossed the piranha in whenever a college student brought one (or more) in, trying to get rid of them (very popular fish for college age males).

            People would come in and gawk at them because of all the horror movie hype, then freak out when I stuck my arm in the tank and poked at the piranha. Turns out, piranhas are (in general) night feeders, and not the horrible monsters that people think they are. Never got bit, not even once. Disclaimer: This is NOT professional advice. If you stick your arm in a piranha tank and get bit (eaten, chewed, etc.), don’t cry to me. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. You take your chances just like I did, and you better bet I pulled my hand out quick any time one of those buzz saws of the fish world looked like it was getting uppity. LOL!

      2. My neighbors on two sides have yards with poorly socialized, aggressive dogs. They’ve made it under or over the fence before, and I was able to duck into the house before being bitten. And they’re the reason I carry a gun while mowing my own freakin’ yard.

        Someday I’ll probably wind up shooting one of those dogs. I’m already angry that people don’t correct that kind of behavior in their pets to start with, and I’ll be twice as angry if I wind up having to shoot one to avoid being bitten. Because it won’t be the dog’s fault; they don’t know any better. Their owners do, and choose not to do anything.

        1. Years ago when my step-dad was still alive, and I was staying with him and my mother, we always thought the neighbor’s dogs were SCARY dangerous. My step-dad had serious trouble getting around (partially paralyzed). But one day, he was sitting on the back covered patio when a Florida thunderstorm whipped up, and one of those scary dogs jumped the fence. My Step-dad thought he was in serious trouble because there was no way he would make it into the house, but the dog slinked up onto the patio, whining, and put it’s head in his lap. Turns out, scary dogs were only violent when people got into THEIR yard, AND were terrified of thunder. After that, both dogs were much more friendly to us (less barking etc.).

          1. There is a cartoon going around on the SD FB sites. Shows a dog at leash length, strongly pulling the person handler, handler leaning back trying to hold back dog, dog standing barking/snarling/drooling like crazy at another dog who is just sitting there with handler (picture in head yet?) Leash dropped, in next frame, with all four looking at it, barker sitting, with a definite “uh, wait” look on face. Next frame, dog who was barking/snarling/drooling has picked up leash to give back to handler. Fourth frame repeat of first.

  15. There might very well be issues that make it unwise to turn birth control pills into OTC medication. But the problem is that it’s politically unsafe to investigate issues with birth control. The Dems won’t do it. And if Republicans were to suggest it, they’d be slammed again with charges of wanting to ban birth control.

    And any medical study results finding problems with the Pill would automatically be suspected by a good chunk of the population.

    So society as a whole has chosen to believe that there aren’t problems with the Pill. And when you have a medication that doesn’t have problems, then the logical thing to do is make it OTC.

    1. Unfortunately, the real problems with The Pill are its intended effects. How are they to be dispensed? Will they be next to the condoms in the drug store aisle? Will they be next to the Sudafed – a little card that you have to take to the counter along with your ID and your firstborn? Or will they be with the smokes?

      Because all of those have different implications for under-age girls and for guys. All sorts of sick reasons a guy might buy them (with implications for gals, in some instances).

    2. The problem as I see it is the fact that the pill is NOT a one-size fits all, they all act the same sort of thing.

      Case in point: when I was 26, I had emergency surgery as the result of an ovarian cyst that was blocking off a kidney (which resulted in horrific pain that was my first clue there was even a cyst there). They put me on bc to prevent it coming back–but because I was still a student at the time and had insurance “fondly” known as “student death”, I could *only* afford the ‘free’/cheap kind of pill.

      Which led to some wild, awful side effects. Mostly emotional (though I’ve heard horror stories about the physical side effects of some.) When I was crying uncontrollably over a COMMERCIAL (and not a sentimental one at that), I decided enough was enough and stopped taking it.

      Swing forward nine years later, and another cyst exploded (which resulted in back issues, to put it mildly), and they ended up removing a second the size of a friggin’ softball (as well as the poor abused ovary). Coupled with some other issues that resulted in a second, fairly major surgery, and I’m back on the pill.

