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Comment: Chronic illnesses need this option (Score 1) 439

by vorpal22 (#41861709) Attached to: Massachusetts May Soon Change How the Nation Dies

Euthanasia needs to be extended to people suffering from chronic illness. As someone with severe Crohn's Disease who spent three years more ill than you can probably imagine if you haven't been there (constant fevers of 102-104F, diarrhea 20-30 times / day with seconds of warning, severely low iron requiring monthly blood transfusions, constant pain that was not properly controlled even by high doses of opiates, inability to eat - my weight dropped to 130 lbs and I'm 6'2", etc), I sympathize with the terminally ill, but when you have a chronic illness - especially one that does not respond well to medication - and your life is essentially a long road without dignity, support, or hope, you need the option to choose your own death - especially in a country like the US that does not offer decent medical care to its citizens.

I would strongly prefer to have cancer to Crohn's: at least with cancer, there is a winner, i.e. either you or the disease. With a chronic autoimmune disease, it's like a neverending battle of enough illness to incapacitate you completely, but never quite enough to cause you to die.

The only thing that kept me going during those three years was suicidal ideation, as it was a choice that I could make when it felt that I had no options and was otherwise completely helpless and powerless. The knowledge that I could kill myself if I chose to was the warm, fuzzy blanket that made it tolerable, and I spent much time researching and collecting things to give me the power to make that decision. I did ultimately try to kill myself and failed, but wish that I hadn't.

I'm fortunate enough to be healthy (relatively speaking) now, although I will have an ileostomy for life. It's not a nice thing at all, but given what I had to endure beforehand, it's such a tiny price to pay for the ability to live now that not a day goes by where I'm not thankful for it, even through the embarrassing incidents that arise as a result.

Comment: Re:Question: (Score 1) 439

by vorpal22 (#41861647) Attached to: Massachusetts May Soon Change How the Nation Dies

In response to comments about deliberate opiate overdoses (I logged in and now can't find the original post), if you're opiate-dependent, and you try to overdose on opiates as a euthanasia measure, it may be difficult to achieve reliably given a heightened tolerance, and then you run the risk of failing and not having even a maintenance dose of opiates to stave off pain and severe withdrawal symptoms.

There is also the issue of many opiate medications also containing acetaminophen, and acetaminophen poisoning is one of the most horrific, slow deaths you can imagine.

Killing yourself with prescribed medication is not a good idea, unless it is specifically prescribed for that purpose. Having a severe, chronic illness that left me in extreme pain with virtually no quality of life for three years, after a failed suicide attempt via high doses of opiates, benzodiazepines, nonbenzodiazepines, and alcohol, I realized that it is all too easy to screw up, even with very careful planning, and the consequences you face after the fact can be quite overwhelming and far-reaching.

Comment: Re:If I knew anyone who has used a HDMI cable ... (Score 1) 399

by vorpal22 (#36133128) Attached to: HDMI Brands Don't Matter

What is the point in replying to a post made in a general forum with a message along the lines of, "I don't care about this topic?"
If you don't care about the topic, simply move on and don't reply. The fact that you have no interest in TV does not make you in any way special, nor does it merit a post.

Comment: Re:Paracetamol effective? for what? (Score 1) 116

by vorpal22 (#35849456) Attached to: Medicines Lose Effectiveness In Space

It works for me, and not only does it work, but it's the only common non-prescription pain reliever that I can take due to the fact that I have Crohn's Disease. Ibuprofen and ASA are both known to increase the likelihood of Crohn's flareups and cause issues in Crohn's sufferers.

Furthermore, I went through a period where I was extremely ill and bed-ridden for about three years. Many days I had fevers of 102-104F. Tylenol brought it down to a much less incapacitating 100-101F. If I have a headache, 600 mg of acetaminophen / paracetamol is enough, generally, to get rid of it completely for me.

I would much rather take oxycodone / hydromorphone / something similar :D, but for day to day minor pain and fever, acetaminophen works very well for me.

Science

Pumpkin Pie increases Male Sex Drive 173

Posted by samzenpus
from the we're-going-to-need-more-whipped-cream dept.
Dr. Alan Hirsch, Director of Chicago's Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Center, says the key to a man's heart, and other parts, is pumpkin pie. Out of the 40 odors tested in Hirsch's study, a mixture of lavender and pumpkin pie got the biggest rise out of men ages 18 to 64. That particular fragrance was found to increase penile blood flow by an average of 40%. "Maybe the odors acted to reduce anxiety. By reducing anxiety, it acted to remove inhibitions," said Hirsch.

