The Least Unlucky Bastard.

That was my choice of title when The Daily (“a first-of-its-kind daily national news publication built exclusively as an application for tablets and other emerging digital platforms”—who knew?) asked me to dig up FleshFest ’11 for another kick at the can — the difference being that I’d get paid for it this time around. Aimee Copeland has put necrotizing fasciitis onto the public radar with the kind of profile usually reserved for shark attacks. It appears to be on some kind of North American tour: it played South Carolina earlier this month, made a surprise appearance in Galveston just yesterday. The current frenzy seems to be a largely US phenomenon, but I remember a couple of other cases up here in the GTA over the past year or so. One ended in death; the other left its victim a quadruple amputee. And Aimee Copeland? The last I’d read, they might still be cutting pieces off of her.

Me? I got a sexy scar on my leg and something to talk about at parties. Not lucky, I wrote for The Daily; none of we flesh-eaten are lucky. But I’ve got to be the least unlucky bastard alive.

Which I thought would make a good title; barring that, I suggested “Vagina Boy”. But the title they went with was

I SURVIVED FLESH-EATING BACTERIA
One Man’s Near-Death Experience With The Disease Of Your Nightmares

which, okay, certainly gets the point across.

So check it out. Download the tablet edition if you can (for some reason all the italics got stripped from the web version — which dilutes the impact a bit — but I’m told they survived in the iPad iteration). It’s not precisely what I wrote (the occasional phrase has been turned by the editors here and there), but it’s pretty damn close. And at a buck a word, they could have rendered it in Sanskrit for all I care (turns out I can be bought). There are pictures, although most of you will have seen them before. There’s even a video; they webcammed me for twenty minutes as I rambled about everything from beers to base-pairs, then somehow managed to whittle it down to a tight minute-and-a-half that actually makes me look coherent. (Maybe a bit sensationalistic there at the end, but then again maybe that was just me.)

Anyway. There you go. Everything old is new again.

Moving on, here’s another title I’d have liked for the current Mind Meld over at SF Signal:

BLAMING THE VICTIM:
Why It’s Our Fault That Science Sucks

except it doesn’t really work because we’re not actually being victimized, except maybe by one scientist who (according to Neal Stephenson) attributes a perceived dearth of scientific innovation to a lack of sufficiently inspirational SF. (I myself might be more inclined to attribute that to the fact that science is increasingly funded by corporate interests rather than public ones, but whatever.) So the actual title they went with — Is SF Still the “Big Idea” Genre? — probably makes more sense, even if it isn’t quite so inflammatory.

Anyhow, my answer’s in there along with those of Alexis Latner, Allen Steele, Charlie Stross, Daniel Abraham, Maurizio Manzieri, and Alastair Reynolds. Have fun.

Now I have to go and hunt a poltergeist in the basement litter box. It only shows up in infrared.

This entry was written by Peter Watts , posted on Wednesday May 23 2012at 08:05 am , filed under public interface, writing news . Bookmark the permalink . Post a comment below or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

42 Responses to “The Least Unlucky Bastard.”

  1. A dollar a word…wow. Now *that’s* a piece of luck — and a
    great way to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. (heh)
    Kudos for a well-written (well-edited???) article on just one
    of today’s great bugaboos.

    “…a poltergeist in the basement litter box…” Time to break
    out the ol’ trailcam, yeah? I love those things; they’ve made
    liars out of so many pompous science types who are more
    interested in keeping their jobs than learning more about the
    many aspects of the natural world. But I digress. I predict
    that the alleged poltergeist will be a feline resident who
    became over-enthusiastic while covering up the evidence of its
    latest visit. If the culprit turns out to be BOG, I won’t be
    surprised, and I’ll have a giggle for him in support. Selah.

  2. You are still one of my favourite least unlucky bastards.

  3. I think they used an outdated author blurb for you. Haven’t you actually won a major award now?

  4. Peter Watts: Now I have to go and hunt a poltergeist in the basement litter box. It only shows up in infrared.

    Remember: don’t cross the streams. Or is that do cross the streams? Well, who you gonna call?

  5. Re: SFSignal – two things.

    Stross created the Death Knight and Githyanki? Holy shit! You learn something new every day.

    As with any big problem, there are always more than one reason, mostly pushing or pulling in one direction. If it wasn’t that way, it’d be balanced.

    Obviously, I agree with the idea that there is a ton of innovation being done, stuff that would blow our minds if it were mainstream knowledge, but it’s happening in the greedy labs of Globochem instead of the JPL and therefore is being held hostage in an undisclosed location awaiting patents, further improvements, the highest bidder and the market to unleash it on.

