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Is Neurostim Becoming a Reality?

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the implantable-happy-sauce dept.

Biotech 249

destinyland writes "There is a current mass market for 'cognitive enhancement' products — and arguments about the black market potential for neurostim. 'The same neurostim device that uses electric impulses from a brain implant to treat people with Parkinson's Disease can be tweaked by a few millimeters and pulse rates to make cocaine addicts feel like they are high all the time... Mix the glamour of surgical self-improvement with the geekiness of high-tech gadget fetishism and you have a niche cosmetic neurostim market waiting to be tapped...'"

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"...the glamour of surgical self-improvement..." (4, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545050)

You are suggesting do-it-yourself brain surgery? I guess that would be "glamourous". If it works. And if it doesn't, it might win you a Darwin award.

Re:"...the glamour of surgical self-improvement... (4, Funny)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545214)

Look pal, it's easy. You just take this neurospike and that hammer and apply according to the instructions. Now, you'll get a splitting headache afterward, but that goes without saying.

If your still interested in my other products, check out my new and improved nut-vice. Pure pain with pleasure!

Not DIY (2, Insightful)

Kagato (116051) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545400)

Who needs DIY when you could get your local Dr. Nick Riviera to do a little neurosurgery! Perma Coke high? I can see some rich folks paying to have that done.

Look at something like steroids. For professional athletes that have to go to the black market it's illegal. But if you're an actor that needs to bulk up for a movie you can get a doctor to create a roid regiment and prescription for you. Perfectly legal.

Re:"...the glamour of surgical self-improvement... (4, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545412)

And if it doesn't, it might win you a Darwin award.

Or you might be a redneck.

Re:"...the glamour of surgical self-improvement... (2, Funny)

rdavidson3 (844790) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545478)

Oblig. Simpsons quote.

Dr. Nick: "I'll perform any operation for $129.95! Come in for brain surgery and receive a free Chinese finger trap!"

Re:"...the glamour of surgical self-improvement... (5, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545630)

Peter: Egon, this reminds me of the time you tried to drill a hole in your head. Remember that?
Egon: That would have worked if you hadn't stopped me.

Possibilities. . . (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545090)

Can I get one tweaked to give me a mind blowing orgasm every time I blink my eyes in rapid succession 10 times?

Re:Possibilities. . . (4, Informative)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545170)

    If I recall correctly, yes. There was some work on electrical stimulation on spinal injury patients, and one slightly wrong setting would give women orgasms. Oops. :) The doctor is selling the device, now named "Orgasmatron", for women who can't climax. Of course, it costs a fortune, but hey, for mind blowing orgasms on demand, some people would pay for it.

    I've known some women who report similar results with a "TENS" unit. That's external stimulus, but the same idea. I have a TENS unit for my back, and it creates a pretty weird sensation. Well, unless you consider involuntary muscle movements normal. I don't know what the placement of the electrodes is, for an orgasm. I know what makes my back feel better though.

Re:Possibilities. . . (3, Insightful)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545194)

There was some work on electrical stimulation on spinal injury patients, and one slightly wrong setting would give women orgasms. Oops.

I believe that there are a whole lot of people who would not consider this an "oops" by any means.

Re:Possibilities. . . (2, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545206)

Or a “wrong” setting.

Re:Possibilities. . . (4, Funny)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545772)

I've known some women who report similar results with a "TENS" unit.

I'd like my orgasmatron to go up to "ELEVENS" personally.

Re:Possibilities. . . (3, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545968)

You city folk crack me up. If you've ever seen Bull semen collection [world-agriculture.com] ...

You would realize that TENS units are for wimps. You'll want a cattle prod.

Re:Possibilities. . . (1)

CxDoo (918501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545278)

"every time" and "mind blowing" - pick one.

Predicted by the Strugatsky brothers (4, Interesting)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545104)

The name of the science fiction book [amazon.com] in Russian would translate as something like "Predating things of the times". I don't think, an English translation is available (yet?), although plenty of their other books have already been translated [amazon.com] .

(Benevolent) secret police investigate strange goings-on in a leisurely resort town. They discover a very simple to make device is capable of giving a very strong pleasure — endlessly (until the user is interrupted, or the body starves and dies, or — on very rare occasions — the user's own will prevails). The town's attitudes toward the device and its users, as well as similar (but not as all-encompassing) devices are examined...

Re:Predicted by the Strugatsky brothers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545152)

So it's just a substitute for those few illicit drugs that do the exact same thing? WTF would anyone want that? Make it pleasurable in a controlled manner, jeesh.

Re:Predicted by the Strugatsky brothers (2, Informative)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545438)

So it's just a substitute for those few illicit drugs that do the exact same thing?

Admittedly far from expert, I still don't believe, there currently exist drugs giving "exact same" effect as the device described in the book. Nor can they exist even in theory, I think, because all chemicals have to be delivered indirectly (through blood) and thus will always a) have side-effects; and b) wear out. Their wearing out means, the user would have to "wake up" to replenish, thus giving him a chance to come to his senses.

The device in the book works on the brain directly and can work forever — as long as electricity (and hot water) are available in the house...

Make it pleasurable in a controlled manner, jeesh.

"Controlled" by whom? Very few of the users currently experiencing the effects would willingly stop. That's the whole point of the book, actually...

