Re: And I've Been Awake Since Then

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you can image that it's *you* getting all that work done! and man, that must feel pretty good!

I wouldn't know, I comment on Unfogged.

No, never tried modafinil. Caffeine and whiskey, kiddo!


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:04 PM
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"to image"?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:09 PM
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Term from the wakefulness community, eb.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:11 PM
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I find can't-miss deadlines to be a pretty good non-chemical way to stimulate bursts of manic productivity.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:12 PM
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If I ever find a a desk setup that doesn't make my arms hurt, I would so like to try that. Right now I feel that the only preventing me from permanent injury is procrastination.

(Currently: Cheapo office chair with soft armrests, keyboard tray allowing right angles for arms. Wrist braces.)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:12 PM
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Fresh from reading that post today, I literally just did a half of one for the first time, a little under an hour ago. I expect to feel very productive in about another hour, give or take. So sez the person who got me one.

Never let it be said that Joe D isn't a man who can get things that need getting.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:15 PM
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Also, aren't these drugs as old as, and probably older, than that Saved by the Bell episode? Not that I've seen it.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:15 PM
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I would just love to have a cheap, compliant MD to allow me to try all the various anti-depressants, anti-ADD, etc. Since about October I've produced almost nothing but Unfogged comments. I have various projects I'm theoretically working on, but my efficiency is in the 5% range.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:16 PM
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Oh, the claim is that they do more than keep you awake.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:16 PM
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I take 100mg of provigil daily. It certainly keeps you awake; all it does it stimulate the sleep/wake center of the brain. You can still feel tired and unable to concentrate - you just won't feel sleepy.


Posted by: Mithras | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:18 PM
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(And I'll report back, of course. Probably whilst expounding brilliantly on fractals or the tragedy of man, or somesuch.)


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:18 PM
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I would be very tempted to try this. My productivity's gone up quite a bit since I quit my job (shocking, I know), but it's still not great. For example, I've done pretty much nothing today.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:18 PM
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I take 100mg of provigil daily.

Aha! Do the descriptions from Plotz and Hari (not just awake, but able to concentrate and work for much longer uninterrupted periods) true to your experience?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:20 PM
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We await your report, Joe D.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:21 PM
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The hunger thing is interesting. When I'm very productive, concentrating well, working steadily, etc. I don't feel hungry much. And that's without any chemical aid, except maybe caffeine, but not at coffee levels. Usually, I end drinking lots of water when I concentrate like that.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:24 PM
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I'm not a giant fan of modafinil. 10 is exactly right; it makes you not-sleep, but doesn't really do anything else. Now, if you're looking for some concentrated productivity juice, try Adderal (choice of college students everywhere!). That will make you work.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:25 PM
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I don't know about modinafil, but I can say without a doubt that the various ritalin derivatives will increase your productivity. Strattera does also, with the side effect of stopping you from continuing to call your crazy ex-girlfriend, but the productivity-enhancing aspect wears off after a while.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:26 PM
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So what's with Plotz and Hari having these nearly identical experiences of productivity?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:27 PM
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not just awake, but able to concentrate and work for much longer uninterrupted periods

Yes, outside of treating the condition it was prescribed to me for, I would say there is a noticeable benefit. However, if I didn't have that condition, I would not purchase modafinal unless insurance was paying for it, because it's pricey. You can get a similar bump in concentration from caffeine for much less cost.


Posted by: Mithras | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:28 PM
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Do these drugs make me want to work? I need something that does for boring tasks what the bottom of a beer mug does for people at bars.


Posted by: ed bowlinger | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:29 PM
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18: maybe it's a difference between taking it for a medical condition and just taking it.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:29 PM
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Well, it does make you not-sleep; if you're used to getting sleepy after a while, and you've heard about all these productivity enhancing effects, and you're not a big pharmaceutical user anyhow, I could imagine feeling like you were getting a giant effect out of almost totally psychosomatically, but any effect is really microscopic compared to the ADD drugs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:29 PM
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ADD drugs may be a better way to go. Here's a question: if we should legalize pot, should we also legalize (that is, remove the Rx requirement for purchasing) various prescription drugs?


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:30 PM
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@16 & 17-
Adderall and Ritalin hit the pleasure centers of your brain and can lead to resistance and addiction, of course. Since modafinal doesn't, there isn't that risk.


Posted by: Mithras | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:30 PM
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20: adderal.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:30 PM
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24: oh they definitely have abuse potential in a way that modafinil definitely, definitely doesn't. That's one of the few drugs that I've taken recreationally where I later said "wow, well that wasn't fun at all."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:31 PM
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I think closing your web browser is probably more conducive to getting more things done than taking a pill.


Posted by: Mithras | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:33 PM
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I think the idea is that we need a pill to help us close the web browser.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:33 PM
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24: I wondered about that. My doc claimed that the time release formulations (which are some pretty nifty drug-delivery technology) are not a serious addiction/abuse risk, unless you have a previous history of that sort of thing. He also claimed that you do get resistance, but only up to a point.

Side effects including "sudden cardiac death" was not very reassuring, but what the heck.

Strattera didn't have withdrawal symptoms, but if I forgot to take one or two, man did I feel like crap when I took one again.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:34 PM
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12: Don't feel bad; at least you've taken me to task.

Also, I'd never try such a drug for fear of getting something done.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:34 PM
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28: You'll just end up concentrating longer on all those sites you've been meaning to visit.


Posted by: Mithras | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:36 PM
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I think closing your web browser is probably more conducive to getting more things done than taking a pill.

What if what you're trying to get done is a blog?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:36 PM
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28: again, I've taken adderal when I had to write papers, and holy shit did it work. I have friends who've been prescribed it, and yup, taking it regularly works even more effectively. Aside from the abuse potential, that shit's like magic.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:36 PM
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Don't feel bad; at least you've taken me to task.