      Only this time, it’s a definitely more expensive version. However–I don’t have emotional side effects. I don’t have ANY side effects to speak of. Other things I’ve dealt with since I hit puberty that have, almost from the start, been (apparently) longer, more protracted, and painful than they should have been now only have to be dealt with four times a year.

      I’m not taking the pill to avoid getting pregnant, I’m taking it to avoid serious health issues–and as I found out, the spendier, have-to-have-a-prescription for it version is, by far, the best form of it for me.

      I don’t want to be forced into taking an OTC version because my version was taken off the market because the govt decided to ‘force’ everything to be OTC. Generic crappy “birth control” pills ruin my life when I have to take them.

      (Without insurance, my prescription costs $126 for a 3 month supply. That’s actually not too bad, withal. And even when I was jobless or under-employed and without insurance, you’d better believe I found the money to continue getting the meds.)

      I think part of the ongoing problem with ‘the pill’ in social debate is that it’s still largely and exclusively viewed as contraception. And perhaps that is the majority use of it–but the truth many people don’t know or ingore is that there are a LOT of us on it not because we want consequence free sex but because if we’re not on it, we’re looking at major health issues that will end in either a hysterectomy or an early grave. :/

      As with all such meds, the reality is a lot more complicated and there are a LOT of cons…but still a lot of good. No easy solutions, sigh.

      1. As I understand the doctrine* “even” the Catholic Church accepts the Pill for medical necessity, which your description seems to fit.

        I know: people denouncing the Catholic Church without troubling themselves to understand the underlying principles? Shocking!

        *I am not a Catholic and do not pay one on line.

        1. You’re correct.

          Red’s treatment would be “hormone replacement therapy.” The doctrine doesn’t give a fig HOW the contraception is done, it’s the doing it that’s an issue.

        2. I didn’t know that about the Catholic Church’s stance–I’m glad they take that approach! I suspect my own religion has much the same views on it.

        3. The church approves it for other things. After last, nearly fatal (for me. Fatal for baby) miscarriage, I was strongly encouraged to go on contraception “for health reasons” during confession.
          No, I still didn’t. We were hoping for a second miracle. (#2son was the first.)

      2. And such is the depraved state of the world that the Obamacare required it to be free IF you weren’t taking it for a serious medical condition. You still had the co-pay if you are.

  16. I knew a dentist who prescribed an acne medication to his son and it was later found to cause suicidal thoughts and tendencies to far too many of those taking it.
    Sadly for him, not before his son was one of the many suicides.
    Prilosec, is my personal scare. causing anxiety and really messing up my mind when I tried to take it. Later, Zantac also started causing similar if lesser issues. I stopped bothering at all, and just using Tums, etc, as needed and diet changes, and gee, not much of a heartburn issue or reflux problem in my life any more.
    The Pill does some odd things too. My ex from way back was slightly less troubled after she stopped taking it. Considering how powerful some of the hormonal and physical changes it causes are, it’s hard to deny some mental changes are involved.

    1. Speaking of unexpected side effects- I regularly took papaya pills if I had any sort of indigestion or acid reflux. Sometimes a few times a week. No side effects from papaya that I’m aware of, and it works- for me. The unexpected side effect I’m talking about is from going on strict keto diet. Started March 23. Not even a hint since starting that I might need to take a papaya to calm things down in the digestive system.

      YMMV Everyone’s body is different.

      1. I’m not fully keto but I eat a higher protein diet and while not totally avoiding carbs, they are far lower now than I used to eat, also, I eat earlier in the day, and avoid say tomato foods etc after 5pm and only time I have heartburn or a reflux that wakes me at night, is when I don’t follow that (late pizza will do it) or if I am feeling ill and took some sort of medicine some time late in the day. I just drank some orange juice (summer light made me forget how late it is) so I’ll need a good bit of water to chase it so tonight there is nothing to worry about.

        1. I’m attempting keto mostly in support of my mother (who has been ordered onto it by her doctor), but also in the hopes that maybe I can finally get my years long, everything I ate caused it to flare up heartburn. I’m on medication for it right now that has helped a ton…but I’m not fond of being dependent on it.

