Archive for March, 2005


Wednesday, March 30th, 2005

I think my problem is that if I were a supervillain, my greatest weakness would be that everytime I came up with some awesomely sweet diabolical plan, I would end up sitting around the whole time thinking how awesomely sweet my diabolical plan was…. Hence, all the dumb superheroes would have nothing to worry about.



psychedelic baby

Friday, March 11th, 2005

Sasha. Who would’ve thought?

That’s the nickname of the chemist who brought extasy (the drug) to the lime light. This guy graduated from Berkeley with a PhD in Organic Chemistry after dropping out of Harvard. But that doesn’t come as surprise; him being from Berkeley that is ;)

Anyway, long story short: he graduates, gets a job at DuPont, invents the first biodegradable insecticide, DuPont makes mucho dinero and makes good on their promise to let Sasha work on what ever project he wants to.

So Alexander Shulgin aka Sasha decided to work on psychedelic drugs… specifically creating new ones.

Yes you heard me.

Although he was always a researcher first (evidenced by him publishing his works in Nature and Journal of Organic Chemistry) DuPont later asked him to no longer identify DuPont as the source of his “funding”.

The legality of his work was conditional in that he had to report to the DEA any new drug he created, which they would then automatically add to their list of Category 1 drugs. Drugs which had no medical benefit, could lead to substance abuse, etc.

All this was interesting, but it was nothing compared to what I read next:

To test the “psychedelic effects” of the psychedelic drugs he created… he would try them.

He would take only a little bit, and he kept an anti-convulsion drug nearby, such that if something went wrong he could remedy it by injecting himself

(He said he’s only had to inject himself twice).

But suppose the drug went well (like extasy)? In that case, he and his wife would try it.

But suppose it went really well. In that case, he and his wife and group of “research collaborators” would try it.

It wasn’t the rampant misuse of drugs that amazed me (Well, we’re talking about Berkely here…), it was the fact that this guy had the chutzpah to try his own drugs!

I’ve no idea how many times my chemistry 200 lab experiment either: 1) blew up, 2) didn’t turn the correct color or 3) melted the glass the experiment was occurring in.

Okay I made that all up. It was always pretty much the chemical thing not turning the right color or something. (Yeah you can see I loved chemistry)

In any event, I’m thinking of switching from WIRED magazine to the NewYorkTimes magazine. I mean with crazy stories like this …


Hi!ghway uncle

Monday, March 7th, 2005

It’s fun to meet your favourite uncles on the highway whilst both of you drive at 130kmph. It’s more fun to hear him then lecture me on the hazards of driving fast. So we pulled into a cafe just at the border of one Emirate and sip our teas casually. Hmm, cookies, he says and insists that we have cookies with our chai. He gets back in his car and waves goodbye. I walk to mine and am interrupted.

“You’re Pakistani?”
“Yes. Why?”
“Ahhh…it’s been a whilst since i saw Pakistani people meeting so happily”

I laugh and am tempted (now) to tell him that’s because I love that man for the sake of Allah swt. Care to share the love?

Ok now go. Else we’ll both be late for work.

Like a turtle on its back

Monday, March 7th, 2005

The white sedan finally came to rest infront of my eyes. Driving down at 60kmph, the first thought that registered on my mind was how I was supposed to go around that. The second thought made more sense though: Somebody’s car just flipped upside down infront of me..

I slam the brakes, punch the hazard lights and take off running. Already a group of passerby’s have come to the rescue, the loudest of them issuing instructions in Arabic, a possible quiet leader working away furiously to open the door and pull out the passengers. I open the other door. It’s stuck. I yank it, pushing the car slightly. Everything is upside down, I see a man in a white thobe slowly being pulled out of the car. I speak loudly, instructing him to keep moving, to keep moving ya rafeeq. Standing up, I turn around and yell out to my dad.

“Abbu! Call 911! CALL 911!”.

I run around the car to the other dozen helpers already there. The man is being questioned in Arabic by folks trying to get a reaction from him. Somewhere, someone has already pulled out his 6-7 year old son and is comforting the child. Everybody is focused on the passengers. I’m staring at the car next to me. It’s upside down. It’s upside down man. And it registers in my mind that the engine is still running, the wheels still moving slowly. Dropping to my knees, I crawl into the overturned vehicle. I don’t even think of the broken glass spilt on the floor-ceiling. I need to kill the engine before more damage occurs. I finally find the keys, crawl back out and hand them over to someone else, I don’t know who. It’s not as if somebody is going to steal the car anymore. Glancing over at the driver, I see that the sole of his feet are being rubbed to ensure blood circulation or for some other reason. I don’t know. I know my work here is done and I slide out of the crowd and walk away.

I can do no more.