    In terms of looking inward, obviously there are a lot of scary implications for the religious-minded and those who like to use same for managing the herd. The mere idea that one day criminal sentences will be carried out with a mandatory prescription alone has some pretty hefty implications for that whole sin shebang. But as the hardcore have ignored every other thing that flies in the face of “How It Works”, I can’t see that any of that really holds a true threat to religion. It survived Darwin, it’ll survive that too.

    And obviously the publishing question is true. The “good, meaty stuff” does not get the circulation that the hardcore stuff does. As some dude with a funny mustache once said, “the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be.” That he was talking propaganda and not pop culture is trivial. They pretty much are the same. Distract people with lusty supernatural creatures and they may not notice you’ve cracked photosynthesis, cheeseburger-inducing cravings via wireless and other impulse-shopping, quantum computing, and who to vote for on American Idol (and by that I mean President).

    Anyway, I think Pete is on to something in that last paragraph in his interview. I look forward to whatever comes of that idea.

  6. Remind me to get you a “I survived Necrotizing Fasciitis and all I got was a Hugo Award” t-shirt the next time I’m in Toronto.

    Whoever:
    But as the hardcore have ignored every other thing that flies in the face of “How It Works”, I can’t see that any of that really holds a true threat to religion. It survived Darwin, it’ll survive that too.

    I suppose the only thing one can do with this kind of chronic condition is symptomatic treatment: minimize the damage, quarantine the infection to limit the spread to core functions (i.e. government policy, public schools…) and try to inoculate people early on with some injections of critical thinking and logic.

  7. @Whoever: all Charles Stross’ many accomplishments pale beside this: he was the first person to use a footnote on alt.fan.pratchett (here: http://www.lspace.org/fandom/afp/timelines/afp-timeline.html, 11 Aug 1992)

  8. It’s not about “big ideas.” What SF has always done, and still does, better than any other genre is to ask the Big Questions. And you can do that by designing Dyson Ringworlds or by hacking human wetware or about a million other ways between and beyond at either end. Like Babylon 5 said, its the questions that matter: “Who are you?” “What do you want?”

  9. I saw that continuing (and escalating) coverage about poor Ms Copeland and I was thinking to myself, it’s not going to take any newsroom staffer much more than five minutes on Google before they hit on Peter Watts. If I were you, and I were a patriot, I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to share information about the rather awesome resources lavished on you by the Canadian healthcare system. Then again, if you think it’s more about luck, and potentially about having been hit by a somewhat less virulent strain than is evidently present in the genuinely-nasty Talladega (sp?) River, feel free to sell it that way. I’m glad you’re getting paid but wish it was not somewhat resulting from a media frenzy over a more tragic case than yours.

    As for the idea that science isn’t doing so well because it’s not driven by inspirational science fiction… isn’t good science fiction supposed to be driven by science? Take that last Crichton novel to make it to film as an example. He took a pretty deep look at the state-of-art in understanding of quantum physics and churned out a SF novel in which there isn’t actual time-travel, merely a jump to an extremely parallel universe where it’s currently 500 years in the past. Has this somehow led to advances in physics that mean we still can’t travel faster than lightspeed in our universe, but we can evade causality paradox by jumping to extremely parallel universes in which it’s the same (so to speak) time but really really far away from the point in that universe occupied by the parallel Earth? Well, if so, I sure haven’t heard about it.

    I did hear this though, though it might be far more about politics and even moreso about engineering than it is about science: SpaceX got their launch vehicle up and it may even successfully rendezvous with the ISS. At long last, the dawning of the era of privatized and commercial access to Space.

    Congrats on the sale, Peter, hopefully this is the start of a turning of your luck.

  10. Nearly fatal Necrotizing fascitis + radical suction machines + ugly scar = terrorist attack + creation of new security department + civil liberty infringement. And as it happens, you’ve been on the butt end of both situations.I see a novel with a fine and over-arching metaphor that would also fit within your own fictional universe…

  11. Um. I just noticed something said here, in rather an understated way:

    [...] It appears to be on some kind of North American tour: it played South Carolina earlier this month, made a surprise appearance in Galveston just yesterday. [...]