There was that, yes. Interesting role reversal, since what I usually do at your blog is get taken to task by others.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:37 PM
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Definitely more concentration. I just spontaneously helped my girlfriend compose a work email, organizing it into sections and subsections and dictating formatting and font.

Of course, I also smoked a bit. But I know how that feels.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:43 PM
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Sweet, Drymala can liveblog his drug use.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:44 PM
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I'm not on Modafinil yet, but that isn't to say I won't be in the future. I'm still in a trial phase with Methylphenidate (generic Ritalin) that I started a couple months ago (at age 37!). I definitely notice the Methylphenidate working -- it's like having a white noise generator in my brain blocking stimuli that would normally have me twitching and seeking distractions -- but I still have a problem kicking myself in the ass to get started with the day and take the pill in the first place.

I had to solve a sleep problem first in order to get the point of realizing I might really need Ritalin (or something like it) after all. And that sleep problem is still only barely managed. Last night was not good, so today my brain is worthless, drugs or no drugs. Yay insomnia!


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:47 PM
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34: See, you're growing. That's productive.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:47 PM
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WhoaMG, I need to try that stuff. My concentration has been shot to hell since having kids, and that Hari post almost made me want to weep.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:50 PM
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I want to know what it feels like at 10 times the recommended dosage. We're talking DRUGS hre, after all.

Not interesting:no feeling at all, cause you're dead.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:52 PM
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I'm sure there's some intelligent comment to be made about this, but all I can think is: want.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:53 PM
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I did 100mg, by the way. Don't know if that's a large/medium/small dose, but that's what we're working with.

I'm definitely not hungry, though. And it's dinnertime where I live. And I just got stoned, which usually makes me hungry indeed.

My brain is working wonderfully, though, people.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:55 PM
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40: really, really crappy. Not deadly, just really uncomfortable and boring in an "can I get off the bus, please?" kind of way.

Ritalin at ten times the dosage feels like Coke Fer Kids.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:56 PM
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Joe, like stoners everywhere, is mucking up the parameters of the experiment.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:57 PM
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all I can think is: want.

You should note that Plotz and Hari and another guy writing at Salon, all went off it, despite the great effects.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 5:59 PM
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Oh, also, ritalin and coffee are a bad combination, assuming you want to be able to sit still for more than five minutes at a time, or to be able to ride through traffic at less than 100 mph.

That was really weird and scary, in a "holy shit what am I doing" kind of way.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:02 PM
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Dude, my current productivity has been really good. Five days of that and I can probably write another chapter.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:02 PM
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I keep telling you people the great effects are psychosomatic or illusory, but do you believe me? No. It's like you don't trust my opinions on drugs, like I've never done any or something.

It hurts my feelings.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:02 PM
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ST has a point; I can't be sure how psychosomatic all this business is.


Posted by: Joe Drymala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:04 PM
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I'd imagine erowid has more testimonials, if that's what we're looking for.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:04 PM
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46: not that it was the same, but you're reminding me of when I used to take mini-thins (ephedrine) and drink a bunch of beer, when I was in college (the first time around): that combo has the very peculiar, and very specific, effect of making you feel 100% sober and of perfectly sound judgment when that is emphatically not the case. Shaving one's head, tearing things off the wall, all manner of petty criminality: of course it's a good idea!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:05 PM
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Don't tempt me, Sifu.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:05 PM
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Look, if I can take the stuff and get productive, I don't care if the effects are psychosomatic. Especially if I'm stoned.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:06 PM
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53: sure, yeah. More power to ya.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:08 PM
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And given that I am currently failing to work on my KILLER ROBOT, god knows I'd enjoy some productivity enhancers right now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:09 PM
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Yes, check erowid.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:09 PM
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I'd like to try it, because my organic sleep deprivation is kinda making me irritable.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:13 PM
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Paul Erdős apparently did almost all his work psychosomatically. I have suggested that his theorems be asterisked and reproven organic, without doping.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:17 PM
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Erowid has a testimonial from someone taking 1200mg a day and she doesn't sleep and gets a lot of work done and feels really fucking great all the time.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:21 PM
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I have a medical procedure tomorrow and will have to have anesthesia for the first time in my life. In an attempt to be comforting, the doctor told me that I won't remember anything even though I will feel as though I'm alert. This is the most perfectly UNreassuring thing I've ever heard. It's positively horrifying. Thanks a lot, not-comforting doc.


Posted by: Maggie Thatcher | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:31 PM
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feels really fucking great all the time.
then she'll get her Alzheimer in time
i don't understand why men need productivity enhancers, i feel productive when my estrogens are low
so men all must be productive all the time
but what do i know about all those drugs, never tried, never will perhaps
still i hope i'd learn something from this thread
how to enhance productivity like organically


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:36 PM
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I wish this had been available when I was in school. My biggest problem was falling asleep doing the readings.

As far as writing papers went, alcohol was the drug of choice. I'd sit down with a six pack, and by the time I was done, I'd have a philosophy paper.

(Unfortunately, this technique didn't work for the dissertation.)


Posted by: zadfrack | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:55 PM
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will have to have anesthesia for the first time in my life

I've been put under around a dozen times, Maggie, and anesthesia's not bad; no need to be concerned.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:57 PM
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Another vote for the awesome productivity-enhancing effects of Adderall and Ritalin. But Adderall has way less of a euphoric effect than Ritalin, and so is less prone to abuse. (I think that was the motivation behind its development, in part.)

For sheer fun times, though, nothing beats Dexedrine (sort of the granddaddy drug of this class). I believe this is Alameida's opinion as well.


Posted by: bizzah | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 6:58 PM
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Maggie, anesthesia is totally, totally non-scary. They give it to you, tell you "count backwards from ten," you think "oh jesus, that's lame, ten, nine, eight" and the next thing you knwo you're waking up saying "so when does the anesthetic kick in?"