          I think, though, once I’m in ketosis long enough to hopefully end the heartburn and lose a few pounds, I’ll just go low-carb. I don’t think I can quite face giving up my homemade baked goods (I’m a really good baker, dammit) for all time 😀

          I just have to learn moderation. Which probably means when I do bake stuff, I bring it into the office to share so it’s not sitting at home tempting me…

          1. Tell me about it. One of the things going in with the Big Remodel was to be a pizza oven. But it doesn’t look like I’ll ever be able to eat pizza again.

            1. “But it doesn’t look like I’ll ever be able to eat pizza again.”

              First it was the tomato sauce. Stress triggered it, but the acid in tomato sauce is what gets me now. Lite application is tolerable.

              Then it was the pizza bread …

              Between the two. I can’t have pizza either.

              1. I’m really lucky I don’t like pizza? But I make it for the boys, because it used to be a tradition on Saturday nights to eat pizza and watch a movie. (Boys includes Dan in this case.)

            2. I am intrigued by one of the ‘keto’ solutions for a pizza crust: you make it entirely out of cheese. (Ie, you make a big round of cheese, and bake it till it’s crispy.)

    2. I find little quite so depressing as the concept of taking medication to avoid depression. Thinking my “happiness” was a chemical creation would send me int the darkest of bogs.

      I am told that excess irritation is a symptom f insulin resistance (Type II Diabetes) and that really pisses me off.

      1. Eh, they aren’t happy pills.

        Ever wash a comforter? Imagine being trapped under that sopping wet, heavy blanket. Imagine being trapped under it for so long you’ve forgotten what it means to be warm and unburdened. It’s so heavy you can barely move; all your energy is sapped by trying to stay warm.

        Antidepressants don’t magically swap out that cold and heavy blanket with a warm fluffy one straight out of the dryer. They just take that cold wet one off you so that you can go warm up and improve your situation yourself.

        Or to use another analogy, they’re a net under a high wire performer. Sure, you’ll still screw up and fall, but they give you the resilience to get back up and try again.

        1. I’m in the middle of trying to figure out a working antidepressant prescription. My report on the last one: “I always feel like I’m walking on a greased pole over a pit. This last pill at least took the grease off.”

          1. Guard rails / help you think over the metaphorical voice calling you worthless from back of mind.

      2. Today I neglected to eat or drink for an excessively long period. When I finally got around to drinking some water, then got food, I felt a lot better. Still miserable, cause allergies, but I’ve taken some allergy meds, and that is abating some.

        Consider very severe bipolar. That’s often caused by a strong instability in brain chemistry. Chemical A isn’t very well regulated, builds up, causes weird activity, until the chemical a build up interferes with something that knocks production way down. Maybe nutrient depletion or something. Takes a while to recover from the stress, and chemical A is back into build up mode. One chemical extreme throws the thinking into delusions of immortality, another into convictions that life is futile or destructive. Throw in a constant level of a chemical that the brain recognizes as fitting into the complexly coupled feedbacks of brain chemistry, and you can shift the dynamics of the system enough to make the instability have lower range without causing too many other horrible side effects. If you are lucky.

        The sort of brain defect that psychiatric drugs should be used to treat ought to be considered more like extensive burn scarring on the face, or a hand mangled by machinery. That someone without the damage would be depressed by the costs of it, or the costs of mitigating it, does not change anything about the reality of having it, or the question of how one decides to go on.

      3. I got a call from a friend once. He was feeling depressed and was talking about trying to get some antidepressant meds.

        “So, your wife cleaned out the checking and savings accounts when she left, you can’t make this month’s mortage payment, you’re living on ramen until next payday, your car broke down, and you’re facing a hostile IRS audit next week. Have you considered you’re depressed because your life sucks?”

        Not every case of depression requires drugs…

        1. Yep. When the doctor tried to push an anti-depressant on me, I had just got SIXTY SEVEN REJECTIONS on all the short stories I had submitted. The same day, they all came back rejected. And I’d had a UTI that had dragged two weeks, while Dan had been working 18 hour days, and we only had a car, and I had two kids, 5 and 2 with me ALL DAY. The UTI meant I was almost not sleeping (And by the time I went in it was a kidney infection.)
          And it was my birthday. My husband, who is the BEST husband in the world, got out early to take me out to dinner on my bday and got us a babysitter, then took a look at my face and went “We’re going to emergicare.” Which is what we did, and how I spent the evening of my birthday. By the time the doctor saw me, not only was I feverish, sleep deprived and convinced I was the writer of NO future, but it was too late to grab any food in Colorado Springs. And we had to get home and free the babysitter, soon.
          If I hadn’t been depressed, I’d not have been HUMAN.

