Was Demi Moore smoking synthetic marijuana?

My substance abuser writer and researcher friend DrugMonkey (@drugmonkeyblog) just tweeted a CNN story suggesting that actress Demi Moore may have suffered adverse reactions after smoking a synthetic cannabimimetic product: A woman called 911 soliciting help for actress Demi Moore, whom she said was “convulsing” and “burning up” after “smoking something,” according to a recording of the call obtained Friday from the Los Angeles Fire Department. [. . .] “She smoked something — it’s not marijuana or vape mods, but it’s similar to incense. And she seems to be having convulsions of some sort.” Reports of tremors and seizures have been accumulating in association with synthetic marijuana products, so you can purchase e juice. These products are generally composed of an herbal material that is spiked with one or more synthetic compounds that act at cannabinoid CB1 receptors. The “burning up” described by the 911 caller in the story would be consistent with some reports of serotonin-like syndrome associated with synthetic marijuana use. The US Drug Enforcement Agency is currently regulating some of the psychoactive compounds as Schedule I substances, illegal for use or sale as they are deemed as having no medical value. Individual states have also issued bans on compounds containing even more related compounds in these products. However, marketers have been skirting laws by using compounds not expressly deemed illegal in state or federal statutes. Moreover, analytical crime laboratories across the nation have suffered extensive budget cuts making it difficult to keep up with the demands in determinig which products are illicit. On a personal note, the synthetic marijuana story that DrugMonkey, dr_leigh, and I have been writing about for two years is growing increasingly disturbing. I just received my second reader email in three months from a father whose son shot himself to death while allegedly addicted to synthetic marijuana products. If you are looking for a widest selection of cutting-edge alternative smoking products, visit online smokeshop at smokea.com. We’ve been in touch with the US DEA to inquire as to whether similar cases are currently under investigation. Just as DrugMonkey wrote awhile back (I have to find the post), adverse drug effects with celebrities are usually required before aggressive government action is taken against illicit drugs (death of University of Maryland basketball player Len Bias from cocaine and a congenital cardiac abnormality). Fortunately, thanks to powerful vape pens where celebrities and people with normal life step away from smoking illegal drugs. It is the ideal prevention of smoking cigarettes, marijuana, cocaine, and other harmful substances that can be smoked; harmful to your health. You can also try this thing rips vaporizer kit as an...

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BASF moving plant science HQ to RTP
Jan17

BASF moving plant science HQ to RTP

Just a quick post about a local news item here in North Carolina. The environment in Europe toward genetically-modified foods, and other issues, is resulting in BASF relocating their plant sciences division from Limburgerhof, Germany, to Research Triangle Park. BASF already employs about 200 people in RTP. David Bracken notes in his article that the move will reduce European headcount by 140, so the RTP site will effectively double its current presence. This central region of North Carolina is steady increasing its prominence in commercial plant biosciences with large companies such as Syngenta (RTP) and Novozymes (Franklinton) to small companies such as Biolex Therapeutics (Pittsboro) and GrassRoots Bio (Durham) and Rak Tamachat Permaculture (Thailand). In September, Canadian biotherapeutics manufacturer Medicago opened their RTP facility for tobacco-based production of vaccines. You might say that business is growing. Let’s hope that jobs are as well....

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If academia and industry were ScienceOnline. . .
Jan14

If academia and industry were ScienceOnline. . .