You might puke afterwards though, which sucks.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:04 PM
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Re. productivity drugs, I know the feeling of "I wish I had this" but at this point in my life? I think it's sad that so many of us feel that. My vote is for just downsizing the American sense that one Must Be Constantly Working.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:07 PM
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You might puke afterwards though

Or not. I've never felt nauseated coming out of anesthesia. But B's right, it's the easiest thing in the world.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:08 PM
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re: 51

That's the classic Red Bull + vodka effect. Not good.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:08 PM
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63, 65: I appreciate the reassurance, but it's not that that I'm worried about. It's the not-remembering what happened to me, or (god forbid) what I said.

I avoid alcohol because I know I'd be a nasty drunk. The last thing I want to do is to viciously insult some poor medical staffer and not even know enough to apologize later. Also, I do actually want to understand the diagnosis/results.

Whatever. I know it's lame to whine about it given that our ancestors would have killed for anesthesia.


Posted by: Maggie Thatcher | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:10 PM
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American sense that one Must Be Constantly Working

Or, in this crowd, the sense that every once in a while one ought to do something besides hitting "refresh" and typing comments.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:14 PM
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68: aye. Way more so, though. And, no, not good.

You know what else isn't good? These freakin' motors. Run forwards and then backwards, damn you!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:16 PM
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viciously insult some poor medical staffer

Believe me, they've seen it all and think nothing of it. When I was in high school, a friend's mother was being wheeled out of surgery and back to her room by a football player-sized male nurse. As he wheeled her in she looked at her husband and said, "Jimmy, don't you let that nigger see me naked." Then lifted her gown and hollered "Woo hoo!"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:17 PM
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69: Anesthesia makes you *unconscious*. You won't be saying shit.

And if I'm wrong, and people do say stupid shit under anesthesia, then they've surely heard worse. In any case, it doesn't make you incompetent, coming out of it: I remember stuff.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:17 PM
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70: Unfogged is inescapable. I was googling for the exact lyrics to the Adrock/Ione line from the Beastie Boys track "Get It Together", for entirely work related reasons I might add, and one of the hits I got was on a blog that mentioned Bitch PhD. So why bother doing anything besides hitting refresh and typing comments?


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:18 PM
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74: We are legion!

That said, I seem to have cut down my Unfogged time simply by living somewhere nice and not having a job, which lets me get the fuck outside during the day a lot. It's awesome!


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:20 PM
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Since about October I've produced almost nothing but Unfogged comments. I have various projects I'm theoretically working on, but my efficiency is in the 5% range.

Hm, I am in this position as well. I blame Emerson.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:26 PM
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This "feel like you're awake but won't remember it" sounds like what they gave me when they took out my wisdom teeth, not full-fledged anesthesia. I don't think I said anything during the procedure, on account of the oral surgeon rooting around in my mouth the whole time. My husband does tell me I was "hilarious" on the car ride home, which I don't remember much of either, but he can't give any of the details--I think I was just spacey & blissed out. No big deal either way though--if it's sedation rather than general anesthetic it's even less of a big deal medically.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:26 PM
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(and I'm sure they'll make sure you're totally lucid when they explain the results).


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:28 PM
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Anesthesia makes you *unconscious*. You won't be saying shit

Right. I'm a little puzzled by what confusion there would be about that. It's the aftermath that can, for some, be a drag -- nausea, but again just for some, and there's no telling whether you might be one of those, if you've never been under.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:28 PM
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"less of a big deal medically" s/b "more fun"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:28 PM
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I'm often tired, and when I have a lot of energy I'm usually restless. I've never tried provigil, but I used to read forums where people discussed psych meds, and it was discussed a lot. Here's one guy's experience. If you take too much, it makes you feel bad, like you took a bunch of No-Doz. I just did a quick search and saw that one guy was purposefully not taking it on the weekends, because he only got 5.5 hours of sleep/ night on it, and he was tired. He needed to make sure that he slept some.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:31 PM
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I am a fan of better living through chemistry.

I am just praying that the increased dose of ablify kicks in fast for my daughter.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:31 PM
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My doc claimed that the time release formulations (which are some pretty nifty drug-delivery technology) are not a serious addiction/abuse risk, unless you have a previous history of that sort of thing. He also claimed that you do get resistance, but only up to a point.

This is what my doctor told me, and 15 years later, it still works and I can stop anytime I like. (And do, one or twice a year, take a "vacation" from productivity. You know, to read fun books, play video games, and all that other shit I can't do when I take my meds.)


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:35 PM
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Well yes, in some circumstances better living through chemistry is totally awesome. I mean, I take drugs too.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:35 PM
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Maggie, you'll be fine, of course. But I do think anesthesia is pretty freaky.

When my son was 6 months old, he had to have surgery, and they let me come in while they put him under, and when they put the mask over his face, of course he started crying (which they wanted him to do, they said he would take in more anesthesia more quickly that way, or something), and I'll never forget how his cries became more feeble and then just abruptly stopped. "Oh my God, they've just snuffed the life right out of him," I thought. But! not really, of course, and he was just fine.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:36 PM
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80: Eh, I was happy to get general anesthesia when I had my wisdom teeth out even though I had to pay more for it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:57 PM
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82: I am just praying that the increased dose of ablify kicks in fast for my daughter.

I didn't know that they were using that for autism. It's been approved for use in controlling mania in addition to its primary indication as an antipsychotic. Do they think that it helps with epilepsy?


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 7:59 PM
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I have a medical procedure tomorrow and will have to have anesthesia for the first time in my life. In an attempt to be comforting, the doctor told me that I won't remember anything even though I will feel as though I'm alert.

Earlier this year, that was me. They'll give you a nice sedation, and then they'll put you under. What the doc told me was that there's a period before and after you're officially not anaethestized (like, when they take the breathing tube out, if they put one in) where you're awake, but you won't remember a single thing. I expect I told the hot anaesthesiologist that he was really hot, because that's what I was thinking.