          1. Sarah, I went to my orthopedic surgeon for routine follow up about my neck issues (cervical fusion, C3 to T1) yesterday.. Because I am on pain prescriptions for long term neck pain, they required me to take a “depression screening questionnaire”.

            It was a 25 question multiple choice with no place for context explanation with such questions as “Have you had restless sleep in the past two weeks?”

            Let’s see, I’m in the process of calibrating a newly prescribed CPAP machine and I fell about two weeks ago and have a hairline fracture of the left shoulder (disclosed to doctor). What do you think?

            This isn’t a government requirement; it’s from their “private” liability carrier that won’t insure the doctors unless they enforce it. No one in that practice is a mental health professional; it would violate the rule about making a diagnosis without examining the patient. But now I have a record of “psychological evaluation” that the doctor and his insurance, my insurance, all my other physicians AND their staffs can access. I’m also looking forward to my next attempt to buy a gun anywhere other than the black market.

            Needless to say, I “displayed irritability” (another question) and insisted that they add a note to my record that this questionnaire was worthless and administered under duress. I also lied like a rug, of course.

            1. I’m also looking forward to my next attempt to buy a gun anywhere other than the black market.

              They made me do that for post-partum depression; legally, you have to be actually found to have an issue to screw with your background check.

      4. Not sure how much is joke, but for me it’s a matter of framing– you can have a day that would’ve been perfect, except you have a cold and feel miserable.

        Clinical depression is the same, but lasts longer.

      5. For those who have brain-chemistry created depression, frequently nothing else will help BUT anti-depressants. For all that the side effects can really suck for him, my father is a FAR more tolerable person on his pill than he is off of it. I don’t know if the pill numbs him like so many do–but I do now that his form of depression is vicious and relationship-destroying if he’s not taking medication to regulate it. It sucks, but that’s how it is. If ever I end up with the same form of depression, I’ll take the pill over acting horribly to everyone in my life and self-destructing.

        1. Once again life proves flippancy the enemy of clarity.

          I have known, intimately, a person experiencing clinical depression. I even have direct, ongoing experience of it in my own “lived experience.”

          You think my warped humour comes from some happy place?

          But if ever I were compelled to take pills to ward off (or limit the effects of) severe brain chemical depression I would find that necessity cause for actual, “life sucks Dr. Pangloss, I don’t care how you frame it” depression.

            1. It is normal for me.

              People who make jokes mocking “Deplorables” seem to find it off-putting.

          1. Fair enough. And I wasn’t irked and didn’t really think you were being flippant. 🙂

            Though I have encountered a LOT of folks who refuse to acknowledge that medication can ever in any way help–including one who was in the midst of some mental illness issues so deep she couldn’t keep a job. She felt like she should just be able to ‘fix it’ without any help and that was that. And the family has had to deal with dad on the couple of times he decided to go off HIS meds, heh. So that was also me coming from years of a certain level of frustration on that front.

            No worries!

  17. I think the preference for feminine men is strictly an upper-class phenomenon. Bikers are not known for lacking sexual companions, for instance.

    1. I would add that, being a sf writer, you may have a tendency to find scientific reasons for social phenomena, when in fact there is a political reason for it. If less men are masculine, it may be because neither political party speaks to masculine men. Democrats say, “Join us and you won’t have to serve in the military.” Republicans, OTOH, say they support the military, but they champion a sedate and self-castrating lifestyle that doesn’t appeal to masculine men. If there were, say, a right-wing analog to Antifa, it might very well attract men to a masculine lifestyle.

      1. No. Not looking for scientific reasons.
        This is one of my pet peeves. I’ve also been accused of “you write fantasy, so you see all these things that don’t exist.” by the left (usually while doing those things.)
        Good and long-term writers know how to compartmentalize.
        I’ve observed that preference over time and increasing over time. And it has nothing to do with government. Masculine men — obviously — still exist. Women just tend to prefer what I think Freer in a late night bull session called “Fast and flashy f*ckers.”