My name is Louis Wu (5, Funny)

bmo (77928) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545116)

And can I have my droud back, please?

Thanks

--
BMO

Re:My name is Louis Wu (1)

Ringthane (415537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545244)

And can I have my droud back, please?

Thanks

-- BMO

I've got a tasp here to "make your day" till you get your droud back.

Re:My name is Louis Wu (1)

Old Sparky (675061) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545730)

Sooo...we're currently laying the groundwork for Louie Wu's addiction?

New drug for the morons (0, Flamebait)

Sirusjr (1006183) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545122)

I don't know about anyone else but every person I know who uses drugs on a regular basis is a complete moron and doesn't have anything better to do than getting doped up and hanging out and talking with their friends for hours about nothing. I fail to see how this will be useful for anyone else because I doubt you would want to sit around and read a novel while you are high whether its from drugs or some brain simulation. Now won't you kids get off my lawn so I can sit here peacefully and read a book on my vacation.

Aye Aye (5, Funny)

mbkennel (97636) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545198)

All those neurostimming drug fiends always hog the best tables at my internet provider [starbucks.com] , doing stupid stuff, reading junk and talking about nothing when they could be recompiling their C compiler.

Re:Aye Aye (2, Funny)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545366)

Oh, you use Gentoo! ;D

Re:New drug for the morons (2, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545308)

doesn't have anything better to do than getting doped up and hanging out and talking with their friends for hours about nothing.

We've already got Slashdot for that.

Re:New drug for the morons (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545364)

hanging out and talking with their friends for hours about nothing

You know, all those non-geeks thinks the basement dwelling nerds that doesn't talk to their friends are the weirdos. Go figure, huh.

Don't be so quick to judge.

Re:New drug for the morons (4, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545488)

I don't know about anyone else but every person I know who uses drugs on a regular basis is a complete moron

You, of course, include caffeine in those drugs.

Re:New drug for the morons (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545774)

Wait now - you can bash all the drugs in the world, but MY DRUGS are sacred. Lay off the nicotine and caffeine, and we'll get along just fine.

Besides - isn't coffee where vitamin C comes from?

Re:New drug for the morons (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545514)

You don't know about the functional one
Opiate even if it completely nullify one emotional life can leave you pretty functional
I used to get high all the time at work using snorted hydromorphone and I used to get raised and perk
Now that I am sober I look like an hippy and I am not a productive member of society

Re:New drug for the morons (1, Flamebait)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 4 years ago | (#30546002)

Well, given that virtually incomprehensible post (I got the part about drugs), I'm not sure whether to recommend you restart the hydromorphone or give sobriety a bit more time.

Re:New drug for the morons (5, Insightful)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545592)

I don't know about that. I was a teenager in the 70s when it was almost socially acceptable among people under 30 to smoke pot. I've known plenty of people who indulge fairly regularly (say on the order of once a week or even a bit more) who probably weren't much different than if they'd never used at all. It's dangerous to make such generalizations as "dope makes you a dope", because practically no generalization of that sort is *always* true. Often they can be true enough to be worth paying attention to without being *usually* true.

I've also seen the other side, the people who effectively rewired their brains and lives around dope. It's very easy to do, because so much of what we as animals do is avoiding pain and seeking pleasure. As *humans*, we are driven by something more as well: dissatisfaction. The Pali word "dukka" which is often translated when discussion Buddhism as "suffering" might better be translated as "dissatisfaction". Most of the "suffering" in our life is not grand enough to be called "suffering". It's a niggling, persistent dissatisfaction with the things we thought would make us happy. The very low intellectual standards of people who are stoned are a consequence of easy satisfaction. They laugh at jokes that aren't funny because their standards of funny are low. They don't mind physical squalor because they are beyond dissatisfaction.

It's a funny thing; pain, pleasure and dissatisfaction drive us as individuals, but they aren't there for *our* benefit. They improve us as a *species*. We may wish to subscribe to a philosophy of ethical egoism, but we're still constructed neurologically so the quality of our subjective experience serves the species. Surely it would be to our benefit to live a life devoid of pain and full of pleasure and satisfaction. Any counter argument to this is bound to rest on the benefit to society or to the species, not to us as individuals.

It is conceivable that we could, in a sense, take charge of our lives, truly live them for ourselves, by using biomedical technology to control pain, pleasure, and over time even *dissatisfaction*. But I doubt in such a world read books. Why would we?

When you see a book, you anticipate the pleasure of reading it. Why bother reading it if you can get pleasure at the push of a button? Oh, at first you would make a distinction between "earned" and "unearned" pleasure, but one day you'd be a little tired and instead of picking up the book you'll push the happy button, and sooner or later you'll be going for the happy button because you won't tolerate the effort of reading. In fact it's a kind of intellectual lust that drives us to read, isn't it? And lust is kind of a pleasurable pain; a deficit we imagine in ourselves that is pleasant to fill; an itch that we scratch. If we can eliminate the itch and get the pleasure of scratching, we won't be any kind of lust, physical or intellectual, because we won't accept any kind of discomfort.

