It really is what it sounds like. "Vodka eyeballing"—the practice of taking a "shot" of vodka by tipping a bottleful on to your exposed eyeball for a harder hit—seems to be conquering the English-speaking world. It's been widely observed on US college campuses since last year and unsurprisingly Brits—such as those in the video below—have proved equally enthusiastic. Although The Atlantic called the trend "likely more of a media-hyped YouTube phenomenon than actual craze," it's now become widespread enough to have caused concern down in Australia this week. Dr. Mark Medownick, the medical director of Medownick Laser Eye Clinic in Victoria, told the Herald Sun that vodka eyeballing is "dangerous and stupid," and that "vodka belongs in the mouth, not the eye." He explained: "Direct application of alcohol to the delicate tissues of the cornea can cause excruciating pain, burns and ulceration... It may even lead to temporary blindness until the corneal surface heals." And potential damage to the optic nerve could possibly make the blindness permanent. What's more, vodka eyeballing may not actually achieve its aim of getting the "drinker" drunk faster. Although Dr. Elise Brisco of the Hollywood Vision Center told KTLA last year that the technique gives you an extra buzz, "because it's going into the central nervous system into the brain," other experts disagree. "The number of blood vessels in the conjunctiva, the outer skin of the eye, is not enough to promote significant absorption," said Medownick. Meanwhile one young Australian who's witnessed the bizarre practice gave another reason for its ineffectiveness: "You don't get drunk faster because most of the vodka goes on the floor."
After blowing a .12 and almost doubling the speed limit last week, standout linebacker Cornelius Washington will sit out the Georgia Bulldogs' next two games. UGA policy mandates that a DUI means the offending athlete must miss 20% of the regular season. Coach Mark Richt declared, "He is going to take his punishment like a man." Clearly there have to be consequences, but does punishment always make for good policy? Washington is of an age where it's difficult to pin him with an accurate diagnosis. Maybe he is alcoholic—a willingness to drive drunk would suggest the possibility—but maybe it's not so clear. After all, in the alcohol-fueled sports world, getting drunk can be pretty hard to avoid—and how many 22-year-old men do we know with good judgement? So what should the university do? Treatment could be an overreach, but at the same time, trying to "punish" alcohol offenses is rarely that effective. The University of Georgia athletic department has an annual budget of more than $77 million: this is big-time college sports. It's worth noting that punishment—the coach yelling at him and leaving him out—conveniently takes nothing out of that large budget. Treatment would require an investment. For all of the support systems in place in a major college athletic department, a social worker isn't one of them. That seems odd for a department catering to hundreds of late adolescent boys, many of them from poor or violent backgrounds. Sitting out a couple games may be the right consequence here, but is there any follow-up? In the booze-steeped sports culture, alcohol always seems to get a free pass.
- California Braces for Medical Marijuana Crackdown [CBS News]
- Makers of Cold Medicines Want List to Block Smurfers in Kentucky [Kentucky.com]
- Fast and Furious Weapons Found in Mexico Cartel Enforcer's Home [LA Times]
- Lawyer Proposes Addiction Defense for Teen Held in Bali [Sydney Morning Herald]
- British Women Drinking Themselves into "Oblivion" [Daily Mail]
- Canadian Convicted of 20th DUI [UPI.com]
- Teenage Babysitter Stole from Neighbor to Fund Porn Addiction [Daily Mail]
The death of Steve Jobs, the legendary co-founder and CEO of Apple, appears to have touched people around the world in a deeply personal way. Photos of memorials—from the makeshift to the high-tech; from Palo Alto, Calif., where he lived, to Pakistan and Peru—are circulating on millions of MacBooks and iPads and iPhones and other revolutionary products that he designed and retailed with such genius. Today his face is everywhere, his rags-to-riches saga retold, his entrepreneurial impact on the tech industry classed with the likes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. The media is already drafting his legacy, tossing out wise and witty things he said over the four fearless decades of his career. One of the most meaningful to us at The Fix was what he said in a commencement address at Stanford University in 2005, a year after his cancer diagnosis: "Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.…Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle."
