Saturday, June 12, 2010

June 13, 2010

David Byrne on how architecture and music interact

As his career grew, David Byrne went from playing CBGB to Carnegie Hall. He asks: Does the venue make the music? From outdoor drumming to Wagnerian operas to arena rock, he explores how context has pushed musical innovation. Check it out.

David Byrne

Portable Parking Spot

Thursday, June 10, 2010

On my way to work...

I get to see a wonderful family. It is encouraging to know that they are doing well.

Morphine Remains Scarce for Pain Sufferers Worldwide

After the hospital sent Nguyen Van Dung home to die, his family watched helplessly as he wasted away from complications due to AIDS. And he did not go gently. "He was in such pain," says Dung's 73-year-old mother. "It was like seeing him on fire."

Haunted by his screams, Dung's sister bought him heroin to ease his pain. Street-grade heroin is hardly an ideal medical choice; it is also illegal. Last month, shortly after Dung's death, a judge in Nha Trang sentenced his sister to three years in prison. Drug possession — "for any reason," explained the judge — is against the law.

Whether you will have access to pain treatment depends largely upon where you live. Africa, which has most of the world's AIDS victims, is a painkiller wasteland. In India, more than a million cancer and AIDS sufferers die each year in extreme pain as cumbersome regulations and paperwork make it nearly impossible to get prescription painkillers. (India produces much of the world's legal opium, yet nearly all of it is exported to Western pharmaceutical companies.) In East Asia, where European colonial powers once used opiates to subdue much of the population of Indochina, governments retain an almost pathological aversion to opiates of any kind. The geography of pain relief is so skewed that the seven richest countries consume 84% of the world's supply of legal opiates, according to the International Narcotics Control Board, an independent agency that enforces U.N. conventions. For the estimated 10 million people who are suffering from untreated pain, relief is often found only on the black market, or in death.

The reason that most people have little or no access to morphine is opiophobia, says Dr. Eric Krakauer, a Harvard Medical School professor who helped Vietnam rewrite its medical-use opiate laws. Misinformation about clinical morphine use is rife; even some doctors believe that anyone using morphine will become a drug-crazed addict. While long-term opiate users will become dependant, the effect is reversible. Lost in the discussion, says Krakauer, are morphine's benefits, particularly to terminal patients with severe and chronic pain.

Read more:,8599,1993375,00.html#ixzz0qTXBwlD3


In ancient Greece (469 - 399 BC), Socrates was widely lauded for his wisdom.

One day the great philosopher came upon an acquaintance, who ran up to him excitedly and said, "Socrates, do you know what I just heard about one of your students?"

"Wait a moment," Socrates replied. "Before you tell me, I'd like you to pass a little test. It's called the Test of Three."

"Test of Three?"

"That's correct," Socrates continued. "Before you talk to me about my student let's take a moment to test what you're going to say. The first test is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?"

"No," the man replied, "actually I just heard about it."

"All right," said Socrates. "So you don't really know if it's true or not. Now let's try the second test, the test of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my student something good?"

"No, on the contrary..."

"So," Socrates continued, "you want to tell me something bad about him even though you're not certain it's true?"
The man shrugged, a little embarrassed.

Socrates continued, "You may still pass though because there is a third test - the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my student going to be useful to me?"

"No, not really..."

"Well," concluded Socrates, "if what you want to tell me is neither true nor good nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?"

The man was defeated and ashamed and said no more.

This is the reason Socrates was a great philosopher and held in such high esteem.