I remember working on the early Arpanet, and the amazement of seeing text from a computer appear, printed line by line on a printing terminal. The equivalent of a Slashdot article and its comments would probably have taken fifteen or twenty minutes to "load", but to *us* this was information traveling at amazing rates. Now we consider *any* perceivable delay as intolerable; there is no sensation of speed, only of varying degrees of slowness.

People adjust their feeling of what is pleasurable and satisfactory to what they experience on a day to day basis. Read about how people lived a few centuries ago. YetI suspect people were just as happy or unhappy as they are now, even though the conditions they lived in -- even the aristocrats -- were miserable by modern standards. Our modern threshold of suffering is extremely low; of satisfaction extremely high. When we can control suffering and satisfaction biomedically, the process will not only have reached its logical limit, human life as we know it will cease to be, because that life is organized around the imperatives to seek elusive pleasure, to elude inevitable pain, and to suage unavoidable dissatisfaction.

Re:New drug for the morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545894)

Yeah that worthless Carl Sagan guy was a total moron stoner...

Re:New drug for the morons (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545920)

I don't know about anyone else but every person I know who uses drugs on a regular basis is a complete moron and doesn't have anything better to do than getting doped up and hanging out and talking with their friends for hours about nothing.

Most people you know who you say "do drugs" are probably doing pot, which yeah, is not very conducive to doing much productive in most fields anyway. Caffine is the most widely used stimulant, so I'd argue that most of the people you know are people who do mild stimulants.

It's worth pointing out that according to one poll 20% of our scientists [wired.com] already take "brain enhancing drugs," like ritalin. From personal experience I can tell you at least 20% of graduate students in the sciences and many more senior scientists do recreational drugs too, That portion that uses recreational drugs doesn't completely overlap with the portion that use brain enhancing drugs, and neither are the least productive portions of scientists.

So that's probably why we're stuck in the stone age, our scientists are too busy being morons and getting high. Or maybe you just don't really know what you're talking about.

Re:New drug for the morons (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545932)

I don't know about anyone else but every person I know who uses drugs on a regular basis is a complete moron and doesn't have anything better to do than getting doped up and hanging out and talking with their friends for hours about nothing.

You never know who might be using stimulants (amphetamines, methamphetamine, methylphenidate, modafinil) - all are available with prescription, and with the probable exception of methamphetamine, are stocked in most pharmacies.

Re:New drug for the morons (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30546010)

posting anon for obvious reasons

i'm a professional coder that smokes weed everyday _to_ work, you insensitve clod!

MMJ (2, Insightful)

Turbo_Button (1648215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30546036)

God forbid the terminally ill miss out on reading one last novel before they die Medical_cannabis [wikipedia.org]

Stimpacks... hmmm (2, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545136)

I'll be able to move faster, do more damage, and take more damage, all at a small cost of my health?

Fire it up!

Re:Stimpacks... hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545272)

You are doing it wrong! This is more like combining Med-X, Ultra Jet and Buffout into one concoction administered by a slow drip IV over a period of 168 hours.

Normal State (5, Interesting)

slifox (605302) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545144)

If one is "high all the time," then that state becomes the normal state, and anytime they aren't "high" means they are in a "low state." Both psychologically and physiologically, one can become tolerant or adjusted to certain states.

If something is special, doing it all the time detracts from its appeal.

Re:Normal State (1)

Token_Internet_Girl (1131287) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545196)

Unless one becomes addicted to the feelings it produces, either physically or emotionally. Then not doing it makes the original "Normal State" beyond miserable.

Re:Normal State (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545304)

"Pleasurable normal state" = "high state"
"Miserable normal state" = "low state"

Re:Normal State (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545752)

Um, I think that's what he means your normal state will become what would have been your high state. So you'll end up needing to turn up the power. Rinse and repeat. Till it kills you. This happens to many drug addicts. A girl who I was pursuing's father, whom I also knew through work had this. He was a Meth Addict and had taken court ordered drug testing. His test came back with what the laboratory consider three times a fetal level of Meth in ether his pee or blood. He didn't even consider himself HIGH when he went in to the lab. So the body and mind are very good at adapting to a new normal. The brain knows that you are not supposed to be feeling good.

Re:Normal State (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545204)

"If something is special, doing it all the time detracts from its appeal."

I think you do not understand how addiction works.

Re:Normal State (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545432)

Any addict will tell you that they've never been as high as the first time, or something similar.
The more you do it, the less pleasure (appeal) you get from it.

Additionally, the more you do it, the more it becomes your normal state. Thus when you don't do it, your body reacts with withdrawl pain (the low state).

Re:Normal State (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545744)

I think that would tend to be the case for chemical stimulation, but when it comes to other means of stimulation, matters of tolerance and resistance are different. For example, when applying electric potential to cause muscular contractions, they happen every single time. And barring tissue damage, the effect never goes away or decreases.

When chemical balances are at play, the tendency to move to balance at "center" is normal. This is not such a thing.

Re:Normal State (1, Interesting)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545796)

I hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but you can't define away a real phenomenon. That only works in philosophy journals. There, anything goes. Heck, prove space is Euclidean if you want, no one will call you on it until the physicists hear about it!

The way neurostim works is that it excites the brain activity that goes on when you take a sufficient dose of cocaine, whatever that happens to be. The phenomenon of "getting used to it" arises because, for whatever reason (such as chemical tolerance), you're not getting the same neurological activity from a given dose.