I found the weirdest part of the whole experience to wake up in recovery having absolutely no sense of whether any time had passed. Not that one is aware while one is asleep, but this just felt like I'd blacked out and lost an hour. The oxygen afterwards was fun. I was exhausted, but it was like my brain was all 'i haven't been this smart in years! whee!' so I was in a very good mood.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:03 PM
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That's it, I'm ordering a month's supply right now.

God bless the internet and its Mexican pharmacies. Prescriptions = fascism.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:08 PM
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Also, my anaesthesiologist called the pre-surgery relaxation cocktail a mojito, which was funny.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:09 PM
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It's called Alertec in Canada.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:10 PM
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The ablify is being used to try and stop her from beating the hell out of everyone.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:11 PM
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But Canada seems to still have prescriptions, and thus is still fascist.


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:11 PM
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"have" s/b "require"


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:12 PM
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Aw, will.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:12 PM
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Provigil is super pricy. My health plan is pretty stingy, so without a diagnosis of narcolepsy it's hard to get,. and you need prior authorization:

Any one of the following is considered criteria for coverage:

1. A diagnosis of narcolepsy
2. A diagnosis of attention deficit disorder and failure of at least two long-acting stimulants
3. Fatigue associated with multiple sclerosis and failure of one other stimulant or amantadine
4. Sleep apnea confirmed by sleep study and failure of a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device
5. Adjunctive treatment of depression and failure of one other stimulant


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:14 PM
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speaking of productivity...


Posted by: trapnel's conscience | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:16 PM
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Apparently the Mexican-internet route costs you about $115 for a month's supply (30 x 200mg).


Posted by: x. trapnel | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:18 PM
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I think that people buy adrafinil too which is a precursor to modafinil, but you'd have to order it from Europe.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:19 PM
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Wikipedia says that "Unlike modafinil, adrafinil is not classified as a controlled substance and does not fall under DEA jurisdiction; in particular, it is not illegal to possess without a prescription and can be imported privately by citizens."

I think that adrafinil is more likely to cause anxiety than modafanil and may elevate your liver enzymes.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:21 PM
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eh, tonight we were dancing to Bob Marley. So maybe we are back on the move toward happy days.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:21 PM
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Watching friends with scrips for Adderall, I'll echo Sifu. That stuff is magic, baby.

Early on in this office, there'd be busy times with basically unlimited overtime. A friend of mine on Adderall would put in like 20 hours at a time.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:23 PM
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30 100 mg tablets from drugstore.com cost $222.12; you know that it's more expensive at a bricks and mortar store.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:23 PM
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I'm going to say an assholish thing that I would never say to anyone, because it's so assholish, but here it is: Will, of all the people to have to deal with the difficulties of your daughter, I think she's pretty lucky she has you. Which sounds assholish because it's all "god doesn't give you anything you can't handle" dismissive-like, but is really meant just as a statement of how admirable it is that you're as generally optimistic and energetic as you seem to be.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:24 PM
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God grant us such assholes as 104.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:25 PM
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Shut up, you're going to ruin my reputation.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:28 PM
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105: You get God on the phone and all you ask him for is to grant us B? WE ALREADY HAD B.


Posted by: Hamilton-Lovecraft | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:29 PM
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oh, please. That is such bs. Everyone does what they have to do.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:29 PM
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See, Will understands that it's assholish.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:31 PM
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105: That we might lick them.

108: Except sometimes they don't. Which sucks.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:32 PM
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Nowhere near as awesome as the "Jimmy, don't you..." anecdote, but when I came out from under after getting my wisdom teeth removed I gave my dentist a big hug.

I was also sort of punchy and emotional afterwards. (I started weeping at the ineffectualness of my attempts to stop bleeding all over the place.)


Posted by: ixnaythemetier | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:34 PM
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108: They do, but they don't always do it with grace and good humor.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:36 PM
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108: It's like a rollercoaster. Once you're on it, there's nothing to do but throw up your hands and scream.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:43 PM
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You hear bad stuff about adderall, though. I had a friend who took it recreationally, and it made him go to sleep. For the euphoric feeling, I've heard that dexedrine is supposed to be good.

Modafanil seems like it would be nicer. I can imagine that I'd be awake and able to sit still and focus. I think that the amphetamines would give me too much energy.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:46 PM
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Rumor has it that Adderall is going to become an honor code violation here next year.

I've yet to try it because the last thing my BMI needs is amphetamines, but it sure is tempting.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:53 PM
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Anesthesia for kids is hard for the parents. At least it was hard for me; I cried for 10 minutes when I left the OR. Kid was fine after the scheduled minor surgery, of course.

For productivity, believing in the efficacy of additional effort really helps (i.e., no BS, someone is counting on this coming out right soon, not just a deadline, not just more scut work; or, I am uniquely placed to make this happen). Absent this belief, why swallow a pill?

So no firsthand report from this hypocritical caffeine junkie.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 8:53 PM
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Shit, in addition to being expensive it induces cytochrome P450 enzymes which means that it can interfere with birth control.

Also, be warned: adafranil can be imported; possessing modafanil without a prescription is a felony, since it's a schedule IV drug. It's not as controlled in Canada, but they can seize it at the border.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:00 PM
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There are many cytochrome P450 enzymes, and one individual's complement differs from another's. It's necessary to know which ones are involved, and it's a twisty maze of screwy kinetics and rare alleles. There was a problem with acetaminophen where for an unlucky ~2% of the population, drinking alcohol after maximal allowed tylenol consumption was fatal, discovered recently. Such effects in a fraction of the population are responsible for rejecting many otherwise-promising drug candidates.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:10 PM
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I sense not enough time being wasted. Here's a topical Jonathan Coulton song.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:29 PM
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I know that lw, and I didn't write the whole thing out, but it does seem to have been reported that it reducces the efficacy of HBC.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 9:34 PM
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You can still feel tired and unable to concentrate - you just won't feel sleepy.

