A case of the vapours
WHEN is a drug not a drug? The UK government’s Psychoactive Substances bill seeks to prohibit the sale of consumables that affect a person’s mental state. Previously, the minister in charge of the bill, Mike Penning, insisted “We will ensure that we insert what we want to insert, while at the same time having a blanket ban” (14 November, 2015).
Now we learn what he meant as, in addition to the government’s own lengthy list of exempted inebriants such as alcohol and nicotine, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has been tasked with finding a way to exclude alkyl nitrites.
Otherwise known as poppers, this recreational drug is a popular sex aid because of its muscle-relaxing effects, as well as its instant high., the ACMD reported that although poppers increase blood flow to the brain, they don’t cross the blood-brain barrier.
The ACMD concludes that any psychoactivity is a peripheral effect, and poppers do not directly stimulate the central nervous system – even though users feel a high. The circle deftly squared, another popular drug falls outside the UK’s increasingly threadbare blanket ban on drugs.
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FURTHER to observations on the quantum superposition of USB cables (), Sue McDonald comes unstuck over another case of strange geometries.
“I was trying to find the end of the sticky tape on its roll,” she writes. “Assuming the roll is a circle with …
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