Re:Normal State (1)

Runaway1956 (1322357) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545832)

We see that in real life, all around us. A brother in law finally died after decades of being drunk. He was only sober on a very rare occasion. Abusing that liver finally paid off though. They didn't even consider giving him another liver, because he would have pickled the new one in short order. Ehhh.

Major problem... (3, Interesting)

religious freak (1005821) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545180)

You cannot reboot your brain if it crashes. From my perspective... no thanks, at least for the foreseeable future.

Re:Major problem... (2, Insightful)

d474 (695126) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545276)

Yeah, it's good way to brick-your-brain. Let the weirdos of the underworld test this out on themselves. There are a lot of humans (usually of the clubbing type) that are perfectly willing to act as guinea pigs because they buy into the idea that the "next thing" is going to open their mind to a whole new world. Let the successes rise out of that mountain of failures (bricked brains) and in 20 years we might actually have some functional neurostim products.

Re:Major problem... (3, Informative)

tonycheese (921278) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545472)

(usually of the clubbing type)...

???
I know people on slashdot don't get out much, but presuming that everyone who does are mindless zombies is a bit much, don't you think?

Re:Major problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545616)

You are correct despite being highly irrational. This is what you are talking about? [wikia.com] . I know it's just video game lore, but it matches what you say perfectly.

Re:Major problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545290)

yeah but I bet the games would be killer...literally...I keed I keed

Normal State of Ubermentality. (2, Interesting)

dwulf (1049894) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545192)

Curious if this could be the steroids of competitive academia?

The real high (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545232)

would be just feeling motivated, happy and loved all the time. That's the areas of the brain to stim.
Hell, could end most crime.

Re:The real high (3, Insightful)

XDirtypunkX (1290358) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545728)

Or make for happily motivated super criminals with a sense of entitlement because they think everyone loves them.

Wireheading a reality? (1)

seanellis (302682) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545242)

I'm skeptical (as usual), but if true, bring it on, Larry Niven style.

Now our addictive types get toasted on wall current instead of having to steal and carjack their way to their next fix? That seems like a step forward to me.

Legalize it so we don't get a load of back-street ecstasy peddlers giving everyone deep bone infections.

And then treat it as a public health issue, and let those susceptible to its lure breed themselves out of the population. It's just evolution in action.

Re:Wireheading a reality? (4, Insightful)

lattyware (934246) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545314)

Are you suggesting sensible behaviour from the war-on-drugs crowd? Please. If they were capable of that, then we'd already have legalised drugs. Let's face it, we can't stop drugs, and if we could control them at least they'd be clean, and the profits could go to making drugs for ill people or whatever rather than crime. It's not perfect, but it'd be better than the current situation. Of course, everyone has it beaten into them the current stance is the only good one.

Re:Wireheading a reality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545346)

Now our addictive types get toasted on wall current instead of having to steal and carjack their way to their next fix? That seems like a step forward to me.

I don't disagree in principle, but I can just picture most of them dying in the streets because they're too juiced to worry about mundane activities like eating and sleeping.

Then being subjected to constant news programs about the "wirehead menace" and its effects on society. Complete with tearful interviews with friends and relatives; "He/she had so much to live for *sob* *sob*", "It wasn't his/her fault", "Why don't they do something about it", yada, yada, yada

Re:Wireheading a reality? (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545434)

I suspect periodic brain surgery (electrodes in the brain don't work forever) would be far more expensive than buying your drug of choice at its free market value. Actually, it would probably be more expensive than buying your drug of choice at it's existing market value as well.

Why wait? (0)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545456)

Why wait for neurostim to deal with drugs this way? think about it.

Re:Wireheading a reality? (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545636)

Hm, I'm curious: how much would a continuous supply of life-sustaining IV and the electricity to run one of these neurostim things cost, per year?

Screw making me happy (4, Interesting)

lattyware (934246) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545288)

Screw making me happy, I can do that myself. Make one that stops me being lazy, I'll buy it in a second.

Re:Screw making me happy (3, Informative)

geekoid (135745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545352)

You might want to look into serotonin enhancers.

Re:Screw making me happy (5, Funny)

lattyware (934246) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545450)

Maybe later.

Re:Screw making me happy (1)

bakawolf (1362361) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545368)

..or at least once you got around to it, right?

Re:Screw making me happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545378)

Screw making me happy, I can do that myself. Make one that stops me being lazy, I'll buy it in a second.

Or maybe you won't. You know, maybe you'll do it tomorrow... It's not really like there's any rush...

Re:Screw making me happy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545494)

Screw making me happy, I can do that myself. Make one that stops me being lazy, I'll buy it eventually

FTFY

Even if cocaine was harmless... (0, Flamebait)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545336)

Even if cocaine and other drugs were completely harmless, their ability to give serious but unearned pleasure would seriously warrant their banning. I admit, that this sounds religion-motivated, but that's hardly a drawback of an argument...

Consider sex (yes, I said it) — the intense pleasure most participants derive from it is the reward for the excruciating pains of childbirth and hardships of the childrearing. Contrary to the wide-spread misunderstanding, the mainstream religions want us to have sex — as much as possible. They just want it all to be for the purpose of reproduction, rather than simple self-indulgence.

