Lithium Supplementation

An interesting opinion piece appeared in the New York Times today, suggesting that we supplement the drinking water supply with small doses of lithium to reduce the prevalence of mental health issues.

That sounds crazy.

My brain immediately associates lithium with lobotomies, straight jackets, and insane asylums.  Upon further research, these associations aren't fair: lithium was first experimented with in the straight-jacket-and-insane-asylum late 1800's, but in the 1950's it was rediscovered and became one of the first psychiatric pharmacological success stories.

As it turns out, lithium is naturally present in the Earth's crust at around 20 mg/kg and makes it into our drinking water at concentrations up to 0.2 mg/L.


Reviving a Wordpress Plugin and Building Competency

As a fun little aside, I decided to resurrect a 'dormant' Wordpress plugin that enables support for including every comment system, ever, in tabs.

The plugin is called Comments Evolved for Wordpress, and was originally called gPlus Comments before adding support for tabbed comments from Facebook, Disqus, Livefyre, Trackbacks, and native Wordpress.  Judging by the 60,000 downloads from the official site, it's been pretty popular.

The plugin hadn't been updated for about a year, and users were complaining that it didn't yet display comment numbers and didn't offer a way to link the Facebook portion to a Facebook App ID, which meant that there was no way to moderate Facebook comments.  This was especially a problem for those seeking to monetize their sites, because many advertising services won't work with sites that can't moderate their own comments.


Police Militarization

The police should not have the heavy weapons used by the military.  It invites excessive force and it's psychologically provocative to a population that already distrusts the police—by all accounts they should be seeking to do their jobs with as little force as possible, not rolling down the streets in armored personnel carriers like an occupying army.

Why do the police have armored personnel careers now?  Thank the federal 1033 Program, which has handed out $4.3 billion in our tax dollars' worth of surplus military hardware to other federal and state agencies.

Outside The Beltway has argued that "the war on drugs has done incalculable damage to the character of law enforcement by encouraging police officers to forget they are civilians".  Riding around in taxpayer-paid MRAPS with taxpayer-paid machine guns probably hasn't helped.

What hardware do your local police possess as a result of Program 1033?  Sorry, that's classified—the Defense Logistics Agency refuses to release the names of specific agencies for "security reasons".

You can, however, track 1033 Program acquisitions down to the county level.