Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Flesh-Eating Drugs Hit U.S., Russia

Calling all coke heads

You should really stop doing cocaine. Not because it's addictive, or anything, but because it's likely laced with levamisole, a veterinary drug used for de-worming livestock, and it will make your flesh rot off. A new report being published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology finds six patients who "developed purple-colored patches of necrotic skin on their ears, nose, cheeks and other parts of their body," apparently thanks to levamisole-cut coke. And, they say, that's just "the tip of the iceberg in a looming public health problem"!  
 According to the Department of Justice, some 70 percent of cocaine (most of it distributed in and around New York and L.A.) is cut with levamisole. We'd say, Who cares? Doesn't this just mean that every investment banker in New York will lose both ears? but our understanding is that i-bankers have moved on to Adderall and the ground-up finger bones of poor people. If you are in a bad rotting-flesh situation, we recommend switching drug dealers, which apparently worked for one patient the doctors wrote about in their report.

Meanwhile in Russia, the government and medical authorities are agitating against "krokodil" ("Крокодил" or "crocodile"), an insane newish opiate cooked by addicts in their kitchens out of "gasoline, paint thinner, hydrochloric acid, iodine and red phosphorous" plus the key ingredient, codeine. Why is it called "crocodile"? Why, because bursting blood vessels at the injection site (which can be anywhere on the body! Even the forehead!) turns the skin "greenish and scaly."  
"The average user," Time reports, "does not live longer than two or three years, and the few who manage to quit usually come away disfigured." Animal New York collected a few disgusting photos; they could be fake, but the Russian news film to the left is plenty gross and plenty real. (Don't watch it on a full stomach.)  
 As it is, there's not much the Russian government is currently doing to help, meaning that the care and treatment for the population of addicts—some 2.5 million total, with the number of krokdil addicts somewhere in the hundreds of thousands—lies largely with Russian Evangelical churches, which run some 500 rehab centers. A government meeting about the problem, Time writes, "has led to a meandering public debate" about the country's drug policies, but no real change yet.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Online Keywords that are being Monitored by the Government

The Department of Homeland Security has been forced to release a list of keywords and phrases it uses to monitor social networking sites and online media for signs of terrorist or other threats against the U.S.

The intriguing the list includes obvious choices such as 'attack', 'Al Qaeda', 'terrorism' and 'dirty bomb' alongside dozens of seemingly innocent words like 'pork', 'cloud', 'team' and 'Mexico'.

Released under a freedom of information request, the information sheds new light on how government analysts are instructed to patrol the internet searching for domestic and external threats.

The words are included in the department's 2011 'Analyst's Desktop Binder' used by workers at their National Operations Center which instructs workers to identify 'media reports that reflect adversely on DHS and response activities'.

Department chiefs were forced to release the manual following a House hearing over documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit which revealed how analysts monitor social networks and media organisations for comments that 'reflect adversely' on the government.

However they insisted the practice was aimed not at policing the internet for disparaging remarks about the government and signs of general dissent, but to provide awareness of any potential threats.

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