Now, what is the justification for a cocaine-user's pleasure? What did he do to deserve, what a Trainspotting's [imdb.com] character describes as "thousand times the most intense orgasm you've ever experienced"?

Of course, one needn't necessarily have earned all the pleasures of life — as long as one's habits don't interfere with others, one ought to be able to enjoy them. This is an individualist view, and I don't fully disagree. I would, however, be rather wary of such people: I wouldn't want one of them to marry my daughter, for example, as he may decide one day to stop caring for her. I wouldn't want my daughter to become such a person either, because I not only want my own grandchildren, I also want the Humanity to continue to exist (preferably — my brand of it, the Western Civilization).

So, even if cocaine did absolutely no harm to the body by itself — and the devices in TFA promise the cocaine-like effects without the chemical additiction — I wouldn't want to be near a user. Not saying, it should be illegal, but certainly frowned upon.

I'd suggest, we use these methods on the people either condemned to death for their crimes (capital punishment), or desiring to end their life on their own (suicide)...

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (2, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545370)

Even if cocaine and other drugs were completely harmless, their ability to give serious but unearned pleasure would seriously warrant their banning.

And who are you to say what does and what doesn’t constitute legitimately “earning” a form of pleasure that someone chooses to experience?

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (2, Insightful)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545484)

And who are you to say what does and what doesn't constitute legitimately "earning" a form of pleasure that someone chooses to experience?

Had you finished reading my post before replying to its beginning, you wouldn't have asked this question... In short, I'm not advocating legal ban on such undeserved pleasures, but express my disapproval of people indulging in them, for they will — and quickly — stop being helpful members of society or even family.

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545716)

And who are you to say what does and what doesn't constitute legitimately "earning" a form of pleasure that someone chooses to experience?

Had you finished reading my post before replying to its beginning, you wouldn't have asked this question... In short, I'm not advocating legal ban on such undeserved pleasures, but express my disapproval of people indulging in them, for they will — and quickly — stop being helpful members of society or even family.

Yet your very first sentence was;

Even if cocaine and other drugs were completely harmless, their ability to give serious but unearned pleasure would seriously warrant their banning

So, you - seriously! - want a ban on 'unearned pleasures'...in your head? Well, goody gum drops for you. You 'tut tut' away. The rest of us will try and come up with something more practical than your wagging finger to address the problem.

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (4, Insightful)

clone53421 (1310749) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545770)

Had you finished reading my post before replying to its beginning

I did. The fact that you’re not advocating a legal ban doesn’t make you seem any less a self-righteous jerk for looking down upon anyone who, in your opinion, didn’t earn something that they got.

For instance:

Consider sex (yes, I said it) — the intense pleasure most participants derive from it is the reward for the excruciating pains of childbirth and hardships of the childrearing.

Says who? So can I assume that you think masturbation is also an undeserved form of self-indulgence, and you wouldn’t want one of “them” to marry your daughter? Even if that habit didn’t “interfere with others”, because you’d still be “wary of such people”?

Because, as you say, a man who masturbates may some day just suddenly decide to stop caring for your daughter. Yeah. Why not just go a step farther and claim, since every man who cheats on his wife also has masturbated at some point, that all men who masturbate will cheat on their wives?

I'm not advocating legal ban on such undeserved pleasures, but express my disapproval of people indulging in them, for they will — and quickly — stop being helpful members of society or even family.

Right... just like everyone who enjoys alcohol, gambling, tobacco, etc. also invariably stops being a helpful member of society.

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (2, Insightful)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545474)

"Consider sex (yes, I said it) -- the intense pleasure most participants derive from it is the reward for the excruciating pains of childbirth and hardships of the childrearing. Contrary to the wide-spread misunderstanding, the mainstream religions want us to have sex -- as much as possible. They just want it all to be for the purpose of reproduction, rather than simple self-indulgence."

Pleasure isn't the reward, it's the enticement to get people to do the act and possibly make babies.

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (1)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545528)

Pleasure isn't the reward, it's the enticement

The hair-splitting (in this case) difference was hardly worth posting, was it?..

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (1)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545552)

At the time of the so-called "reward", you've done nothing more than following animal instincts. How does that qualify as "earning" it, as you are so concerned with?

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (1)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545674)

How does that qualify as "earning" it, as you are so concerned with?

I don't think, it matters to my point in the least, whether the "payment" is given after ("award") or before ("enticement"). That's why I call your follow-up "hair-splitting".

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545762)

Pleasure isn't the reward, it's the enticement

The hair-splitting (in this case) difference was hardly worth posting, was it?..

Well, you *DID* dignify it with a response.

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545518)

First off, you're quoting a movie and saying it's a fact. Cocaine doesn't give an intense pleasure a thousand times more intense than an orgasm. Anyone who says that is stupid and hasnt ever done it. Try it and you'll know what it does. It makes you talk a lot and grind your teeth and lets you stay up later to drink more beer. And yes it makes you feel good, but not even close to sex. It surely doesnt make you blow a load in your pants.
Second, what did i do to earn it? I dunno, maybe earned some money working that i should be able to spend however i want, unless self-righteous douches like you have their way. You seem to think that everyone who does drugs is a jobless addict. If that were true then there wouldn't be a market for blow after a short time, since users wouldn't have any money.

