Posts by Russell Brown

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  • Hard News: Do e-bikes ease traffic…,

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    This might have something to do with the popularity of e-bikes in certain European countries.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21570 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: From Zero: The Meth Episode, in reply to william blake,

    Yes the godwinning of methamphetamine does need to be taken with a pinch of something, especially when the author contextualises his thesis with his own use of ecstasy and LSD.

    This brings to mind the infamous 2002 study that claimed even controlled doses of MDMA were so neurotoxic that casual users were at risk of Parkinson's disease and other conditions.

    The study was later retracted after the researchers discovered they'd actually been subjecting lab monkeys' brains not to MDMA, but methaphetamine.

    The paper was kinda bullshitty in other ways too though.

    And it was around long enough to assist the passage of America's execrable RAVE Act.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21570 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Do e-bikes ease traffic…, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I was jesting – having an open source software bike would let you change MAX_SPEED=20 to something more exciting…

    At present, there's no limit on speed like there is in Europe. Thus, imported European e-bikes are all limited to 25km/h (at which point the assist drops out), but not local models.

    But there is an official limit of 300W of power output.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21570 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Do e-bikes ease traffic…, in reply to Allan MacLachlan,

    I’m curious as to why an e-bike changes your behaviour – is that because the bike is heavier than a non-ebike, or something inherent in the fact that you have power, so don’t feel the need to duck and dive?

    It's way heavier than my nippy little standard bike. And feels more like a vehicle that warrants its own lane. I'm less inclined to nip through gaps etc.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21570 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: From Zero: The Meth Episode, in reply to Brent Jackson,

    Like alcohol then …

    More addictive, more severe effects on both physical and mental health from sustained use. You can drink every day for decades. You can’t smoke meth every day for decades without serious consequences.

    This is not to dismiss the huge social harms of alcohol abuse, of course.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21570 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: From Zero: The Meth Episode, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    urther, the main pharmacological problem with methamphetamine is that, unlike most drugs (which burn when heated) it’s smokable. Which gives a faster rush and more of a psychological problem. People (Hitler, pilots, schoolkids with ADHD) who confine themselves to ingestion or snorting have fewer problems witb it.

    Yes, I cover that in the episode. I'm surprised more isn't made of it in drug treatment circles. The step-change when it became a glass pipe drug was the start of the real problems.

    The real problem, however, is that there are a lot of desperate, screwed up people around, who’ve often been socialised into violence.

    I had a couple of friends lose the plot with meth, neither of them were violent. But they definitely had a problem, to the extent that I actually had to ask them not to come around any more.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21570 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: From Zero: The Meth Episode, in reply to andin,

    Could stay up all night drinking and never feel drunk, never felt violent tho and never wanted to go out, was quite happy where I was especially if at home. And that was my experience with it, which is in the past now.

    Yeah, and there are plenty of people like you. But the overall rate and nature of problematic use is a real showstopper.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21570 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: From Zero: The Meth Episode, in reply to Farmer Green,

    A drug is not evil: even methamphetamine has a very limited useful role in medicine.

    Yes, I make that point in the episode: it's a chemical, no more innately evil than salt or water.

    Its medical use is, as you say, very limited now, largely because it's more neurotoxic than comparable amphetamines.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21570 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Do e-bikes ease traffic…, in reply to Moz,

    One things that helps a lot in Sydney is lifts at railway stations. They put them in officially for wheelchair accessibility, but they work well for bikes that are too heavy to carry up stairs. It makes mixed-mode travel much more practical, if it’s raining, or late at night, you just jump on the train.

    Ah, that does sound handy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21570 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: From Zero: The Meth Episode, in reply to Mark Graham,

    The way it was reported on RNZ this morning made me think West Akl police are not going to prosecute low level dealing and use but I missed the offer of treatment.

    I think they overcooked the angle a little – what Stan Brown said was that they don’t necessarily prosecute small-time supply. I’m impressed by their willingness to have a relationship with these people, rather than just throwing them to the courts. There’s also the very practical dimension of the time and resources such prosecutions use up.

    I note in the episode that what this all leans toward is the decriminalisation through which Portugal turned around its terrible heroin problem. But you’re not going to get that at a legislative level – because politicians have to say that drugs are bad and the law will never change – so you’ll left with other parts of the system doing their best.

    Russ – how do you think this changes the perception of meth? I always saw it as one of the truly evil drugs (never used, never exposed to it) with a genuine probability of addiction.

    Doesn’t a softening of approach demonstrate yet again the folly of a ‘Reefer Madness’-type demonisation of a recreational drug and therefore undermine any attempt at control as people realise they’re being lied to again?

    I don’t think so. It’s a matter of doing what makes sense. Even describing it as “softening” frames it in an unhelpful way. It’s not about being hard or soft, but about doing the right thing.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 21570 posts Report Reply

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