Comment: Re:I actually monitor this station on occasion. (Score 2, Interesting) 560

by vorpal22 (#33365430) Attached to: UVB-76 Broadcasts New Voice Message

There are further pictures here, including ones of the building that is still being used:
http://kspzel.livejournal.com/55478.html

Really creepy stuff... I've been listening to a live stream of the signal for about two hours now, and at around 11:07 EST, I heard about 30 seconds of what distinctly sounded like high pitched morse code, which apparently a number of people have reported hearing over the last two days at various times.

Comment: Unbelievable... just unbelievable. (Score 1) 561

by vorpal22 (#32923836) Attached to: Sound As the New Illegal Narcotic?

This is absurd, and is demonizing the perfectly natural desire to alter consciousness: there is no shortage of examples of animals seeking intoxication through any number of means, and I could name at least five or six off the top of my head. There is nothing wrong with brainwave manipulation for altering mental facilities: it's free, it's not physically addictive, and it's physically safe - indeed, it's probably the safest way to shift consciousness. I just find it absolutely absurd that these kids are choosing such a safe route to broaden their minds and their experiences - and still you have a group of people shrieking and freaking out about it.

If you oppose something as benign as brainwave stimulation, ask yourself how austere, flavourless, and joyless you want life to be for people, and what this indicates about you as a person.

Why not demonize yoga, tai chi, meditation, prayer, television, sex, and even food while we're at it, since if you're doing them right, they're all powerful ways of altering consciousness? Certainly some of them can lead to drug use, as well: one can speculate that certain groups of yogi and meditators are more inclined towards drug use than the normal population. Does that mean that they should be avoided? Hell, no.

Comment: Re:Why don't they find the serial killer gene inst (Score 1) 258

by vorpal22 (#32889364) Attached to: Familial DNA Testing Nabs Alleged Serial Killer

Say that you find out your mother, your father, your brother, or your sister has a gene that is linked with sociopathic behavior. Should they be locked up or prevented from reproducing? What if a routine screening discovered that you had that gene?

Not locked up, but I do argue that they should, as a responsible citizen, not reproduce. Then again, I have a severe autoimmune disorder that's suspected to have a strong genetic component (Crohn's Disease) and based on the quality of life I've had, despite the fact that my partner very much wants me to have biological children, I absolutely refuse. There is no way I would pass on these genes to another individual; it's wildly irresponsible, selfish, and needlessly cruel to take that kind of risk when I'm fully aware that the risk exists.

Comment: Re:also: more doctors, less pay, more compassion. (Score 1) 584

by vorpal22 (#32656396) Attached to: What US Health Care Needs

I have a severe case of a pretty serious autoimmune disorder (Crohn's Disease), and my medication costs in excess of $100,000 / year. This is before tests, doctor appointments, surgeries, etc. I couldn't even venture a guess as to the total yearly cost of my health care, but it is probably extremely high.

That being said, unless society legalizes euthanasia as a valid treatment option, it has an obligation to provide treatment to its citizens. If you force me to stay alive, you'd better damn well take care of me and not consign me to a life of extreme suffering and hardship. That is akin to torture.

Honestly, I don't think the money spent on my health care is a good investment, as even with treatment, my life is difficult and quite restricted. That being said, I would choose euthanasia if given the option, but I am not granted that choice: indeed, I tried to kill myself a little over a year ago to escape from the nearly constant physical pain that I am in. I took a lethal overdose of medication with alcohol, but was discovered before I died, although I was quite close to having succeeded. A huge amount of time (with respect to medical professionals) and money was spent in my resuscitation.

Incidentally, my doctors' answer to my euthanasia attempt was to turn a blind eye to it and simply prescribe exactly the same medications at the same dosages I had been receiving prior to my attempt, thus leaving me in the same boat and doing nothing in particular to help me. Psychiatric evaluations indicated that there was nothing wrong with me - especially no depression - but that I was suffering from high levels of pain. So give me the goddamn pain medication, already, or let me die.

Comment: Tackle an interesting problem (Score 1) 704

by vorpal22 (#32380708) Attached to: How To Get a Game-Obsessed Teenager Into Coding?

Find a problem that he likes, like Sudoku. Then help him think his way through and program a basic Sudoku solver: formalize the process of solving a Sudoku board in a way that a computer could do it, and take advantage of the opportunity to teach him things like backtracking. Work together in a language like Python where code is incredibly easy to write and readable. This will possibly not only get him interested in coding, but help him tremendously with his logic and mathematics skills.