        1. “Fast and flashy f*ckers.”? Heh. That song’s been sung.

          I used to believe in the days I was pure
          And I was pure like you used to be
          My wonderful someone will come to me someday and then it will all depend on me
          If he’s a fine man, if he’s a rich man,
          Wears a fine cravat, smokes a cigar
          And if he’s gallant and treats me like a lady then I shall tell him

          Chin up high keep your powder dry
          Don’t relax or go too far.
          Look, the moon is gonna shine till dawn
          Keep the little rowboat crusing on and on
          You stay perpendicular
          Oh, you can’t just let a man walk over you
          Cold and dignified is what you are
          Such a whole lot of things can happen
          So firmly say but sweetly

          One day comes a man
          But what kind of a man
          Do you know why he does what he does
          He walked into my room and he hung up his hat
          And I just didn’t know where I was
          He was a lean man, he was a mean man
          He didn’t own a cravat, smoked no cigar
          And God knows he never made me feel a lady.
          Just wasn’t time for sorry
          Chin up high my chin was down
          My shoes and I relaxed, but far too far
          Oh, the way the moon kept shining on
          The night was nice for rowing and this girl was gone
          Not so perpendicular
          So you let a man just walk right over you
          Who said dignified is what you are
          Such a wonderful lot of terrible things did happen
          And now it’s you can tell me

      2. Similarly, a peeve on the science side:
        Conflating association with cause. I know Dems who were military. (Actually, I know folks who would believe AOC was totally main stream Dem who were military.)

        Also, a “scientific reason” is nonsense.

        Either the reason proposed after scientific study fits, or it does not.
        If it is a “scientific reason” has jack all to do with science. It does have influence in the thing called ‘scientism,’ which is glorified appeal to authority, and thus obviously different.


        Wrong place for the direct response, but part of why bikers don’t want for sexual partners is because they are well known to engage in sexual slavery.
        To the point that there are entire facebook memes that depend on knowing this, something like a tattoo artists going ‘no, honey, that tattoo means you belong to X biker gang, and you don’t want to.’

      3. Also, studies HAVE been done on this exact phenomenon. It isn’t just Sarah trying to make up a plausible story.

        In fact, I think you may be putting the cart before the horse. It is possible/likely that the political changes we have been observing are BECAUSE of the last thirty or forty years of mate selection pressure, and the effect it has had on culture. We may not always be able to isolate specific variables which give rise to specific effects, in a generalizablr manner, but we can make observational notes. That’s kind of the point of the post re: mucking about with biochemistry.

  18. What’s interesting is that there is a way to test if your child is actually ADHD—and it’s in giving them the med. If they calm down and are able to focus, it’s ADHD. If they get wired, they might still be able to focus (hence why so many kids wanted to take ritalin despite not needing it), but they’re not ADHD. I think the mechanism is something like a receptor that just keeps getting pinged, and the stimulant plugs it up so it doesn’t keep getting pinged.

    My daughter has Adderall, but we only use it for school and on the lowest dose. And she’s not getting it at all this summer, so we’ll see if she suddenly starts growing or her appetite gets huge.

    One thing that I did see pointed out that explains a lot about ADHD is that there can be a subtle emotional regulation delay—as in, up to three years of impulse control behind. That really fits with some of the weird impulses she’s acted out, which are more suitable to a younger child. Ah well, she’ll catch up eventually.

    1. There are also neurological tests. But here’s the thing, my son self-medicated with caffeine starting at 10. So I know he needs it. I also, between the hypothyroidism and the ADHD was at times up to three pots of coffee a day.

      1. Daughtorial Unit finds caffeine an effective and preferable means of medicating ADHD issue.

        Surprisingly for such a potent and effective drug it is available OTC without prescription.

        1. BTW – can anybody identify the person in that photo? There is some slight dispute in my household.

            1. Renner was one possibility considered, Steve McQueen after a bad night was another, but there was no idea when the picture might have been taken.

              1. What, they overlooked all the clues as to period?

                Sign, watch, shirt, mug.

