Sunday, December 16, 2012

I'm Going to Miss Those Hallucinations

Years ago, ketamine was found to have an "instant antidepressant" effect -- even in depressed people who had failed to improve when taking conventional antidepressants. Ketamine caused improved moods within hours -- instead of several weeks with typical antidepressants. And the effect of just one dosage of ketamine lasted up to several weeks. The main problem with ketamine, for most people, is the hallucinations.

Recent US clinical Phase IIA trials of the drug GLYX-13 -- a drug with similar neurological effects as ketamine -- show encouraging results for treating depression. Similar to ketamine in effect, but without the hallucinations.
The Phase IIa results show that a single administration of GLYX-13 produced statistically significant reductions in depression scores in subjects who had failed treatment with one or more antidepressant agents. The reductions were evident within 24 hours and persisted for an average of seven days. Importantly, the effect size, a measure of the magnitude of the drug's antidepressant efficacy, observed at 24 hours and at seven days after a single administration of GLYX-13, was nearly double the effect size seen with most other antidepressant drugs after 4-6 weeks of repeated dosing.

In the Phase IIa trial, GLYX-13 was well tolerated. Reported side effects were mild to moderate and were consistent with those observed in subjects receiving placebo. Consistent with previous studies, GLYX-13 did not produce any of the schizophrenia-like psychotomimetic effects associated with other drugs that modulate the NMDA receptor. _News Medical Net
[satire on]

Ever since Al Fin discovered the rapid antidepressant effects of ketamine, he has insisted that all Al Fin blog writers whose postings start to trend too dark, must come in to the office for an injection of ketamine from the blog physician's assistant.

At first, I was troubled by the visions and hallucinations. But then I learned to control my dream destinations, and the persons and creatures I met.

Sure, they had to strap me down to the table for an hour or two. But it was worth it. What was the alternative? Write for Huffington Post? They are crap to write for, and Ariana is the cheapest of cheapskates -- not to mention totally loony.

After each injection, I could go weeks and weeks without turning to the dark side of writing. In many ways, I think I am a better writer for it, too. Ketamine is a much better alternative than electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), from everything I have read.

The hallucinations? My favorite one became a recurring vision with each injection. It involved a princess who would meet me outside her castle, and . . . Well it's my hallucination and you can't have it.

Neither will I be able to, either, once GLYX-13 is approved and on the market. Mr. Fin knows about the drug, so I am not revealing any secrets. He has already sent a memo to those of us who receive the treatments, advising us of his plans to change over to the new treatment, once it is legally available. All I can do is enjoy the hallucinations while they last.[satire off]

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Real Men Drink Beer; Zombies Don't

Surviving in the land of the living dead can ride on a hair-trigger. In the middle of a massed zombie attack, you need to have memorised a number of instant cues for distinguishing between zombies and real people. Beer-drinking is one of the most important such distinctions. In the aftermath of the great zombie apocalypse, very few commercial beer-makers will be around to sell their product. Sure, there is a record number of breweries operating in the US at this time. But after the zombies sweep through the landscape, those numbers will drop in a fateful manner.

Brewers can somehow sense the coming end of the world as they know it, and they are preparing a special brew to mark the occasion. And none too soon. Think of it as their swan song, for just before the deluge.

Fortunately, the trend in US beermaking is toward the "nano-brewery," just barely larger in production than an enthusiastic homebrewer. With enough craft nano-brewers surviving, we can be sure that the art of fine beer-crafting is likely to survive.

Anyway, if you see someone drinking beer, you can be fairly certain they are no zombie. Best to hold off on shooting him until you can better ascertain his true intentions.


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A Zombie Escape Vehicle Large Enough for Your Entire Neighborhood

This article is cross-posted from Al Fin blog

The Aeros rigid body airship zombie escape vehicle uses a novel buoyancy management system to provide the ability to carry up to 66 tons of freight or passengers, with a range of 3,000 nautical miles, and the ability to land and take off vertically from any flat surface. Cruising speed is 110 knots, with better fuel economy than other aircraft with heavy lift capability.

The company has built a half-size prototype, and is working with the US FAA on legal-technical-regulatory aspects of the craft before building a full-sized version.

If the vehicle operates to specifications, it would be an ideal method of building an "instant community" in the middle of nowhere. Such a capacity would be invaluable to militaries, as well as to survivalists, colonists, "new nation activists," and others who wished to be able to quickly install a sophisticated infrastructure in a remote location using pre-fabricated and pre-packaged materials and equipment. Example: Intershelter Popup Dome Shelters are lightweight and assume compact form for shipping.

The airship should also allow for fairly quick and massive relief and re-supply in disaster situations.

The commercial models will have a cruising speed of 110 knots over a range of 3000 nautical miles.

“It is the speed that the market and customers need,’’ he [Aeros CEO Igor Pasternak] says.

One of the keys to the new platform is its buoyancy management system. This allows the weight of the vehicle to be adjusted to suit conditions and operational needs. It is completely different from a "blimp" or something like the Hindenburg which needed a hitching post. With the Aeroscraft, there is a gas envelope above a freight chamber which reduces the buoyancy until the craft is 50 feet above the ground. Then you land it as you would a helicopter.

“The concept of the operation is absolutely new. When it comes in for a landing, say 100 feet or 50 feet and it touches the ground, at this moment you become heavier than air,’’ he says.

“From the structure stand point, all of us are familiar with the Hindenburg and Zeppelin designs, continues Pasternak. “This is different. We built a space frame that sits inside of the vehicle and around the frame we built a rigid cell. The function of the rigid cell is to have it work with the aerodynamic laws. It’s a very simple approach. _Gizmag
The video below provides a graphic animation of the Aeros buoyancy management system, which allows the craft to land and take off vertically, and to pick up and deliver up to 66 tons of cargo or passengers from most locations -- regardless of how far it is to the nearest airport.

The military applications are apt to catch on, if the craft can operate at high enough altitudes out of range of most ground fire. Remote piloting capability would also be an ideal feature for military use.

This is an airship buoyancy concept that has been thrown around at the Al Fin Aerospace Institute for a number of years, but the Institute is not likely to submit any prior claims to the idea. ;-)

Besides, when it comes to community scale zombie escape and evasion, we need to stick together for the sake of group survival.

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