Daily archives: May 31st, 2010

Study: Marijuana Smoking Associated With Minimal Changes In Driving Performance

Marijuana may not impact driving, according to a new study.


Subjects exhibit virtually identical psychomotor skills on a battery of driving simulator tests prior to and shortly after smoking marijuana, according to clinical trial data published in the March issue of the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs.

Investigators from Hartford Hospital in Connecticut and the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine assessed the simulated driving performance of 85 subjects in a double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Volunteers responded to various simulated events associated with automobile crash risk — such as avoiding a driver who was entering an intersection illegally, deciding to stop or go through a changing traffic light, responding to the presence of emergency vehicles, avoiding colliding with a dog who entered into traffic, and maintaining safe driving during a secondary (in-the-car) auditory distraction. Subjects performed the tests sober and then again 30 minutes after smoking a single marijuana cigarette containing either 2.9 percent THC or zero THC (placebo).

Investigators reported that volunteers performed virtually the same after smoking cannabis as they did sober and/or after consuming a placebo. "No differences were found during the baseline driving segment (and the) collision avoidance scenarios," authors reported.

Let the discussion begin.

More here.

Job Market Thaws Slightly for 2010 Grads


This year’s graduates may find a few more jobs than last year’s grads..

No, this is not the news we had been waiting for. The economy is still in recovery mode, but some indicators are looking better.

From the Sun-Times:

The National Association of Colleges and Employers spring job outlook survey revealed employers plan to increase college hiring by 5.3 percent this year from 2009. A separate NACE student survey found 24.4 percent of responding graduating college seniors who applied for jobs said they had jobs waiting this year. That is up from 19.7 percent who said so a year earlier, but still no major turnaround.

Staff at local universities said they have not yet completed their surveys of students’ job search results. But job postings are up at some. Still others have seen dropoffs in employer interest as the shaky economy continues to make it tough for graduates to launch their careers.

Still, the numbers are all over the place in Chicago:

The University of Chicago has seen a 36 percent increase in job postings this year compared to last, and the number of recruiters on campus rose 23 percent, said Marthe Druska, senior associate director, Career Advising & Planning Services.

At DePaul University, April job postings — the most recent data available — were up 37 percent. Still, that was 40 percent below April 2008, notes Carol Montgomery, associate vice president of career and money management at DePaul. The university meanwhile saw an 11 percent drop in the 2009-10 year in the number of employers attending job fairs this year compared to last, she said.

Job postings and internships at the University of Illinois at Chicago fell 10 percent, and employers attending job fairs declined 33 percent, said Katherine Battee-Freeman, assistant director for recruitment.

Graduating seniors here expected a tough time in their job search. Among them was DePaul business student Jacqueline Scharf, who majored in operations management.

To the grads, remember, any job "in the meantime" is better than sitting on mom and dad’s couch. So suck it up, get over yourself, and get out there. Work fast food or drive a cab, whatever it takes. Stay active and show employers you want to work and can do so dependably.

BP: The Only People Qualified to Stop the Oil Spilling into the Gulf, and They Haven’t Got a Clue

Gulf Oil spill video

From the live feed courteously provided by BP, May 31, 2010, ca. 10:45 CST.

We need to face it: “They” have no idea what they’re doing.

“They.” You know who “they” are. “They” are the ones who are supposed to know these things. “They” are the ones who say all those neat thing, you know, as in, “They say.”

In this case, “they” are BP, British Petroleum, those responsible for what is now the greatest ecological disaster the United States has ever known.

And, yes, we can blame the government of the good ol’ US of A.

First, allow me to add my voice to the chorus of voices thanking President George W. Bush for working so hard to create such an affable relationship between the oil industry execs and those in our government responsible for regulating them. Thanks so much to President George W. Bush putting the oil industry first, over and above the health and welfare of the citizens of the United States. Thanks so much to President George W. Bush for trusting the oil industry to essentially police itself.

That is well-deserved, my friends.

I don’t know yet if President Barack Obama should have reacted more quickly, if President Obama dropped the ball in working to regulate the oil industry.

I do know that if President Obama had reacted more quickly, perhaps sent the U.S. Navy to the Gulf of Mexico to plug the leak, I doubt we would be any better off. Please, no offense at all to our men and women who serve, but the United States Armed Forces don’t train for oil recovery or oil well disaster management.

That’s supposed to be what British Petroleum and all those other wonderful oil companies do.

And get this, British Petroleum is using dispersants that are banned in the United Kingdom, and using them in quantities greater than dispersants have ever been used in the history of U.S. oil spills.

This time, the great “They” are British Petroleum, the great BP, and they haven’t got a clue what to do about this oil leak.

The latest is that BP is trying once again to use a dome to funnel some of the leaking crude to a tanker on the surface. The New York Times gives us the good news:

If successful — and after the string of failures so far, there is no guarantee it will be — the containment dome may be able to capture most of the oil, but it would not plug the leak. Its failure would mean continued environmental and economic damage to the gulf region, as well as greater public pressure on BP and the Obama administration, with few options remaining for trying to contain the spill any time soon.

If unsuccessful, that will leave the Gulf with gushing oil at least through August, which is the earliest engineers will be able to engineers “complete the drilling of a relief well, which would allow them to plug the leaking well with cement,” the NYTimes reports.

They haven’t got a clue.