This is precisely what sucks about using uppers as a major life crutch. What's needed isn't a drug that prevents you from sleeping, but a drug that counteracts the negative effects of not sleeping. Totally different.

A good friend of mine once took crystal meth. He described the effect as "realizing I had never been fully awake my entire life, until now". He got three months of work done in a day and a half, his wife read and extensively annotated ten chapters in her neuroscience textbook. But then 50 hours later, they were both suffering through total brain failure wide awake, desparately wishing they could sleep -- a living hell.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 05-15-08 11:08 PM
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I just read the Plotz article for the first time. I have tremendous respect for Plotz as a journalist, but I can attest that this statement

I've never smoked pot, much less taken cocaine or amphetamines
is a flat out falsehood.


Posted by: Seekrit commenter | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 6:36 AM
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About a year ago, I got a scrip for Provigil from my Dr. Feelgood, but I never filled it because of the expense.

In January, I started seeing a psychiatrist who believes that I suffer from adult ADHD. Since then, I started taking Concerta (similar to Adderal) in ever increasing doses. I'm up to 54mg a day now. The effect is sometimes not even noticeable, except when I don't take it, and I realize how tired and distractable I become.

In the beginning, I had hopes that the Concerta (combined with Paxil for depression and social anxiety) would be the magic wonder pill that would make me productive and overcome the chronic procrastination that threatened to derail my career. In reality, the effect has been more modest than that, though still positive.

More than anything, I notice the effects at home, where I can play games with my children for more than 5 minutes without feeling an irresistable urge to go do something else.

In general, I'm totally in favor of better living through chemistry, but my experience has been that the drugs were a little disappointing.


Posted by: Konrad Adenauer | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 6:59 AM
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Modafinil is in our screening set, but has never hit in any of our assays. That's a good thing, what you'd want to see for a drug with no side effects.
Adrafinil is only different by having one extra oxygen, but that oxygen makes it a metal chelator (hydroxamic acid) so I'd expect it to have more side effects.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:11 AM
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I had eight teeth pulled without general anesthesia. For one thing, I was worried that I would have a rare averse reaction and die without ever even knowing it. I'm one of those people who'd rather be there when it happened, I guess. Second, I worried that I'd do something embarrassing like shit my pants and they'd talk about me till I woke up, and then look at me pityingly, thinking to themselves something like "Of course he isn't responsible for what happened, but no one else has ever made us clean up that kind of mess." Or maybe I'd start shouting death threats.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:12 AM
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Such effects in a fraction of the population are responsible for rejecting many otherwise-promising drug candidates.

Sorry, but how often do you, knowingly and proactively, embrace a 1 in 50 shot at a prolonged and painful death? I've mixed acetominophen and alcohol often, since aspirin and ibuprofen are contraindicated with other shit I have to take, but I'd not seen this before I did, or I wouldn't have done.

Not saying that something like this should necessarily lead to drugs being abandoned, but once known it should be a lot better publicised.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:14 AM
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... die without ever even knowing it.

You know of a better way?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:16 AM
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I had eight teeth pulled without general anesthesia.

Holy crap! I never knew you were one of those manly men, John. You're almost tough enough to give birth to a child.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:21 AM
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126: acetaminophen's kind of hairy generally; oughtn't be taken with anything else that impacts the lever, lest the liver opt to fail.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:22 AM
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For sheer fun times, though, nothing beats Dexedrine (sort of the granddaddy drug of this class). I believe this is Alameida's opinion as well.

But that's just your bogstandard pub toilet speed, right?

Seriously; if you want to take amphetamines, bloody go ahead and do it, but what's with the pretending they came from your doctor? And taking psychiatric medications? Americans, eh. It was the best day's work anyone in Britain ever did when they banned direct-to-consumer medical ads.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:29 AM
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I had my wisdom teeth pulled at 45, one deeply impacted, so that it had to be cracked and extracted in about 3 pieces; I was amazed when the oral surgeon put his knee on my chest to pull. Going local was intense but safer and cheaper. A great many people, from my wife on out, were startled by my choice though.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:29 AM
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129. Yes, but if you're taking warfarin, it's the least lethal analgesic available, unless you want pure codeine, which has its own drawbacks.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:30 AM
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But that's just your bogstandard pub toilet speed, right?

It is, yeah. No question meth is in a whole other class, amphetamine-wise. Also general harmfulness-wise, but anyhow.

Ritalin isn't quite an amphetamine -- though Adderal is (if you buy it off-brand the vial says "Amphetamine Salts") -- it's more like cocaine junior. Very, very junior, but anyhow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:31 AM
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Oh yeah, and dentists (at least in the UK) have a terrible reputation for fucking up with general anaesthesia. Which is a GREAT reason not to have it.

When the tentacles come out and he starts the "is it safe? is it safe? is it safe?", anyway, you want to be conscious so you can leap through the window.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:32 AM
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pure codeine, which has its own drawbacks.

And its own benefits, needless to say.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:32 AM
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I don't think that I'm especially tough or resistent to pain. Maybe I just feel less pain from extractions than other people. I've suffered almost unbearably with burns and throbbing toothaches 5 or 6 times, but little injuries don't bother me much. I've had a total of about 20 extractions and five or ten root canals and have it down to routine. If it were possible to earn $200 or so by going to the dentist for people, I'd make my living that way.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:35 AM
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Ritalin isn't quite an amphetamine

Why can I imagine this on billboards? Relatedly, having had a) a hangover and b) a long and complex client conference call this morning, I have now consumed two entire cafetieres of very strong coffee, so I am constantly on the edge of the laughs.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:37 AM
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In Oregon there was a woman who died under general anesthesia for completely safe elective surgery. It was a real horror story -- the hospital was using industrial oxygen instead of medical oxygen to save money, and the tank was filled with nitrogen instead of oxygen. The money saved was on quality control. By the time the doctors noticed that the patient was blue and cooling down, it was too late. Not on the usual surgical watch list.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:39 AM
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It was the best day's work anyone in Britain ever did when they banned direct-to-consumer medical ads.

