Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Walk the Line

48 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

  • Duncan McKenzie,

    The time distortion test you describe reminds me of the story about Ken Kesey when he was the subject of experiments on the effects of LSD (in the 60s). One of the tests was to estimate when 1 minute had elapsed. To everyone's amazement, KK could do it to within the second every time, no matter what the state of his head.

    It transpired that they had been taking Ken's pulse regularly and that it was always 70 bpm. So Ken surreptitiously took his own pulse, counted to 70 and said "stop".

    Probably, for some time after that, one of the recorded effects of LSD was "enhanced ability to estimate the elapsing of time".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 48 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    The tests do sound rather like they could lend to abuse. I suggest we have a contest to see who can stand on one leg with their head tilted back stone cold sober for the longest.

    Currently I can do about 4-5 seconds. Also try walking along a straight line on a windy day. Since walking along a line is actually an unusual activity I can't think most many people can actually do it well. I'm out by 7 seconds on the time distortion too, although I'm sure with practice the best method will be just to count heartbeats.

    My wife's result was 3 seconds for the balancing test (after 5 trials), and out by 12 secs on the time distortion. Interested to hear other people's results.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie,

    If the Government is going to be consistent, why shouldn't they ban party pills?

    If they're going to ban E, why not also ban its simulacrum? No-one might have died, sure (when was the last E-related death in NZ? Are we still sitting at 3?) but there have been a bunch of cases where serious psychological harm has ensued.

    A mate of mine ended up in the mental health ward after taking party pills, and while just like pot, it probably acted as a catalyst for a pre-existing condition, if it wasn't for the pills he probably wouldn't have lost the plot.

    I'm certainly not pushing for a ban, just saying that party pills are just as/more dangerous than E. And the 'no reported fatalities' line might be true, but it masks all the harm happening underneath.

    Same as with the argument over raising the drinking age again. Almost any argument you can make to push it to 20 you can also make to push it to 30, 40, or ban it outright...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1130 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew Wilson,

    As a psychologist I'd like to mention that people in general are shocking at estimating time. The human body has no internal clock that tells you anything about the invented measure 'seconds'. I read that sentence and was astounded anyone thought this was a legitimate test.

    If there's one thing I hate more than the 'no science' approach its the 'bad science' approach.

    Aberdeen, UK • Since Nov 2006 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    It also appears that any amount of illicit substance in your blood sample will be seen as evidence of impairment. So, if you smoked a joint two weeks ago, and it was detected in your blood, you could still face a charge of "drug driving".

    Given that it sampling is required at what amount's to a police discretion, I foresee fishing expeditions based on prejudicial profiling e.g. why not get a sample from that young dreadlock, what's there to lose.

    But unless the police record data about who is given the roadside assessments (i.e. demographics), and what the results are we'll not be able to determine whether certain groups (Maori, youth etc) are being unfairly targeted.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 455 posts Report Reply

  • nic.wise,

    "Surely it would be possible to find a legal high that's not quite so horrible?"

    Um, there was one. It was called "ease". But someone got all funny about it and it got taken off the market. I think Matt Bowden et al did the right thing pulling it, but if pure hang over "pain" is anything to go by, that stuff was REALLY clean.

    I beleive that the whole point of Ease was to find something better/cleaner/safer than BZP, and legal. The press reports of it stunk of the same attitude which stopped Auckland getting a cable TV network....

    Personally, I quite enjoy being on BZP pills, on the fairly few occasions I've used them (maybe 3 or 4x a year, tops - "The Grin" being my current preference), but the after effects are really not worth doing it often.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 83 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    C'mon guys, do the test! Or is nobody else sober? ;-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Savidge,

    I really really wish some on-to-it journo's/politicians would fight for our right to get twisted on good, clean drugs.The substandard psuedo-lollies we currently have legal access to are just a tease - and a pretty pathetic tease at that!

    I would like to corner the likes of Jim Anderton with a dirty needle and demand he outline the moral reasoning behind legislating against some mood-altering drugs and condoning others.

    Could this be the issue that unites youth and fossils against the fun-nannies?

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 319 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Hutchings,

    Given that there has been a big move away from "subjective" law enforcement in regards to traffic offenses,

    "Yes I know that 111Kms on a dry straight uncrowded road may seem safe sure but it is over the limit...."