Think it through just a little bit more... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545538)

By allowing "those people" to spend their money on drugs you guarantee that you (and yours) will always have a competitive advantage over them.

By remaining drug-free, you will (presumably) be healthier, more intelligent, and wealthier. Thus, you will have access to higher class jobs, a higher class income, and higher class people with whom to socialize and breed.

If you raise your children to share your values, then they, too, will have this advantage.

The drug users will, as a consequence of their devotion to drug-use, have to continue working their dead-end jobs in order to feed their drug habit, thus filling an economic role which you do not want to fill.

Thus, making drugs legal is in the best interest of those who do not wish to use them.

Surely someone who is selfish enough to talk about "unearned pleasure" is selfish enough to allow others to make decisions that will help secure one's own place in the upper echelons of society...no?

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545544)

You are the kind of person that scares me. We've come beyond populating the planet and the last thing we need is more little brats to over-righteous religious nuts such as yourself.
The fact that you think "sex" is a taboo word is a good indication that you are not the kind of person I want to be regulating what I can do with my life. You probably got goosebumps and felt dirty typing sex didn't you?

Why should these things be frowned upon? Have you ever stopped to think about what you believe to be right and wrong and ever questioned them? I have. Instead of accepting every moral and ethic thrown at me by my heavy catholic community, when I reached the age of reason I began to question the things I was taught and learned what was truth and what was just societies opinion of what should be right.

I hope you are not the kind of person who spawns because its your "duty". I don't think their is anything worse for humanity then people who have kids because they feel they need to continue the species. There's too many! Stop it. Go get one of those orgasm buttons in your head and stop dooming this planet with your unwanted spawn. Stop making welfare babies and go win a darwin award for yourself. There's a big stockpile and we've got a lot to give out.

On a funny sidenote, captcha was "naughty".

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545756)

>>We've come beyond populating the planet and the last thing we need is more little brats to over-righteous religious nuts such as yourself.

Haven't looked at population growth rates in developed countries recently, have you?

All of the world's population growth is now coming from Third World countries. All the developed countries are losing people (not counting immigration).

So yes, we actually do need more babies in America.

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (4, Insightful)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545558)

Consider sex (yes, I said it) — the intense pleasure most participants derive from it is the reward for the excruciating pains of childbirth and hardships of the childrearing.

fapfapfap

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (3, Interesting)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545610)

> the intense pleasure most participants derive from it is the reward for the excruciating pains of childbirth and hardships of the childrearing.

Do you think we should frown upon infertile people having orgasms? I think you're insane.

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (1)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545726)

Do you think we should frown upon infertile people having orgasms?

No, because the body can only experience so many orgasms per day and a person — fertile or not — will not stop being productive due to the pursuit of such gratification.

The device in TFA, on the other hand (and cocaine — even if to a smaller extent) does have this ability to completely take a member out of society. I will frown on people seeking pleasure this way... And you will too, once your rage against me, whom you suspect of wanting to "ban sex" or something, settles down :-)

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (1)

Thiez (1281866) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545880)

So you admit the whole 'earned/unearned' thing is crap? I can see how one might agree with the second half of your post, but the first half doesn't make any sense. The whole 'sex feels good because it rewards you for the pains of childbirth and the hardships of childrearing' thing gives the impression that you think humans are 'intelligently designed'. Besides, I like to think my parents accept the hardships of childrearing because they actually like their children... not that they grudgingly accept me because sex happens to feel good.

What a load of crap! (1)

Raisey-raison (850922) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545800)

Even if cocaine and other drugs were completely harmless, their ability to give serious but unearned pleasure would seriously warrant their banning. I admit, that this sounds religion-motivated, but that's hardly a drawback of an argument...

Arguments like that boggle the mind. What is wrong with people actually experiencing pleasure? Do you have data that suggests that 'unearned' pleasure is ruinous as opposed to merely hypothesizing about what someone may do to your daughter? (BTW Perhaps your daughter can decide for herself what is appropriate for her.)

We know Combat stress reaction aka Shell shock does huge amounts of harm, so do traumatic childhood experiences and so does torture.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combat_stress_reaction [wikipedia.org]

They really cause mental illness, crime, lower workplace productivity and generally f*ck up society.

Of course its always the right wingers who love Jesus, who somehow think that pleasure = bad, torture = good and somehow use seriously fu**ed up reasoning to justify it.

And of course the earned pleasure of bankers who earn $150 million a year - that's SO TOTALLY earned. And those drug companies and health care lobbyists who use all there nice 'earned' money which was so rightfully earned to begin with. That's all pleasure that is morally right, sitting in their private yachts and jet-setting around in private planes. That' all OK, especially as its earned on the backs of the uninsured. Cause Jesus thinks it's MUCH MORE IMPORTANT that people not get too much pleasure and die cause they don't have health insurance. Good old moral values!

But god forbid some poor person who makes $8 an hour living on the poverty line who actually IS making an economic contribution by actually 'Working', if they want to get high - that is just SO bad. Can't have hard working and underpaid people enjoying life- no that's just for the rich. Cause the bible told me so.

We don't get to live for that long in the grand scheme of things - 70 - 90 years. Cant we just enjoy what little life we have?

