Tin Can Robot

Addiction, Recovery and Relapse

Seth Mnookin, at Slate:

I cried when I heard about Philip Seymour Hoffman. The news scared me: He got sober when he was 22 and didn’t drink or use drugs for the next 23 years. During that time, he won an Academy Award, was nominated for three more, and was widely cited as the most talented actor of his generation. He also became a father to three children. Then, one day in 2012, he began popping prescription pain pills. And now he’s dead.

About relapse:

My first attempt at recovery came in 1991, when I was 19 years old. Almost exactly two years later, I decided to have a drink. Two years after that, I was addicted to heroin. There’s a lot we don’t know about alcoholism and drug addiction, but one thing is clear: Regardless of how much time clean you have, relapsing is always as easy as moving your hand to your mouth.

CVS to Quit Selling Tobacco

CVS Caremark has announced that they will stop selling cigarettes:

The company estimated that its decision would shave an estimated $2 billion in sales from customers buying cigarettes and other products, including incidental items like gum that those shoppers might also purchase. That is a mere dent in its overall sales of $123 billion in 2012, the latest figures available.

It appears that the decision came about as the company moves its stores towards being more of a health care provider and less general drug store:

“We have about 26,000 pharmacists and nurse practitioners helping patients manage chronic problems like high cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart disease, all of which are linked to smoking,” said Larry J. Merlo, chief executive of CVS. “We came to the decision that cigarettes and providing health care just don’t go together in the same setting.

Misunderstanding Orange Juice

Orange juice is nutritionally not much better than soda but somehow has earned a place at the American breakfast table as a refreshing and healthy vitamin shot. How did it gain that reputation?

McCollum ignited a panic over a nebulous condition called acidosis: an excess of acid in the bloodstream which supposedly caused fatigue and lassitude. He claimed the ailment was brought on by consuming meat, eggs and bread, which were acid producers. His advice: Eat lots of citrus fruit and lettuce. These foods rather counterintuitively were transformed from acid into alkaline in the stomach. Unsurprisingly, citrus producers seized upon this new health scare.

Back in the 1920’s, orange juice was an awful boiled canned juice. When WWII came around, the U.S. Army needed to stave off scurvy among its soldiers by providing a tasty Vitamin C product.

The End of Swipe-and-Sign

The U.S. is the last major market in the world to continue to use the swipe-and-sign process for credit card transactions. However, both MasterCard and Visa have announced plans to switch to an encrypted chip on the card and personal PIN by October 2015.

One important thing to know is that it’s not as if everybody just got to the starting line just now, there has been a lot of work on this that has already happened. For merchants, the terminals in many cases are readily available or already there, they already have the equipment ready to handle the new cards. Banks who issue cards in many cases already can issue cards with the chip, and they have been issuing them to customers who travel overseas.

U.S. consumers are already pretty aware of the chip and PIN system, because most of the rest of the world has already migrated. And we would expect in the wake of these latest breaches and the media coverage that awareness is now even higher. And as banks issue consumers their new cards, they will get information explaining the system and all the benefits, and obviously how to use it.

Life Is a Game

Oliver Emberton gives you a strategy guide for life:

You might not realise, but real life is a game of strategy. There are some fun mini-games – like dancing, driving, running, and sex – but the key to winning is simply managing your resources.

Most importantly, successful players put their time into the right things. Later in the game money comes into play, but your top priority should always be mastering where your time goes.

The SNL After-Party

About the SNL after-party:

Regardless of generation, though, many former cast members and writers who were interviewed, in addition to avowing that they never personally witnessed the consumption of drugs, painted the same after-party triptych: You just had a great show and you need to blow off steam. The show was just horrible, you were barely in it, and you need to blow off steam. You’ve had 10 hours of sleep in the last four days. Family’s in town and they want to meet celebrities.


Sherlock finished its Series 3 run this week on PBS and this seemed like a good time to link to this article by Elizabeth Minkel:

This is the story of one person in one fandom, but it’s likely got hints of your story, too, if you’ve ever been involved in this sort of thing. I’d hope that it resonates if you’ve ever really loved something that you haven’t created — the I’d-kill-for-you kind of love of a work of art that inspires others to say things like, “Whoa, whoa, slow down, it’s just a book.”

The first episode of Series 3 that dealt with the return of Sherlock from the apparent dead seemed to have a few moments in it that were nods to various fan theories about how the show would explain his return. It’s in things like that where Sherlock is not only acknowledging, but apparently winking at, the fans of the show.