But equally suggestive, at least to us, is a quote from Steve Jobs to New York Times reporter John Markoff, who interviewed him for his 2005 book What the Doormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer. Speaking about his youthful experiments with psychedelics, Jobs said, "Doing LSD was one of the two or three most important things I have done in my life." He was hardly alone among computer scientists in his appreciation of hallucinogenics and their capacity to liberate human thought from the prison of the mind. Jobs even let drop that Microsoft's Bill Gates would "be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once." Apple's mantra was"Think different." Jobs did. And he credited his use of LSD as a major reason for his success.
On a day when no fewer than three dozen drug bottles were produced as evidence, a defense attorney in the involuntary manslaughter trial of Michael Jackson’s private doctor, Conrad Murray, yesterday accused a coroner’s investigator of conducting slipshod evidence-collection and examination of the bedroom where the singer died in July 2009. In the most aggressive challenge to the prosecution since the LA-based trial began on Sept. 27, defense attorney Ed Chernoff grilled investigator Elissa Fleak about her handling of several pieces of evidence, her photography of the scene, and her documentation of her observations. Chernoff pointed out that Fleak’s photos showed a bottle of flumenazil—a drug used to reverse the sedative effects of benzodiazepines—on Jackson’s nightstand, but Fleak’s notes indicated she’d found it on the floor. Another benzo, lorazepam—also known as Ativan—was later determined to have been in Jackson’s body at the time of his death. Murray could possibly have tried to administer the flumenazil as an antidote to his patient's coma, hence its importance. Chernoff also accused Fleak of failing to document finding a bottle of propofol stashed inside an IV bag until almost two years after Jackson died—propofol is a powerful sedative hypnotic normally used only in surgery, which prosecutors claim killed the King of Pop. Chernoff suggested Fleak changed her notes to make them match the testimony of one of Jackson’s security guards—who said Conrad Murray told him to put the propofol bottle inside the IV bag and stick the bag in a closet. Fleak denied Chernoff’s charge that she’d made “a substantial amount of mistakes” in her investigation, retorting that no criminal investigation is error-free. In her testimony yesterday, Fleak cataloged the medications she’d found in Jackson’s bedroom and closet. Prosecutors displayed more than three dozen drug bottles logged into evidence on a table in front of the jury. The prosecution asserts Jackson died of acute intoxication from propofol in combination with other sedatives administered by Dr. Murray. The doctor, who shuttered his practice to accompany Jackson on what was to be his last tour, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
India's media is abuzz with reports about a female flight attendant who was arrested in Mumbai on Tuesday night after a hysterical fit of drunken rage ended up in a melee with police officers. 29-year-old Neema Lulla, who works for Mumbai-based Jet Airways, was arrested for driving recklessly and drunkenly along the city's busy Chincholi Bunder Road and smashing into one of Mumbai's ever-present auto-rickshaws. The rickshaw driver tried to reason with the sauced-up stewardess, cops say, but she responded by attacking him and followed up by lashing out at two police officers who tried to calm the scene. Her aggression continued when she was taken to the local police station. Lulla was only granted bail at 25,000 rupees after her father promised a court that he'd make sure her behavior wasn't repeated. But according to a woman who came forward yesterday, Lulla had been prone to similar acts of wrath in the past. Anita Satbir Singh Thukral, who has a disability, told NDTV of an even more shocking display of temper last September: "I was crossing the road on crutches, when her car came hurtling towards me. It took me a while to move away, and instead of helping me onto the pavement, she started abusing me for my slow pace. She threatened that she would run me over, and break my other leg as well." Thukral called the cops, who took her to a police station: "It was there that I came to know she is an airhostess. I was shocked, as their profession demands that they help people and be polite to them. Instead, she ran me over and displayed extremely disgraceful behavior." Quite. Although Lulla escaped prosecution on that occasion—after a friend persuaded her to apologize—she could be in deeper trouble this time round. And without some serious anger management work, only a foolhardy flyer would dare to ignore one of her safety demonstrations.