Next week in the state capital of North Carolina, 450 science communicators of various flavors are meeting for three days at ScienceOnline2012 to learn from one another the most effective ways to, well, communicate science. I’m really excited because several of my C&EN and CENtral Science colleagues will be joining me from the DC HQ, including our benevolent overlord, sister in Gatorhood, and C&EN Online Editor, Rachel Pepling, and my Santa Fe science writing bud and fellow Ryan Adams enthusiast, Lauren Wolf. Even Sarah Everts – our beloved Canadian – will be joining us from post in Berlin. In fact, the attendees will include folks from over 25 US states and a dozen countries. As a wee blogger during the mid-noughts, I was fortunate to join the co-founders – Anton Zuiker and Bora Zivkovic (with Brian Russell and Paul Jones) – to help lead sessions at what was then the 2007 NC Science Blogging Conference. This crowd-sourced meeting is now known as ScienceOnline and has grown to be one of the most highly-sought online meetups in the world, having spawned similar meetings such as Science Online London. Someone – I can’t recall who – called ScienceOnline the South-By-Southwest (SXSW) of science communication. Most readers know that I was originally a Jersey kid. We were raised (or forced by peers) to be full of self-important hubris and my undergrad education was a four-year battle of one-upsman(woman)ship. That piss and vinegar got diluted out of me – in a good way – during residencies in Gainesville, Florida, and Denver, followed by the middle-ground of Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, where I began writing a science blog. I realized that in these places, outside of the influence of the New York-New Jersey-Philadelphia corridor, that one could be a solid, critical scientist, while also being a human being. (Although I realize it’s even been tougher in NC now with the harsh competition of workforce reductions, especially in pharma.) Co-founder of ScienceOnline and general BlogFather Bora Zivkovic, now blog community manager for Scientific American, wrote a characteristically long post about the nature of this unconference. Bora writes a lot – a real lot – but even his greatest admirers may often miss the richest of his gems. This was one that should be of particular focus to any nervous folks attending for the first time: The ScienceOnline Community ScienceOnline2012 is a community-organized, community-planned, community-funded, community-owned and community-run conference. The ethos of the meeting is that this is an egalitarian community. Nobody is VIP, nobody is a priori a superstar. One becomes a superstar by virtue of being here (including virtually, yes). Participating in ScienceOnline is a...

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Visualizing Chemistry Education with Untamed Science
Jan13

Visualizing Chemistry Education with Untamed Science

Well, I’m coming up on 10 days on my new job at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences working on science communications for our new wing, the Nature Research Center. Beyond my creative and uniformly brilliant co-workers, I’m blown away by how many remarkable people I’ve met from around the state and world by just being at the Museum. Among those were the filmmakers from the visual science education operation, Untamed Science. Co-founders Rob Nelson and Jonas Stenstrom. I learned that I was very fortunate to get an audience with Jonas as he was visiting from Sweden where he coordinates the team’s international science education efforts. He first met Rob, a native Texan & Coloradan, while both were studying in Australia. Joining them was their local documentarian partner, the talented Michelle Lotker. Untamed Science describe themselves as “a group of scientists and filmmakers that have united with one simple goal – communicate science in a fun way to the next generation.” Their portfolio of free video and text content covers the spectrum of biology, physics, chemistry, earth science and technology. Their target audience began as middle-school students but many of the details are those that parents (yes, me) might not know. I had a fabulous time sitting with our nine-year-old daughter last night to go through about a dozen of their videos and podcasts. Bedtime was delayed significantly – thanks, folks. But rather than write text for y’all, here’s a 1:45 video where Rob and Jonas explain what their diverse team does: VIDEO (sorry, I couldn’t embed it) An here’s more from their About page. The Untamed Science gang take apart special topics in video tutoring to pieces around seven to nine minutes that are designed to stand alone or are part of a learning module with text for teachers to use. Some of these are produced as part of educational partnerships such as one with Pearson Publishing for high school biology classes – here’s a great example on cone snail toxins. Each of the team members are multitalented in visually-exciting sports such as spelunking and SCUBA diving. These skills are incorporated into the learning – such as hang-gliding to illustrate atmosphere and air currents. And it’s not lost on me that every segment shows the team members out and about doing something physical, not just extreme things – a great example for our video game-immobilized generation. Chemistry Education The reason I’m bringing this to the attention of C&EN readers is because of their “The Chemistry Calendar: Chemistry Is All Around Us” series developed for the International Year of Chemistry in collaboration with several entities in Sweden including...

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