    To introduce a bunch of, "Close you eyes and touch your nose" tests does smack a bit of inconsistancy and quakery,

    *If* they can provide some double blind studies that show these tests show an exceptionally high correlation to "impairment"- whatever that might be I might be more accepting, but this does have a very high reading on the "chicken entrails" meter

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 108 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    So if an officer stops Terry Techno for a dodgy lane change on his way home from a dance party at 7.00am can he then decide Terry's silver pants and yellow singlet are enough reason to take him down to the station for a blood test? I would have thought that would constitute discrimination based on cultural preference...

    As for Party Pills, my views are mixed. People like to get high. Trying to stop people getting what they like will always be a miserable failure. Prohibtion is a complete waste of time and such a proven failure I weep that its still considered an option. OTOH, I think the stuff is WORSE than MDMA in its comedown, and as for the supposed long term effects of MDMA ( like depression) I nowadays invoke the Fermi paradox - where are they? BZP has not been subjected to the hundreds of millions spent to prove that MDMA is harmful (here is a thought - what if they spent that research money on developing an MDMA like substance that was totally non-harmful?), yet its 100% legal in Godzone.

    Iif BZP had come along as a recreational drug in Muldoon's time like MDMA did it would be a class B at least now. Conversely, if MDMA suddenly turned up this year as "safe" alternative to BZP I doubt it would be made illegal.

    I suppose more than anything, BZP's status - legal and over 20 million doses taken and rising with not a single death - exposes the inconsistancy and stupidity of prohibitionist policies. It seems to me much of the drive to ban party pills is based not on their toxicity but rather an ideological desire to hold back the tide of human nature.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1817 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    but this does have a very high reading on the "chicken entrails" meter

    Quuick! Get to the quack-phone and call Penn & Teller!

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 842 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    nic.wise - Ease was obstensibly meant to be a MDMA substitute, BZP was/is supposed to save us from the scourge of the P pipe, if you believe the words of Mr. Bowden. My view was that Mr. Bowden has nicely combined the works of God and Mamon to not co-incidentially handsomely reward his own back account. Ease should never have been released in N.Z. - Stargate got a (fig leaf?) letter from some minnion in the dept of health giving them the go ahead and then proceded with an under the radar "trial" (actually a sort of Amway for pill heads) that kept the sale discrete. Eventually the cops wised up and it was all over red rover. Mr. Bowden was not prosecuted for selling a class B drug not because the police didn't think they couldn't get a conviction, but because the N.Z. government would have had to be charged as a co-conspirator.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1817 posts Report Reply

  • Terence Wood,

    Ben Wilson,

    Using the old "One Missasippi, Two Missasippi..." technique I was only three seconds out.

    I can't undertake the other tests at present because I'm at work and, if I did, it would only reveal my habit. (Blog habit that is.)

    p.s. as far as I can tell, being unable to spell Missisppi (sigh) doesn't affect the accuracy of the technique.

    Since Nov 2006 • 148 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    For pupil dilation, there's a really easy way to beat that one. Look at the sun for a few seconds, or the cops headlights if it's night. Open your eyes really wide when you're doing it.

    For the other tests it could be fun to act ESL and ask the copper to show you what he means. He could be up for a blood test himself.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • Kiwiiano,

    I thought the Poms were working on a Driver Impairment Test run on a PDA that makes more sense than the nonsense currently proposed. It involved tapping a dot that kept reappearing at different positions on the screen. The program logged your error rate and blew the whistle if your perception, reaction times or accuracy were impaired, whether it was from alcohol, wacky baccy, various other uppers and/or downers or even just fatigue. All of which should keep you off the road.

    It would be interesting if these proposed tests were ever challenged in court, by asking the Judge to attempt them. "Drunk in charge of a court, my lud".

    Come to think of it, ask the cop on the side of the road to demo first.

    ChCh • Since Nov 2006 • 23 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Then comes the kicker: Say the alphabet … backwards. "Well, shoot, you got me. I'm not drunk, but I'm obviously too stupid to be driving, God damn it."

    Bill Hicks, on field tests for drunk drivers.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Terence, practice makes perfect! I'm getting sub-second error by counting heartbeats. But would my heart be racing if some cop was breathing down my neck?

    The old mississippi count eh? Surely the error gets worse as the numbers take longer to say. 'Twenty-seven mississippi'. Perhaps that's where your 3 seconds comes from. Just repeat one to ten again maybe? Personally I found myself getting tongue tied eventually from the constant repetition, as the tongue gets tired of executing the same motions. Or were you 'subvocalizing'?