                Mug. That’s either expensive, or the tech that went into it is potentially identifiable.

                I don’t know how to interpret the watch.

                That is is a colored t-shirt with a pocket. I could not tell you when we started making those, but I know it wasn’t the nineteenth century. That either dates to a time when those were made cheaply en masse, or was expensive and custom.

                The sign seems pretty clearly a final clue. That is a fairly professionally done sign, painted through stencils, probably from a brush. The colors are strong, and have not faded. The sign itself probably can’t be too old in the picture, and there’s a decent that cheaper methods have replaced that technique by now.

                Keeping in mind that I have near complete ignorance of the fifties, sixties, and seventies, if I had to guess I would say nineties.

                1. Such t-shirts were not uncommon by the Fifties and more than common by the late Sixties. The pocket was typically used to carry a pack of cigarettes, hence the dimensions.

                  The “Closed Set” sign indicates a movie or TV production stage — in either case, sign painters were as common as agents. I expect the font used would narrow it down quite a bit, but alas I am not an expert in sign fonts.

                  I expected a difficult search through many images of McQueen, at great personal sacrifice, but as I typed Steve McQueen Coffee into a DuckDuckGo search filter it started prompting me, yielding up this by the second click:

                  1. About four movies made in the eighties fit the costume, and would be about the right age.

                    1. Seventies, not eighties. Turns out that I’m a moron when I don’t take care of my self.

          1. That is the reason for adding a double or triple shot of espresso.

            I concede that after working third shift for ten years the only way coffee keeps me awake is through hydraulic action.

              1. I’ve seen the name but don’t really know who that is, but yes, my comment was more of a joke in the line of, “there’s too much blood in my caffeine stream”. I have actually heard of a guy who, on a dare, drank a cup of the concentrate that they add too ice cream to make it coffee-flavored, which resulted in a trip to the hospital, but they supposedly did manage to keep him from dying.

    2. *takes mental notes*

      My kids are inside of the normal functional range, but part of that is because I’ve picked up a lot of ideas of what they might lean towards without falling in and use “cheats” from it. For example, the Duchess needed a blanket when we went out in public for years. Not a comfort object, for a hiding place– she’d get over-stimulated (as kids do) and melt down. I was so proud when she figured out that when I put the blanket over her head, it helped, and she started asking for it before screaming.

      I can’t remember where I heard about the whole “quiet place” thing, I think it was here, but it massively helped her.

        1. My son has a tendency to withdraw when he gets overwhelmed. Worse when he was really little while in daycare. Became better into kindergarten, and on into grade school. But I credit the latter to on how we, daycare, his physician, and his kindergarten teacher (also his physician’s wife) handled it out of the gate. No medications, just how it was handled. That it (generally) did not involve meltdowns unless not allowed to safely withdraw from general activities (in daycare he was allowed to put himself into the corner, upon which a couple of his classmates would join him — yes, adorable. Not sure how his teachers through 2nd grade handled it, but it worked.)

          When over stimulation occurred where withdraw was not an option, he learned meltdowns weren’t an option either. Yes, there were a few instances of “No. Not having an argument with a toddler, and losing!” (Because that is the only type of argument that occurs with toddlers.) Followed by “He is not getting his way!”

    3. I still think it’s one of the best things my dad ever did for me when I was a kid when a doctor tried to diagnose me with ADHD, and tried to push my parents into putting me on drugs to control it, my dad told him where to go. Sure, it was tough sometimes figuring out how to control myself when I was a kid. BUT, I know people who were put on Ritalin at such a young age, and as adults many of them STILL have serious problems. Me? I’m not exactly normal, but I’m functional and in control of myself.

    4. A family I know has a son that has SEVERE ADD/ADHD (I forget which version). They keep him on the meds during school because otherwise he would fail everything, but as soon as they’re out for the summer they take him off them. I haven’t heard that they’re having issues, so one hopes that the meds are allowing him to cope while being off them in the summer helps him learn how to self-control, and that maybe someday he won’t need them in school, either.

      I was undiagnosed ADHD–but I had a mother who had it as well (we realized, years later, that we ticked every box on the ‘has it’ medical list). She taught me coping mechanisms, and I’m doing just fine. I multitask a lot, heh.