    Peter, did you mean “it” referring to media coverage, one kind of epidemiology, or did you mean “it” as in the occurrence of outbreaks? Another kind of epidemiology? You, and probably several others who frequent this site probably have better subscriptions to the echelon of current reporting which is higher than the general-access MedLine. If it starts to look like there’s an expanding dispersal, increasing virulence, or some combination of both, I hope that anyone who is in the loop, so to speak, will pull the switch for the global fire-alarm — again, so to speak — should it seem appropriate. Because, frankly, there are serious shortages of antibiotics and other “not the most profitable” medications here, most notably the recent dearth of chemotherapy drugs. The margin above the standard reserve is quite small. If there’s a clear need to ramp up production on a “sovereign emergency decree” basis, it’s best to do it earlier and have the taxpayers footing the bill for an oversupply, rather than having all of the taxpayers be eaten alive due to under-supply. Probably this isn’t the proper forum for discussion of action as might be warranted, but an early heads-up even in the gin-joints is better than hearing about it late in the triage fields.

  12. Crusty SF writer gets eaten by bacteria; posts gross pictures on blog: tumbleweed, occasional fan goes ‘ewww’.

    Young, attractive blonde gets eaten by bacteria: national news + and ongoing media storm.

    Who’d a thunk it. Cynical? Moi?

  13. Dug up this DVice article from a few weeks ago. You can see what Stephenson means…this stuff is old:

    10 current technologies directly inspired by science fiction

    They include Verne and submarines but with the caveat that it was simply improved upon after his novel became popular. Wasn’t the original idea da Vinci? Wikipedia begins with Drebbel in the 1600s and only mentions helicopters and tanks in Leo’s entry.

  14. PrivateIron:
    I think they used an outdated author blurb for you.Haven’t you actually won a major award now?

    Yeah, depending on where you set the bar (and in which countries) I may have even won a few. Not a big deal, though.

    Thomas Hardman:
    Peter, did you mean “it” referring to media coverage, one kind of epidemiology, or did you mean “it” as in the occurrence of outbreaks? Another kind of epidemiology

    Nah, I was just talking about the coverage.

    Smoochie:
    Crusty SF writer gets eaten by bacteria; posts gross pictures on blog: tumbleweed, occasional fan goes ‘ewww’.

    Hey, you you calling “crusty”? Those cleared up years ago. I took penicillin.

  15. LOL congrats!

    As to science “lagging” due to not enough good scifi… This. Just this.

  16. Was about to post this (via Bakker). Sort of what Keeton’s mom might face if lawyers continue to rule the world. Contains a tragicomic reversal on 01′s real-sci link above about downloading to your brain. (What if you can’t afford the licensing fees?).

    LIFE (YouTube video)

  17. @Peter Watts: Thanks for the clarification. Some part of me dreads (the part that lives in the real world) and some part of me cheerfully anticipates (the part that likes good plot development and pacing) the initially-unnoticed but suddenly-all-too-inescapable Next Big Plague.

    Most people figure it’s going to be a super-flu, or something like the initial appearance of smallpox (IIRC this might have been the Plague of Justinian or perhaps that might have been the Plague of Athens, and that might have been chickenpox’s first appearance). Now, it would be bad enough to die wheezing of some superflu, or to die poxy, but if one had to choose a truly terrifying way to go, a global pandemic of really aggressive flesh-eating strep tops the short list. Yikes. I just had an idea for a truly horrid story plot of the sort that one Just Can’t Publish. Something to do with aliens preparing to terraform, and a couple million metric tonnes of transposonating agents.

    It seems to me that probably nobody’s swimming much in that river that was probably the source of Ms Copeland’s infection. If every river in the subtropics was destined to be like that in the near future, I’d say that right now would be the time to invest in whatever companies make chlorine or whatever they use nowadays at water-treatment plants.

  18. Whoever: LIFE (YouTube video)

    I believe Shakespeare came up with a solution to this little problem.

    Thomas Hardman: Yikes. I just had an idea for a truly horrid story plot of the sort that one Just Can’t Publish. Something to do with aliens preparing to terraform, and a couple million metric tonnes of transposonating agents.

    The Screwfly Solution meets Cabin Fever… yeah, I can see that working.

    Here’s a question though: say one of those mind controling parasites like Ophiocordyceps (the zombie ant one) managed to jump the species barrier to humans, what would that look like?

  19. @Bastien: Yikes. Um, at the risk of having ten million people all pile on me and call me a racist or somesuch, I have to admit that some 15 years ago, I posited that one of the strongest arguments for the US to be aggressive about controlling its southern border was to restrict unintentional-yet-clandestine importation of Taenia Solium. For more about that (the parasite, not my alleged racism), try google.