And it was a national shame when we started to allow them. This article says half of all Americans with health insurance are now on prescription medication.* It's impossible to disentangle how much of that is due to pharmaceutical advertising, but there's a reason that is a multi-billion-dollar industry.

*N.b. I have not looked at the study and don't know how much of this includes prescription birth control. The article refers to people with "chronic conditions" and discusses asthma, high blood pressure, various kind of mental illness, etc. I wouldn't call fertility a chronic condition but there's no telling how the insurance company that conducted the study characterized it.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:40 AM
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137 reminds me of a colleague who went to a meeting in Rome and filled and knocked back a half pint mug from the coffee dispenser without noticing that everybody else was drinking shots in teeny weeny cups.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:40 AM
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cafetieres

Does this mean coffee pot? As in, multiple cups/mugs of coffee? Google is not enlightening me.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:43 AM
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A type of coffee pot, of varying size. Standardly about 4 cups.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:45 AM
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I had eight teeth pulled without general anesthesia
i had two eye surgeries without general anesthesia
and the local did not work, it was awfully painful
other patients told me after they did not feel any pain, just some touching or itchy feeling
i must be too sensitive
so i remain cross-eyed coz needed three more operations to fix it
but it's ok coz i can look straight if i remember and when i do my friends tell me to look normal


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:45 AM
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I read that as a typo for "cafeterias" (no idea why, really), and the idea of consuming two cafeterias full of coffee struck me as not odd in the least.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:46 AM
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i had two eye surgeries without general anesthesia
and the local did not work, it was awfully painful

AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:46 AM
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Cafetieres.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:46 AM
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God, that article is depressing Witt. Especially the bizarrely passive "there is advertising...", like it floats out of the ether and makes people buy drug as opposed to being a specific legal decision made within my lifetime.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:47 AM
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I'm told 140 is the standard fate of Americans in Italy. My roommate told me about bringing his travel mug to the cafe every day and ordering 6 espresso shots to fill it.


Posted by: marichiweu | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:47 AM
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I've always called that a "pushpot," although I have no idea if that's a common usage or something lame of mine own. I can remember as a teenager being impressed by Michael Caine's using one, the first I'd ever seen, in The Ipcress File.


Posted by: I don't pay | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:49 AM
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The last time I was coming out of anesthesia, I tried to focus on becoming conscious by naming the Presidents in reverse order. Apparently, I snapped at the nurse who was trying to wake me up, saying "I'm trying to say the Presidents backwards!"


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:50 AM
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I can speak to psychosomatic effects. When I was 16 and at a smartkid competition, a friend gave me some supplements suggesting they would help my nervousness. I took them and started feeling in just the right mood: alert, ready, thinking hard. Rather like how on narcotics you might feel pain but don't care; I was still nervous but it wasn't affecting me. We destroyed the (local) competition.

These supplements were Vitamin C.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:53 AM
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142, 146: Thanks. In the meantime I found two English-to-American dictionaries, which are fun to browse, though not for this particular word. They both appear to be labors of love, so a bit on the ad-hoc side.

In the office we once had a bit of a misunderstanding over the "stationery cupboard," which I heard as "stationary cupboard," and goggled at my British colleague until we clarified that she meant the supply closet.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:54 AM
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I should point out, re: 140 and 148, that espresso actually has significantly less caffeine than regular coffee.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:55 AM
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Also, does anyone have some pointers for avoiding counterfeit / poor quality drugs online? Surely there's some accreditation somewhere.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 7:56 AM
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I take a bunch of drugs and other than birth control which I'm about to start, they're all psychiatric drugs.* I've never seen advertising for the brand-name drug. I worry somewhat more about advertising aimed at doctors and visits by drug representatives which does exist in the UK and does concern at least one GP blogger. One of the the things that I like about my doctor is that she generally recommends generics--especially for BC--and she's always willing to talk about research if I ask her, so I feel like she's actually evaluating the research herself rather than just relying on marketing. It helps that she's an attending at an academic teaching hospital, though that's no guarantee.

*propranolol isn't; it's a beta blocker that treats high blood pressure, but I was prescribed it for anxiety. Bonus: my PCP said that she would use it for the headaches I'd been having before I started taking it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:04 AM
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that would make me productive and overcome the chronic procrastination that threatened to derail my career.

I have this problem, although I chose to deal with it by changing my job to something more ADD-friendly rather than taking drugs. I wonder how many Unfogged commenters have some form of it. We're all indulging in the strongest drug of all.


Posted by: Willy Brandt | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:08 AM
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153- Suspicion confirmed. The nice bastards over at my neighborhood Starbucks keep telling me that the espresso shots are just as potent. Trust the perceived buzz.


Posted by: asl | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:13 AM
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153. True, but 8 espressos =/= less cafeine than 1 americano.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:14 AM
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On brief research, I'm only sort of correct.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:14 AM
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The general rule that darker roasts have less caffeine than lighter roasts does appear to hold up, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:15 AM
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Speaking of a little artificial help.... go bladerunner!


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:21 AM
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Aye, d^2.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:22 AM
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I have terrible ADD or something which puts me at about 5% efficiency, as I've said. I've been trying anti-depressents and they've been only slightly effective. Next is the ADD drugs.

Aging is part of it, and alcohol I suppose. I'm as smart as ever, but I have terrible trouble getting started and concentrating, and I have no staying power.

It doesn't impact my blog commenting at all. Indeed, blog comments are the primary symptom of my condition. Thank you, Unfogged!

Onion headline: "Prolific blog commenter finally finishes load of laundry after three weeks."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:24 AM
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The general rule that darker roasts have less caffeine than lighter roasts does appear to hold up, though.