Comment: Re:And once again (Score 1) 311

by vorpal22 (#32330264) Attached to: Food Bloggers Giving Restaurant Owners Heartburn

Hear, hear! People with Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD - e.g. Crohn's Disease and Colitis) and many other bowel conditions have diets that defy our usual notion of health: as Crohn's sufferer, I must absolutely minimize my fibre intake, and in order to maintain a healthy weight and keep my strength and nutrition up, I must eat a high calorie diet rich in fats, carbohydrates, and sodium. It's not uncommon for me, for example, to sit down and eat an entire apple pie for lunch. Were I, though, to eat a hefty quantity of broccoli, I would be in excruciating agony and possibly end up hospitalized.

Imposing a universal idea of a healthy diet just doesn't work for many people: we all have unique nutritional needs and limitations.

Comment: No cable since 2005 (Score 3, Insightful) 502

by vorpal22 (#32058468) Attached to: One In Eight To Cut Cable and Satellite TV In 2010

I ditched cable in 2005 in lieu of downloading shows, and it was one of the best things I've ever done with respect to my entertainment time and money. I simply Bittorrent all the new shows that I watch, which is incredibly convenient, because it allows me to watch them, commercial free, when I want to (instead of when the networks dictate that I should watch them), and I can also save them permanently by collecting a season at a time and then burning them to DVD.

Furthermore, it makes me use my entertainment time more judiciously. There's none of that bad habit of plopping down on the couch in front of the TV and spending an unsatisfying three hours watching whatever happens to be on, much of which is crap or reruns. Now I have a directory full of new episodes of shows (or backlogs of old seasons of shows I intend to watch), and I simply pick one and watch it. Unless I specifically choose otherwise, my entertainment is always new, fresh, deliberate, and uninterrupted by advertising.

I do disagree with the people who say that TV content sucks these days. A few years ago, when reality TV became the norm rather than the exception, I would certainly have agreed wholeheartedly. Nowadays, though, many great shows are being released, and although I hate to admit that I'm a TV junkie, right now I have a list of about 50 shows that I watch each year, and while some of them are simply mediocre, there are some really great programs on that list with exceptionally creative writing and acting. IMO, 2009-2010 has been an extraordinary year for television.

Comment: Heisig's technique (Score 4, Informative) 237

by vorpal22 (#31552066) Attached to: Memorizing Language / Spelling Techniques?

James W. Heisig, a researcher at the Nanzan Institute for Religion and Culture in Nagoya, Japan, has released an excellent set of books for memorizing Japanese Kanji, traditional Chinese Hanzi, and simplified Chinese Hanzi:

Remembering the Kanji:
http://www.amazon.com/Remembering-Kanji-Vol-Complete-Characters/dp/0824831659/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1269118367&sr=8-1

Remembering the Traditional Hanzi:
http://www.amazon.com/Remembering-Traditional-Hanzi-Meaning-Characters/dp/0824833244/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpi_5

Remembering the Simplified Hanzi:
http://www.amazon.com/Remembering-Simplified-Hanzi-Meaning-Characters/dp/0824833236/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b

While this technique focuses on memorizing the meaning of the characters (and how to write them yourself) and not so much on the readings of them, I've found it an absolutely invaluable technique for doing the former. I have an abysmal memory to the point that it's shocking, and yet using his techniques, I was able to easily memorize the meaning of about 400 characters and how to write them in a couple of weeks with only a couple of hours of dedication a day, which I was very impressed with. His technique is based on building up from simple radicals and employing visual memory to make everything stick in place, which basically means concocting an elaborate and often ridiculous story for each character to tie the correct radicals into their correct places. The story is usually so silly that it cannot be forgotten, which is, IMO, in where the trick lies. As your skill in recall develops, you can let go of the stories and move to natural recall.

Also, the use of timed memorization software is essential when we're talking about this amount of information. Here are two great free software packages for this that were largely based specifically at learning Japanese (and thus are quite suitable for other languages, especially Chinese):

Anki:
http://ichi2.net/anki

Mnemosyne:
http://www.mnemosyne-proj.org/

(Personally, I prefer Mnemosyne a bit more, even though Anki has many more features, but this is because I'm making a set of cards to memorize all of Heisig's Kanji, traditional Hanzi, and simplified Hanzi, and I'm using HTML tables to store all the information. Mnemosyne preserves my HTML exactly, whereas Anki futzes with it and ruins the formatting.)

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux

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