    I'm thinking a well known song would be better, since the timing is already established. The last stanza of 'Stairway to Heaven' takes about 30 seconds, if you go from 'And as we wind on down the road' to 'to be a rock and not to roll'. Don't include the musical riff at the end of every line. If you do, stop at 'the tune will come to you at last'. Which is kind of poetic for the purpose, and I think the lines might have a calming effect too. The lady we all know will show us the way with her shining white light.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Hah - while that Kiwiblog thread DID degenerate into a primo twat calling session, Danyl's explanation to Boysmum of where AIDS came from is priceless.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2074 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    nic.wise - Ease was obstensibly meant to be a MDMA substitute, BZP was/is supposed to save us from the scourge of the P pipe, if you believe the words of Mr. Bowden. My view was that Mr. Bowden has nicely combined the works of God and Mamon to not co-incidentially handsomely reward his own back account.

    All true, but it was bloody good stuff, and something like what you'd want from a legalised high. As my friend summed it up, "ecstasy for grownups". It's interesting to speculate where it would have gone if a certain TV programme hadn't spooked Anderton's office into bringing it all to a close.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 19019 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    Hah - while that Kiwiblog thread DID degenerate into a primo twat calling session, Danyl's explanation to Boysmum of where AIDS came from is priceless.

    Thanks. I love her idea that scientists are 'too lazy' to cure cancer - because cashing all those cheques for your billion dollar patent and having to get out of bed early to make it to Stockholm for your Nobel would be SUCH a total drag.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • nic.wise,

    Tom: something to keep in mind: BZP is illegal in most (I think all?) other countries. eg dont take it on that holiday to OZ, US, UK et al.

    If I was looking to bring on a new product to the market - which would be potentially illegal - I'd most likely go about it the same way Bowden did. Ask the law. They say ok - so do it. Assuming there was nothing left out of the import request..... Then keep is low key (so you dont get all the kiddies in), verfify - in person - that everone is who they say they are, and limit how much they can buy. I dont think it qualifies as a "drug trial" in the usual sense, but otherwise...

    and yes, he's in it to make money. I develop software to make money. I imagine you do something to make money. Get over it.

    "Ease was obstensibly meant to be a MDMA substitute, BZP was/is supposed to save us from the scourge of the P pipe,"

    Maybe so, tho BZP + TMFPP is ment to be a MDMA substitute (no, kiddies, it aint even CLOSE). Either way, it would have been a start.... replace MDMA now, move to meth later...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 83 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Litterick,

    I love how middle-class people talk about erosion of civil rights whenever the Government restricts any of their pleasures, but talk about necessary public health measures whenever the simple pleasures of the poor (fags, booze, fatty foods) are restricted.

    The reason why behavoural tests for drugs are being introduced is that there are no roadside equivalents of alcohol tests at present. The reason why tests are needed is that there are too many stoners on the road. Being stoned makes them a danger to other road users.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1000 posts Report Reply

  • Lambert,

    A mate of mine ended up in the mental health ward after taking party pills, and while just like pot, it probably acted as a catalyst for a pre-existing condition, if it wasn't for the pills he probably wouldn't have lost the plot.

    Off topic a bit, but I'd be willing to bet that drugs - whether pot, party pills, P, or LSD - acted as a trigger for many, if not the majority, of people who suffer from serious mental illness.

    I don't know anyone injured or killed in a crash caused by a drug-impaired driver (drink-impaired drivers on the other hand....) but I do know a more than a few people with serious mental health issues that surfaced at the same time as heavy dope smoking. They might have got sick regardless, but whenever they smoke a joint now, their mental health invariably deteriorates.

    Obviously this is a small minority of people, but so are the number of drivers who crash while under the influence of drugs. Given the damage and cost to society - and the state of our mental health system - it's something that I'd like to see acknowledged, without getting too hysterical about it, by the likes of the Greens (I'd be happy to be corrected if the Greens have done this sometime in the past).

    Maybe we should can the drug-driving checkpoints and bring back those Reefer Madness public service films instead?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Paul, are fags, booze and fatty foods restricted?

    How many stoners are there on the road? You seem very confident, but as you say, there are no roadside tests to either confirm or deny your assertion.

    Which is actually a part of the reason I'm not totally against this testing. At least we'll start to get some real statistics. If it's found that large proportions of stoners are driving, and yet they aren't overrepresented in the accident statistics, then that will completely debunk what you are saying. Or not. At least there will be some facts.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8659 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Rowe,

    Thanks. I love her idea that scientists are 'too lazy' to cure cancer - because cashing all those cheques for your billion dollar patent and having to get out of bed early to make it to Stockholm for your Nobel would be SUCH a total drag.

    hah. I'm almost tempted to end my self imposed Kiwiblog exile!

    Lake Roxburgh, Central Ot… • Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.