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A blog about science, medicine, media and the ramblings of Irish hack....

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Getting wasted 101 - some amazing alcohol anecdotes and fantastic facts

 This post is all about alcohol, how it affects us and some interesting facts you may not have heard. I've tried to hyperlink any references in the main text where required. It's written for an Irish audience but is applicable throughout the western world. For those of you who have been so supportive regarding my previous post on the Kate Fitzgerald / Irish Times fiasco, thank you so much for your support during this difficult time. Kate is no longer with us but many of your comments touched me deeply, and indeed I think Kate's family too. Merry X-mas, Dave

The festive season is upon us, and for the Irish in particular that means copious consumption of various alcoholic beverage, or as we call it "business as usual". It is also the season of "Drink aware" adverts which try to be helpful by reminding us of such useful things as our consumption levels and drink driving limits, in terms of the 'Standard drink'.

Scrooge-like as it seems, this bugs me - not because the sentiment isn't appreciated, nor because I have some subconscious urge to play Dionysus but rather due to the fact that the standard drink is largely a myth; a misconception based on the idea that biology can be standardized when in fact personal variations matter hugely. So in the X-mas spirit, allow me to present "Getting wasted 101" and come delve haphazardly into psychopharmacology with me.If that sounds eerily reminiscent of that time some mischief maker slipped you a tab of LSD instead of an after dinner mint, worry not, this is entirely educational.

Like, Gee Scoob! This after dinner mint is making me feel CRAZY!


Monday, December 5, 2011

Famous Last Words - Media Transparency, Kate Fitzgerald and the Irish Times


I wanted to do a piece on media transparency for some time, but I never imagined that the death of someone I love very much could be the catalyst for this, nor did I foresee quite how disappointed I would be with publications I had previously thought were illustrious; publications I thought valued integrity and accuracy over all else. It turns out I was sorely mistaken. In August just gone, my beautiful and dear friend Kate took her own life; she was 25. The night before she died, she took the time to compose this poignant and erudite plea for better understanding of mental health. It was sent to my national paper of record, the Irish Times. It was printed under the condition of anonymity, and the piece you see below is how it appeared. I beseech you to read it, her words are far more important than anything I'm ever likely to write.


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