    This isn’t quite as mind-controlling as toxoplasma gondii, or at least I haven’t found any documentation that proves that there’s a link between Brainworm and an implacable desire to work in the food-service industry. Yet I’d imagine that cysticercosis of the brain might very well cause all sorts of odd behavior, strange thinking processes, and other things reasonably expected to result from a brain turned to swiss cheese. And it’s got to be hard to remove.

    Here’s some coverage, Fox news but actually in pretty far depth of detail. More generic but layman-level informative material abounds on the internet. However, I keep seeing the phrase on the symptoms list “altered mental status” and it doesn’t get very specific about that. So I had to make stuff up.

    As for how I would cover it as horror-SF: try here, but be advised that it’s unfinished and will probably remain so.

  20. Bastien: I believe Shakespeare came up with a solution to this little problem.

    Yeah, but you’d have to get them all at once, like Neo and Agent Smith.

    Here’s a question though: say one of those mind controling parasites like Ophiocordyceps (the zombie ant one) managed to jump the species barrier to humans, what would that look like?

    Probably like *The Happening.* That’s kind of what it was, I guess.

    BTW, if you haven’t seen it, the Bond franchise is taking a turn toward the brainwash it seems according to the first released trailer. Bond goes Lubin:

    Skyfall trailer (YouTube again).

  21. Perhaps being young (and attractive) gives a condition such as flesh-eating bacteria an image that the public will take more notice. Brazilian model, Mariana Bridi da Costa, gave necrotizing facitis “a face” in 2009. She lost her battle. We have had a few cases over the years in Hawaii, mostly children and they made the local news.

    Bacterial infections are scary. My mother had MERSA in 2010 before she passed away. The doctors wanted to amputate her legs in order give her a chance “to live”. But that was not an option she wanted. All I had was a near fatal case of Sepsis in October of 2011.

  22. MRSA is nothing to mess around with, especially since it seems to be primarily a disease of institutions. I know people who have had to deal with it after contracting it in high-school, probably in the locker room during gym class. It’s very expensive to deal with both in terms of treating the infection, and sterilizing surfaces from which it can spread.

    “NF” (necrotising fascitis) seems to come and go in the news. I recall first hearing about “flesh-eating strep” in the late 1980s or early 1990s, then it was mostly off of the media for some years, and I guess I had thought that they’d wiped it out. But recently I seem to see more about it in the media. Perhaps the prevalence is up or maybe the media are simply more likely to report it as it sells eyeballs to advertisers. Note follow-on coverage, not of Ms Copeland but of another person with NF landing in the same hospital as she was in. Presumably that’s because it’s the one facility best equipped to treat it. Otherwise, what are the odds of two NF cases in one hospital in one week?

    @Bastien, Whoever: See also the dinoflagellate Pfiesteria (a.k.a. “pfisteria” and “the cell from hell”). Wikipedia is being very cautious about the “pfiesteria toxin theory”, but I’ve seen several quotes from people working with the stuff who allege that there’s a toxin emitted which can have pretty severe effects on short-term and ultra-short-term memory. Fortunately the toxin is said to be extremely unstable and the effects are said to be not long-enduring. Of course that won’t help you much if you just can’t remember why you ought not to eat those sketchy looking fish you just caught out of the Pocomoke River…

    BTW in “the Happening”, it seems to parallel what can supposedly happen with long-term exposure to organophosphate pesticides. See also this study (Suicide in Australian pesticide-exposed workers. Occup Med (Lond) (2011)). I’ve seen elsewhere (can’t find it right now) that people recovering from acute exposure must be expected to possibly attempt suicide, with the attempts being less of the well-planned type and more of the spur-of-the-moment type, using whatever is at hand. So my guess is that there’s some sort of receptor there just waiting for the right molecule to latch on and stick there.

    We’re probably lucky that nobody’s published (and hopefully haven’t yet discovered) this. It’s bad enough having fairly widespread public knowledge about CCK4, the beta-carbolines, and other anxiogenics. I’d write another story about it but generally speaking, I’m presently sort of on the same page as Martin Cannon or Bruce Sterling when it comes to bringing up that subject, as it’s a nasty can of worms that attracts all sort of odd fish.

  23. “Least unlucky…”?

    I don’t know – you’re pretty unlucky. Legal troubles, pet loss, fraternal loss — and on top of all that you write science fiction.