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545882)

If you want to be so ephemeral on this topic, then I will attempt to explain things in that light... What you are alluding to is a desire to not let people "fall into hell." You see people that might sentence themselves to a life of torment via addiction, and see it as the wrong decision. You want to save people from falling into their own hell of drug addiction. Stop and think for a minute though: was Jesus even capable of this feat? Answer: No. Not even God Himself is willing to take away humans free will to save people from their own hell. Now stop trying to play God and save people from their hells. People must grow and know these lessons, not just merely learn them.
Almost all the negative comments you've gotten are because of the above statement, in that you are being self-righteous.

...You'd still call it satan's tool. (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545948)

this sounds religion-motivated, but that's hardly a drawback of an argument...

Well, actually, yes it is. Or at the very least it's cause to re-examine the argument and question it at a more fundamental level. Religions are often stuck in their ways and see tradition as a viture in and of itself. These systems are good when things are static, but they suffer when new technology changes how society functions, and they often fight back against that change. Religions aren't necessarily wrong about everything, indeed they're mostly right, but often for the wrong reason. So instead of taking religious dogma and thumping that, you should examine the dogma, use it to form an argument, and use that instead. And when an argument is whittled away and the only thing that remains is "butbutbut Religion!" that is indeed a sign that your argument is bad.

Stopping unmarried youths from having kids is a good idea. Family stability and all that. But the church didn't fight for family stability, they fought against sex. And not just unmarried sex. In their attempt to save the children (tm), they worked against every and all aspect of sex in society that the unmarried could come into contact with. That included the public and hence the effort to make sex taboo.

the intense pleasure most participants derive from it is the reward for the excruciating pains of childbirth and hardships of the childrearing

I'm a dude and I enjoy sex. I don't really expect childbirth to hurt all that much. And I've yet to enjoy raising children, but I hope they turn out better then your apparently satanic hellspawn.

Now, what is the justification for a cocaine-user's pleasure?

Well, he paid for it. That's the same justification I use when I play a game or enjoy a candy bar. Whatever floats you boat, right?

I have to agree with you that this could be abused. And there's plenty of sci-fi works to use as examples. But anything can be abused. Caffeine, trinkets, cats, power, religious fervor, food, fasting, gaming, isolation, social life, ANYTHING! And if someone takes part in/of a phenomena to an extent that it has negative consequences, THAT is the point to be concerned. And it's usually well before that point at which the person realizes the negative consequences and limits him/herself. But this is not a job I want delegated to the church and priests.

So take your right-wing-conservative-religious sense of morals and shove it.

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#30546012)

I admit, that this sounds religion-motivated, but that's hardly a drawback of an argument...

Yes, it is, becuase I don't share your religious view (or it seems many of your other views on life) so the underpinnings to your argument are shit to me.

Now, what is the justification for a cocaine-user's pleasure? What did he do to deserve, what a Trainspotting's [imdb.com] character describes as "thousand times the most intense orgasm you've ever experienced"?

Pretty sure that quote was talking about heroin, not cocaine. Anyway, when talking about someone doing something to themselves, they shouldn't HAVE to justify something to anyone but themselves. If I think "I should be able to do coke, because I got out of bed this morning," then that's the justification I'm going with, and the judges (me) are going to agree with me.

Of course, one needn't necessarily have earned all the pleasures of life — as long as one's habits don't interfere with others, one ought to be able to enjoy them. This is an individualist view, and I don't fully disagree. I would, however, be rather wary of such people: I wouldn't want one of them to marry my daughter, for example, as he may decide one day to stop caring for her.

What makes you say that last part? How do you go from "You haven't earned that feeling" to "You're gonna stop caring about my daughter." I don't follow the logic if there is any there.

I wouldn't want my daughter to become such a person either, because I not only want my own grandchildren, I also want the Humanity to continue to exist (preferably — my brand of it, the Western Civilization).

We've justified the cocaine-user's pleasure, what justifies you to make decrees on the future of civilization and humanity?

Re:Even if cocaine was harmless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30546054)

If xbox live is any indicator, the next generation has already lost all humanity. Might as well drug them more effectively.

Geneva Convention Five: Teabagging in Relation to Severity of Ownage Distributed

Did the definition of glamour change? (5, Funny)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545436)

Mix the glamour of surgical self-improvement

Yeah, until they find your body. Then it has all the "glamor" of autoerotic asphyxiation.

More Crichton Goodness! (1)

vdammer (796081) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545448)

Thank christ, another Michael Crichton reference. I was afraid they were taking an extended break.

The Terminal Man. "He's an elad." An electric addict. Stick wires in the brain to trigger responses from the pleasure centers. Push the button enough times and you're set for life, or at least until you pass out from not eating because you're loving the buzz. What a great world!

suicidal (2, Insightful)

gearloos (816828) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545454)

I can see it now in the police blog..."His batteries died and he commited suicide before they could be replaced"

Already Done in Sci Fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545468)

Larry Niven wrote about some thing just like this in Flatlander: The Collected Tales of Gil The Arm Hamilton. With low current the person would be in perpetual bliss and starve to death just out of reach of food as they wouldn't disconnect. I can see it happening, would be amazingly addictive.