      1. Mostly it’s talking to adults who get diagnosed and try meds and suddenly feel like they’re not crazy for having a hard time with certain things that made me feel okay with meds for my daughter. And yeah, she only needs them to help focus when she’s at school.

  19. I finally found something to clear my sinuses. It was great to have a nose that actually had nasal passages and stuff. The bad part is that it revs the metabolism somewhat, which might have been nice in the winter but was annoying in the summer. So then you have to cool yourself down, too.

    The annoying thing is that it is a Chinese herbal medicine, bi yan pian. And that is way, way further into non-standard stuff than I ever wanted to go… But it has been a good twenty years of sinus trouble, so I am really in no position to complain about something, anything working. Even if it means using magnolia as an pill ingredient.

    1. Nasal irrigation did that for me, using a waterpik like device. ½ TSP baking soda, 1 TSP salt (non-iodized), and 1 TSP xylitol per pint of water. Using lukewarm, about body temperature water. Baking soda modifies pH to abut body pH, salt brings it to the saline balance in blood (sort of), and the xylitol is simply soothing, though it does kill viruses and germs. You can vary the recipe a little, but if you try doing it with plain water- IT HURTS!

      1. I have tried nasal irrigation of various kinds, and watched a lot of videos on the techniques. And every time I have tried it, no matter how careful about mixing and using and cleaning the equipment, I have given myself a sinus infection within a week. So yeah, I am That Guy.

        If you have ever used the Traditional Medicinals tea called Breathe Easy, you have had a little of the bi yan pian herbal mix. So if your head did not explode then, you are probably not allergic. (I don’t think most people are allergic to anti-inflammatory herbs, but check ingredients.)

        There are about five zillion different companies making this stuff. A lot of them are in China (and distrusted because of hinky factory fillers in the past at one major brand) and many are American. Plum Flower is Chinese but has a good rep. Guang Ci Tang is a Chinese – American co-production that seems to be okay. Dr. Shen is a good American brand. American brands tend to give their products goofy proprietary names like SinusEeze, so you have to check their websites to make sure what the Chinese name of the herbal mix is.

        If you have an Asian grocery or health food store near you, they may carry this stuff; otherwise you can get it from Amazon or other internet sources.

        Basically you either get a bottle of pressed herb powder and filler tablets (olive green or brown), or you get a bottle of “teapills” made out of herb powder and rice batter. The manufacturers will recommend you take the tablets with warm water, by which they really mean green tea. You are also.not supposed to take them on an empty stomach. They recommend you take various amounts various times, but everybody seems to experiment and use different amounts to find out what works. (I started by just taking one tablet to make sure nothing bad happened.) And like I say, it revs your metabolism a little, so you need to drink.water.

        The other thing is that there are related formulas for various slightly different patterns of conditions, that also include the active ingredients of magnolia and/or xanthium (aka cocklebur). So even though the website descriptions are weird, you might want to read them and decide if you really want something like Jade Windscreen (helps with respiratory stuff, against allergies) instead. I have not tried the other related stuff.

        I have had good results, that is all I can say. But my body seems to have a high tolerance for eating and drinking any herbal stuff (or indeed, most food and drink) that I am not allergic to. Be cautious.

      2. > nasal irrigation … plain water

        There has been at least one publicized case of someone acquiring an amoebic infection that way…I couldn’t tell from the story if it was one of the “raw water” people, though…

        1. Our well is too cold to support amoeba. Even on the midst of summer.

          If you’re on city water- amoeba shouldn’t be a problem. Key word there- shouldn’t. There have been cases of insufficient chlorination of lake water sources.

  20. I had this idea yesterday and I’m working on figuring out if there’s anything useful in it:

    Science has a major philosophical problem in that it focuses on what we know. Humans being what they are, that causes people to focus on the area under the streetlight, rather than the much larger darkness beyond. One result of this is the idea of “scientific government”, that if only smart enough people were in charge everything would be perfect. The fact that every attempt to put this idea into place results in widespread misery and mass graves simply means that the people in charge weren’t smart enough (that’s the core behind the often mocked “they didn’t do socialism right” meme). Perhaps instead of seeking to increase our knowledge, we should be trying to decrease our ignorance.