Huh, I once watched a grand rounds presentation on the effects of caffeine. The doctor said that ordinary drip coffee has something like 60-84 mg of caffeine. A cup of Starbucks has more like 380mg, and when he gave the talk Starbucks was only selling dark roast coffee.

BTW, I had a cup of their new Pike Place Roast the other day, and it was pretty good.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:26 AM
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"Prolific blog commenter finally finishes load of laundry after three weeks."

I am looking forward to it, yes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:27 AM
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Aging is part of it, and alcohol I suppose. I'm as smart as ever, but I have terrible trouble getting started and concentrating, and I have no staying power.

This describes me, to the extent that I was ever smart. I blame it on boredom. Are you bored?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:29 AM
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Not bored. Lacking an IRL social context, though. Wobegon is not scintillating, though I was a hermit in PDX too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:31 AM
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It's more exciting to be a hermit when there's actually a social context to sullenly avoid.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:33 AM
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Aging is part of it, and alcohol I suppose. I'm as smart as ever, but I have terrible trouble getting started and concentrating, and I have no staying power

can we not talk about my sex life please?


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:38 AM
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Dsquared, you're married. Your sex life is of no interest to anyone. (Possibly it's of interest to you or to your wife, of course. Such cases have been known.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:52 AM
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It was a real horror story -- the hospital was using industrial oxygen instead of medical oxygen to save money, and the tank was filled with nitrogen instead of oxygen.

Qantas managed to do this not so long ago; despite the fact the connectors were different, they screwed on to the tank. The guy found the connectors didn't fit, so he unscrewed the special nitrogen connector and screwed on a spare oxygen connector he happened to have.

Conspiracy theory was that the incident had something to do with the act Qantas was then considering sending its aircraft to Singapore for maintenance to save money. Lesson: don't piss off the oxygen guy.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:58 AM
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that should of course read "fact".


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 8:59 AM
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Since this is the chemistry thread, I'll put my question here.

I was making a crème brûlé topping and laughing about the ratio of sugar to water to my honey, and then we both got stymied as to how it all actually worked on a molecular level. 2/3 cup of sugar, 1/4 cup of water, over medium heat becomes liquid. How?

(I could call my dad the chemist, but his explanations are long on condescending incomprehensibility and short on cock jokes.)


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:30 AM
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173: the sugar melts?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:34 AM
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Tell me more.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:35 AM
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Anesthesia makes you *unconscious*. You won't be saying shit.

I've had a fair number of surgeries due to sports injuries (numerous cracked bones, torn cartilage, slipped disc in the neck) and the thing is there are different types of anesthesia. Lately they've been tending more towards the "epidural plus awake but calm and no memory" thing which is fine with me. The "total knockout then morphine" thing required catheters for the next day and I NEVER EVER want that again.

I think I wrote a comment here a long time ago about my visit from "Sparky" the sterilization tool and I'd take a million of those before another catheter.

So I love me some "awake but loopy." Probably too much.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:35 AM
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Alternately it's possible that the sugar's actually dissolving, and the heating allows the water to become supersaturated with sugar.

Alternately alternately the relative mass of the sugar and the water means the actual ratio is not nearly so dramatic, so a relatively large volume of sugar is able to dissolve into a relatively small volume of water because the water is a much denser material than loose, granulated sugar.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:36 AM
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Alternately, it's magic.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:37 AM
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I used to remember this exactly, but it just comes down to sugar being incredibly soluble. Heat helps.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:42 AM
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Speaking of sugar and recipes, the Freshman brilliant writer but incredibly naive Sprog I retrieved Wednesday told me something that happened in his dining hall. He works part time food service for spending money and apparently they've moved him up to mixing some recipes now. wow.

So he was mixing a huge vat of cookie dough or something and the recipe called for 9 C of sugar and logically he put in 9 Quarts of sugar because "Quarts" starts with a "C," right?

Yeah, I know. He's the one who INSISTS on taking no advice and learning everything for himself.

Yeah, I know.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:43 AM
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Alternately it's possible that the sugar's actually dissolving, and the heating allows the water to become supersaturated with sugar.

This sounds most right. So would the sugar molecule be really, really eager to go bond with water then?

(Some 4000 miles away my father feels a sudden need to hold his head in his hands and cry.)


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:45 AM
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Well, sugar can melt with no water. Think cotton candy.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:45 AM
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So would the sugar molecule be really, really eager to go bond with water then?

Sugar is very hydrophilic. At high enough concentrations it acts as a preservative by tieing up water making it unavailable to micro-organisms.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:48 AM
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181: it's not that it's bonding with the water. It's that it's dissolving in the water. The supersaturated solution of sugar and water is a relatively stable one, but given time the sugar would precipitate out -- that's how you make rock candy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:49 AM
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But cotton candy is a really particular case, what with all the heat and whipping around and not allowing the sugar to form the big-ass rock-candy crystals that it would surely want to do! Right?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:49 AM
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Probably sugar can cure rabies. Someone should be working on that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:49 AM
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181: Yup. It's a lot more eager than salt. (For some reason my memory is throwing up 180g vs. 35g, but I don't remember how much water was involved. A liter, maybe?)


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:50 AM
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183 and 184 appear to contradict each other.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:50 AM
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188: it's not bonding in the chemical sense.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:52 AM
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185: caramel would be the canonical result when you melt sugar.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:53 AM
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I think that caramel is scorched from being melted too hot.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:54 AM
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Right, okay. I remember that now. God, I wish I'd been more interested in chemistry in HS. Maybe there should have been a chemistry/home ec. course, so I could've learned to cook before those unfortunate anorexic-out-of-incompetance years.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:55 AM
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IME the ADD drugs do enhance productivity if your tasks are relatively straightforward. However, if you don't know exactly how to proceed, expect to find yourself enthusiastically running down one blind alley after another. Lateral thinking doesn't seem to fare well.