  24. Yeah, but I’m not dead. And I’ve got all my limbs and digits. And I’m still running 9+ miles at a stretch. And I’ve got a sexy scar on my leg instead of a hideous monster-movie disfigurement on my face. And my balls didn’t rot off.

    Pretty damn lucky compared to most nec-fas victims.

  25. @Peter: And here I remember how you were asking how it was that such a notably tough and durable fellow as yourself could fall victim to NF.

    Well, you fell victim, but nowhere near as badly as might most folks. Thus you retain Sasquatch Bragging Rights.

  26. That’s a good point. Y’know, I always joke that the reason the human race survived and thrived as a species despite our obvious inferiority must be due to the fact that our natural predators must have found our odor and flavor very unappetizing.

    I wonder if bacteria have a flavor preference when it comes to human flesh…?

  27. Whoever: Yeah, but you’d have to get them all at once, like Neo and Agent Smith.

    Well no one said it would be easy.

    Thomas Hardman:
    So my guess is that there’s some sort of receptor there just waiting for the right molecule to latch on and stick there.

    We’re probably lucky that nobody’s published (and hopefully haven’t yet discovered) this. It’s bad enough having fairly widespread public knowledge about CCK4, the beta-carbolines, and other anxiogenics.

    Ah, better nightmares through chemistry. Speaking of which, remember BZ? Funny story: some guys coming back from their tour in Afghanistan told me there were rumors that some the insurgents were using the stuff… on themselves, to get psyched up for suicide attacks. Which probably wouldn’t work very well, seeing as how it’s an incapacitant and a REALLY nasty one at that.

  28. Bastien:

    Funny story: some guys coming back from their tour in Afghanistan told me there were rumors that some the insurgents were using the stuff… on themselves, to get psyched up for suicide attacks. Which probably wouldn’t work very well, seeing as how it’s an incapacitant and a REALLY nasty one at that.

    I don’t suppose your friends’ stories got published at all. Would love to read that in print.

  29. @Bastien: Oh yeah I remember BZ. Back in the days when MDMA wasn’t yet illegal, before the Designer Drugs Act of 1984, people were making close analogues to a lot of drugs that were quite illegal. One such was sold around town as “bromo mescaline”. It was in fact BZ/Ditran (itself not actually illegal at the time). The nicest thing I can say about it is “ick”.

    And BTW… we’re practically playing tag team here. Want my thoughts on how and why it might be better to have the troops use Salvinorum-A (salvia extract) if they were trying to psych themselves up for a little jihad? You could try here and here. Damn, I really need to finish that. ;)

    More seriously, there are reasons I want to STFU about crap like “the Fear”. Can you imagine, for example, that some hostiles get their hands on large supplies of ro15-4513 and embark upon jihad to uplift the souls of the infidels by making it impossible for them to get drunk on leave. Morale would plummet. The French would withdraw.

    Excuse me, though, I have to celebrate SpaceX and then get back to training the squirrels to travel in packs in search of cats upon whom to vent their Squirrelly Wrath.

  30. Whoever: I don’t suppose your friends’ stories got published at all. Would love to read that in print.

    Well, I checked: there’s a few fluff pieces here or there on the net, but there’s no confirmation. I think we can afford to be skeptical until something more solid comes up.

    Thomas Hardman: More seriously, there are reasons I want to STFU about crap like “the Fear”. Can you imagine, for example, that some hostiles get their hands on large supplies of ro15-4513 and embark upon jihad to uplift the souls of the infidels by making it impossible for them to get drunk on leave. Morale would plummet. The French would withdraw.

    Eh, I wouldn’t worry too much: If it’s on the internet then they already know about it. It’s far more cost effective to use standard ordinance than the chem warfare stuff due to availability and the lower expertise needed to use it, not to mention the logistics required to deploy something like that in an effective manner over a sizable population. It’s a scary thought, but not a highly probable outcome.

    Besides, considering some of the crap I saw when I was in Basic, dosing recruits with ro15-4513 before their first week-end leave might be considered a public service. ;)

  31. Aside — seen this one?
    http://reviewcanada.ca/essays/2011/05/01/our-own-ancient-mariner/

  32. Hank Roberts:
    Aside — seen this one?
    http://reviewcanada.ca/essays/2011/05/01/our-own-ancient-mariner/

    Wow, cool article about an interesting gent.