    1. the idea of ‘scientific government’, that if only smart enough people were in charge everything would be perfect.

      The “smart enough” people carefully avoid being in charge because they know things are not going to be perfect — and they’ll catch the blame.

      1. Since there are more smart people that really smart people (and dumb people outnumber both by orders of magnitude) I think we might need a epistemological framework that emphasizes how little we know.

        1. Wrongly weighing information known to humanity and information not known to humanity is a problem.

          Overestimating human capability generally and specifically are problems.

          I think other problem are what cause human systems to result in wildly different behavior from engineered physical systems.

          First, even if you are also, like me, The Smartest Man in The World (TM), you are outnumbered by a great many people who are not that much stupider than you, or who exceed you in certain respects. They can simply throw more man hours than you can at any system you design. Which means that they will find behaviors you never thought of. Yes, you could collaborate with a larger group of super smart experts, but by the time numbers stop working against you, you aren’t getting much egoboo, and a minarchist representative republic is more practical.

          Second, no human tyranny ever has infinite power over the insides of people’s heads. Given the first problem, people will figure out what information to falsify to optimize results for their own personal goals, and given the second problem can easily do so. If the information you currently have is of sufficient quality to run your scheme now, you can bet it won’t be after your scheme is implemented.

          Third is delays in information. This is partly studied in information science, and the theory of optimal controls. My intuition is that we can extend work in those fields, and more or less prove that some schemes are doomed to failure.

          Fourth is information losses due to distance.

          I also have an intuition that technocracy can be shown to be doomed because of human society’s complexity exceeding anything a human mind can comprehend. We build simplified models that we comprehend, that treat certain things as constant. But when we implement a scheme based on those simplified models, we may be sure to create incentives that tend to make the certain things vary.

  21. I’ve been on anti depressants most of my adult life and I go back and forth between not wanting to rock the boat and wishing I didn’t need the pills.

  22. I’ve written several times about the speed of evolution/adaptation. It’s a lot less than ten generations. Somewhere between 2, and eight, depending on the epigenetic role in it.

    Also, becoming pregnant on a hormone pill, given what they are learning about the cause of PCOS, is not terribly surprising.

  23. Read your post about singulair earlier, and realized that it was something I took every night. I have felt ‘brain foggy’ for some time now. I stopped taking it, and wow, the brain is working better. I am hoping it will enable me to write more than 125 words at a time.

  24. Revisiting old topic, the blokes at Power Line take note:

    The returns are in on Colorado’s decision to legalize marijuana: (1) Large amounts of money are being made thanks to legalization, privately and by the state; (2) “horrible things are happening to kids.”

    The quotation is from psychiatrist Libby Stuyt. She treats teens in southwestern Colorado and has studied the health effects of high-potency marijuana. Stuyt says: “I see increased problems with psychosis, with addiction, with suicide, with depression and anxiety” stemming from legalization in the state.


    Now, are we seeing these effects in Colorado. Libby Stuyt’s report from ground zero is bolstered by data. The Washington Post informs us that in the Denver area, visits to Children’s Hospital Colorado facilities for treatment of cyclic vomiting, paranoia, psychosis and other acute cannabis-related symptoms jumped to 777 in 2015, from 161 in 2005. The increase was most notable in the years following legalization of medical sales in 2009 and retail use in 2014.

    As a reward for jeopardizing the mental health of its young people, Colorado is bringing in large sums of tax revenue. According to the Washington Post, in 2018 $1.54 billion in sales produced $266 million in fees, licenses, and taxes. The marijuana industry made out like bandits too.


    1. To play a favorite Gaslight Media game: from 2005 to 201 there was a 482% increase in clinic admissions of kids for acute cannabis-related symptoms.

      1. Part of the second year is missing.

        Haven’t followed the link to Powerline, but the information quoted does not completely prove that the whole increase is due to children who would not have otherwise been using. I don’t believe families would move for that reason, but runaways might, and perhaps adult homeless are being treated at the children’s hospital?

        1. From 2005 to 2015. A nearly 500% increase in a decade … well, maybe it is eleven years, who knows?

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