Drugs are the future. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545496)

The ethical world of sticking something into someone elses brain is so complex, that I can't see it becoming reality any time soon. However, having your blood stream bring in some chemicals like Adderal, that is what is going to take off soon. Chemicals that are just mental steroids are the future, but society has still got to come to grips with them. I just got off finals and I would have loved something that made me want to sleep less and study more effectively. Oh, wait, there are drugs that do that, but possessing them would be cheating and a Federal crime.

I'm all for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30545510)

I'm for the legalization of choices that degrade the brain performance of those who makes these choices. It removes competition and increase my market value.

Niche? (1)

Overunderrated (1518503) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545714)

Oh I don't think so. Everyone would want this.

This is Ghost in the Shell (1)

socz (1057222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30545976)

I love that series because that is how life could be some day and more than likely will be some day!

Here are some things it covers:
Augmented brains - These give normal (natural) humans an "E-Brain" which allows them many digital advances.
Artificial appendages - For get that old peg leg pirate, that plastic manikin arm, or even that special Olympics bouncy leg/ankle/foot thingy! In the future we'll have straight out robocop style arms and legs!
Last but not least - implants! Oh yeah, not the sexy time, but the able to hack into other people's eyes and see what they're seeing implants! Yeah, get your eye balls replaced with artificial ones that have zoom built in! How about some that have different type's of filters? Such as infra red, just like the predator has! Finally, you'll have the people who'll have jammers, so make sure you don't get that cheap chinese stuff!

As mentioned above, the black market is/will be huge for this sort of thing, so you could very well get what you pay for, something they take into consideration in GITS... you get cheap shit, people with better equipment (govt/military) can hack/disrupt/nullify your devices (eyes, arms, body etc).

I totally see this happening. Who wouldn't want to have an e-brain? You can now store all your files in you! No worry about needing to remember things, just go diving around in your e-brain! But you better have a good firewall set up because you don't want to get hacked to mess yourself at the holiday party...

It'll take a long time but it will help life be a lot better. I would guess that it could possibly help some people like my grandma who's 93 (2 days ago!) and has Alzheimer's. Maybe it could have given her 15-20 years of life more worth living than not knowing who anyone is except at random moments in time. One can only hope right?

More Complete BS From h+ (2, Informative)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#30546006)

Let's just start with part of the headline material:

" 'The same neurostim device that uses electric impulses from a brain implant to treat people with Parkinson's Disease can be tweaked by a few millimeters and pulse rates to make cocaine addicts feel like they are high all the time..."

This (and TFA) is from "James Kent is the former publisher of Psychedelic Illuminations and Trip Magazine. He currently edits DoseNation.com, a drug blog featuring news, humor and commentary."

Hardly your neuroscience expert, or even much of an educated amateur. Educated enough to be dangerous to his own reputation perhaps. We can hope.

Where Mr. Kent goes wrong is in thinking the stimulator used for Parky's can stimulate other parts of the same structure (within a "few millimeters), the Substantia Nigra, which produced dopamine which is also released in cocaine use, and that this is the reward center, so that doing so makes one feel high.

The common misconception is based on the "reward" aspect, and confusion of cause and effect with respect to drug use. The reward system operates in the manner of conditioning or learning, in that its output helps to produce the association between a behavior and a reinforcer. Let's just assume for maximum illustration that the reinforcer here is a cocaine high. We have the drug taking behavior, and we have the cocaine high resulting. The dopamine system puts on the brakes with respect to ongoing seeking/investigating and lets the organism maintain focused attention on the object that produced the positive feeling -- it makes reinforcement possible. Note that it does not cause the high, the reinforcer does that. There are many reinforcers that can make learning occur, and most of them do not cause any sort of high. Just because cocaine causes a release of dopamine does not mean this is the source of the high. No, this is the source of the powerful reinforcement that causes addiction to start. Dopamine does not act as a "reward", it allows a reinforcer to do so effectively regardless of any psychotropic effects. It is the cascade of various neurotransmitters that causes the high. Evidence of this is found in the effect of pramipexole (Mirapex) on people. It is a selective dopaminergic and does not cause any high. But it does (at a high enough dosage) cause obsessive/compulsive use and behaviors much as an addiction and related activities.

Moving a Parky's stimulator will not produce a high, but it might produce the problems related to addiction.

I've previously pointed out the lack of facts in h+ articles, and the preponderance of fiction. This article starts out with the latter. Check the rest of it for yourself to see if there are any reliable facts actually taken from known science, or whether they are other common misconceptions put to service to fill white space.

As for cognitive enhancing drugs, amphetamines and such are behavior boosters, not capable of producing long term cognitive enhancement, unless by enhancement one means seeking more of the same. Cognitive enhancing drugs (nootropics) have been around for over 50 years. The first, hydergine, is the red headed step child of the man who called LSD "My Problem Child", Albert Hoffman. There are many such drugs in use throughout the world except for the US where they are allowed only in the cases where they will not help -- severe progressive dementia. In contract with the very lucrative drugs typically used as congitive enhancers, nootropics have very little side effects or interactions.

In the cases where cognitiion enhancement is possible, anything related to intoxication is contraindicated and counterproductive. Confusing "reward" with getting high, when it is intended only to related to learning reinforcement is key to understanding this. It is also key to determining whether the source is intent on getting smart or getting high, because the latter refuse to give up on the misconception.

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