I pride myself on my ability to stay relatively lucid and self-aware on a wide variety of drugs, but the one time I had general anesthesia it just knocked my brain out from under me. One second I was being wheeled into the OR counting down from ten, the next I was being wheeled into the recovery room hearing myself say "That was some juice you gave me," referring to the cocktail.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:55 AM
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185:

Yeah, fresh cotton candy is special. As other said, the sugar would really really like to bond with water and crystalize, so even the humidity in the air will cause it to crystalize and go, well, not bad, but change.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:57 AM
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193: I think that's exactly right on the ADD drugs; my thinking tends to be highly lateral, but when on ADD drugs I'm able to see a theme or single task through to completion.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:58 AM
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You don't get caramel by accident, Tweety-bird. No way. If you heat sugar by itself you get blackened rock and a ruined pan. Caramel is the result of carefully controlling the heating of sugar and water (and other additives). There are all kinds of cooking rules about how and whether you're allowed to stir the sugar-water mixture.

It's complicated enough and tricksy enough that I begged for a copper-bottomed pot for Christmas specifically for caramel-type things. Didn't get it: my dad the micro-managing chemist did a little research and determined that the copper wouldn't make enough difference to justify the cost. Punk.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 9:59 AM
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However, if you don't know exactly how to proceed, expect to find yourself enthusiastically running down one blind alley after another.

This kind of describes grad school. But! I could run down those blind alleys faster!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 10:00 AM
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Didn't get it: my dad the micro-managing chemist did a little research and determined that the copper wouldn't make enough difference to justify the cost. Punk.

I'm not much of a cook but there is something to the need for even heating, right? Besides, you don't get people what is practical, or what you want to give, you get them what they want.

Also in a pinch you can sell the copper as scrap for big money.


Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 10:05 AM
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192: It's not too late, JM. Harold McGee's On Food and Cooking is all about that kind of stuff.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 10:07 AM
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If you heat sugar by itself you get blackened rock and a ruined pan.

Sure but if you heat sugar on its own in a controlled fashion (in a double boiler or whatever) you will eventually end up with melted sugar. Was my only point.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 10:08 AM
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you don't get people what is practical, or what you want to give, you get them what they want.

Ho ho ho. Yeah right.

There is some question about whether copper is necessary in this age of multiple-layer aluminum-steel super-space-age pots.

199.---I asked for that for my birthday a couple of times. It somehow failed to materialise. Maybe I need to take a shopping trip for myself.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 10:14 AM
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Some of my most interesting stuff was found down blind alleys. They're not all blind.

JM, it's time for you to quit relying on others for your pots.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 10:50 AM
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Pot-independence should be your goal for this year.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 10:58 AM
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Girls dependent on their fathers for pots often have problems relating to men.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 11:10 AM
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Re. John's manliness, novocaine /= general anesthesia. I remain unimpressed.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 11:27 AM
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Don't get your point. I turned down the general anesthesia I was offered, not novocaine. That's what I said. No pain except the needles, but something like a half an hour of pulling. And two days of pain killers.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 11:58 AM
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Have you seen the price of copper-bottom pots, John?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 12:08 PM
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I'm not buying you one, lady. That's all men are to you women, potential copper-bottom pot givers. This must be your Canadian potlatch gene. I suppose you want stacks of blankets too. And beads.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 2:00 PM
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The melting point of table sugar is 186 C (~360 F), so a double boiler won't come anywhere close.

Also, it's just solubility; water can dissolve up to 5 times its weight in sugar at elevated temperatures (but at lower temperatures it will crystallize back out).


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 2:38 PM
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Also, I had wisdom teeth removed under only novocaine before. Though painless, it was a markedly unpleasant experience. Much more unpleasant than the experience of coming out of general anesthesia, which was what I was trying to avoid.


Posted by: F | Link to this comment | 05-16-08 2:39 PM
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I've taken modafinil, doesn't do much but I found there was a productivity enhancement in getting basic tasks out of the way, an increased ability to focus on the boring and mundane, there wasn't any productivity gain in doing things that required thought, other than that you could keep going. Basically I found I could function doing the full night of working on a problem, getting the problem fixed, taking some more modafinil, and then performing fine at work. But not the extremes of productivity that is generally noted.

My girlfriend tried it and basically had to sleep, but she is naturally able to go without sleep or very little sleep for long periods of time.

For approximately the same level of productivity I take adrafinil. Weaker, but cheaper. Generally useful for going til 2 in the morning, waking up at 5 and going on.

I tend to mix it with piracetam, or to take adrafinil and then piracetam during the day if I've spent a long night working.

one irritating thing is that when I take it, due to the ability to focus and the tendency to only do it for pressing problems, I spend longer in one position. maybe just laying on the couch and working all night. I always think I'm going to split the work up with some breaks to do other stuff, work out or something, but I never do.

Doing it for several days tends to produce upset stomachs, and headaches if I don't remember to drink lots of water at the same time.

In short it is not the wonderful thing, for me, that it was for most people who discuss it in articles and the like. However it is useful enough that I keep doing it.


Posted by: anon | Link to this comment | 05-17-08 2:27 AM
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I found there was a productivity enhancement in getting basic tasks out of the way, an increased ability to focus on the boring and mundane, there wasn't any productivity gain in doing things that required thought, other than that you could keep going.

That all sounds pretty wonderful, anon.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05-17-08 4:59 AM
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So the Brule needs a torch right?
So the sugar needs to melt a little and burn a little - that's the carmel.
I'd imagine that adding the water to the sugar means that the water basically operates as a cooling element - letting the sugar get hot, but not too hot. (yadda yadda vaporization energy of water...)
Probably also something about the water distributing the sugar evenly across the surface of the Brule for a nice even coating.


Posted by: Last Word Poster | Link to this comment | 05-17-08 8:35 AM
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actually I have to pull a sleepless weekend this weekend so I'm certainly happy to have the tool.


Posted by: anon | Link to this comment | 05-17-08 12:05 PM
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