    I wonder, though, about the fiction-fact quilotient thing. Seems to me the article author is either suffering from a bit of chronocentrism (is that a word? Anyway, the delusion that NOW is superior to BACK THEN because it is now and we all want to believe things are better…now than they were back then) or not paying attention. There are so many lies these days in supposed non-fiction that it makes your head spin. I’d go as far as to say it’s more the rule than exception today. Seems as though it was largely a smear anyway. The success of, for example, reality TV and things like The Blair Witch Project (and the elephant in the room, professional wrestling) rely on some folks pretending or believing that it’s “true.” Seems to me the man started a trend that is back in style, not “overcome” somehow.

    But what do I know? Rarely follow trends.

  33. Thomas Hardman:

    We’re probably lucky that nobody’s published (and hopefully haven’t yet discovered) this. It’s bad enough having fairly widespread public knowledge about CCK4, the beta-carbolines, and other anxiogenics. I’d write another story about it but generally speaking, I’m presently sort of on the same page as Martin Cannon or Bruce Sterling when it comes to bringing up that subject, as it’s a nasty can of worms that attracts all sort of odd fish.

    Oh come on, anxiety-inducing chemicals sound like a load of fun. I need pharma to come up with a way to deliver them via aromatized candles :)

    P.S.:
    Did you know that antibiotic resistance and virulence oftentimes co-evolve and “keep truckin’ togetha”, because presence of resistance factors imposes costs that can be reliably “paid” by being a much bigger asshole of a bacterium ?

  34. 01: Oh come on, anxiety-inducing chemicals sound like a load of fun. I need pharma to come up with a way to deliver them via aromatized candles

    Imagine all the yoga classes and spas, complacent in their belief that they won’t be the center of chemically induced panicky freakouts! Brilliant!

  35. I think First means something more along the lines of “a romantic evening she won’t forget. Like, ever”. First kinda likes scaring his friends-with-benefits :)

    P.S.:
    “Darling, why are you wearing a gas mask?”
    “khhhummm no reason”

    ;)

  36. What can I say ? Fear is to me like icing on carrot cake.

  37. @01: Um, if you think Fear is the Spice of Life, perhaps sometime you might want to look into this “new form of LSD” which evidently makes people tear off their clothes… and then bite off people’s faces.

    This could become as weird as that rash of incidents back in the mid-1980s where people would get ahold of toot straight off of the plane from Bogata and then go psychotic. Not too surprising, but the interesting bit was the syndrome of stripping naked, and then running, screaming, right through the nearest closed glass patio doors.

  38. Well, stuff in the LSD league is definitely not something that would be useful in the context I was implying – way too unsafe (yeah, yeah, I know, I know ;) ). Now, something that more or less selectively “ups” fear would be a… curious thing to try.

    And now that you have pointed it out, can’t help but wonder why LSD indeed seems to be associated with stripping naked before doing psychotic shit.

  39. Well, if you’re going to do some psychotic shit, why not take your clothes off? Seems perfectly reasonable under the circumstances.

    01: Now, something that more or less selectively “ups” fear would bea… curious thing to try.

    Where’s Dr. Crane when you need him…

  40. Bastien:

    Where’s Dr. Crane when you need him…

    Probably trolling the world’s biggest furry, as usual…

    Bastien:
    Well, if you’re going to do some psychotic shit, why not take your clothes off? Seems perfectly reasonable under the circumstances.

    Why bother taking off clothes ?
    Heh, I guess I am too lazy to properly relate to psychotic individuals :)

  41. Re: psychosis and biting off people’s faces…

    Interesting bit on “ABC World News Tonight” w/ Diane Sawyer, regarding “bath salts”.

    Evidently these are designer drugs of the sort that pharmaceutical companies would make if they were in the business of turning people’s brains into zombie mush.

    It seems that some are a sort of chemical chimera of structures fitting the receptors for methamphetamine and cocaine. Some talking head of an MD declared that they flood the brain with dopamine like meth, and cause dopamine retention like cocaine. The results might be considered somewhat predictable: a whomping big case of Teh Batshit Crazy. See also Ghost Hunters Phase II.

  42. I do apologize for a late entry, and slightly off topic, other than that it has to do with the microbes that live in and on us. Including, of course, Flesh Eating Strep.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/a-closer-look-at-the-microbes-that-live-on-and-in-us-can-give-a-better-picture-of-our-health/2012/06/13/gJQAJORRaV_story.html

    “[...] For the first time, a consortium of scientists organized by the National Institutes of Health has fully mapped the microbial makeup of healthy humans. The data, in 16 papers published simultaneously Wednesday, will shed light on how the flora and fauna that occupy the human landscape shape its health. [...]“