1618: "Cold Medicine"

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1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby keithl » Fri Dec 18, 2015 6:32 am UTC

Image
Title text: "Seriously considering buying some illegal drugs to try to turn them back into cold medicine."

Two recent comics with "cold" themes. I bet Randall normally works in isolation, and has a cold from the stress and the crowd exposure of the book tour. Funny that he did not get anthrax from the book he signed for me, must have been too low a dose.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:01 am UTC

Breathing Bad

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby kunsttyv » Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:39 am UTC

Hmm. Trying to post a comment, but getting flagged as spam. Not that surprising, since I'm commenting on the alt-text.

But, new attempt:
Somebody have taken the joke from the alt-text a bit further, including creating a "scientific article" in a bogus journal (Journal of Apocryphal Chemistry) on exactly how you can make this. I cannot link to the article (possibly because this is a new account), but if you google the journal name you will find the article (as pdf) and several places linking to it.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby djn » Fri Dec 18, 2015 10:59 am UTC


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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Dec 18, 2015 12:22 pm UTC

djn wrote:The alt text probably refers to this nifty paper:
A Simple and Convenient Synthesis of Pseudoephedrine From N-Methylamphetamine


Came here to say that, got ninja'd. Recommend curing cold with bobcat.
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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:01 pm UTC

rhomboidal wrote:Breathing Bad

And the followup series: Breathing Better.
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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby wormspeaker » Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:50 pm UTC

I'm with Randall on this one. They make me feel like a criminal when I try to buy a cold medicine that actually works.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:57 pm UTC

Neil_Boekend wrote:
rhomboidal wrote:Breathing Bad

And the followup series: Breathing Better.


And the pre-quel series, Better Not Kiss Saul, He's got the Flu
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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby Mindfield » Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:06 pm UTC

Being that I'm just getting over a now-3-week-old cold that spent most of that time in my chest trying to get out like a chestburster, resulting in me buying several types of (off-the-shelf) cold medication, I got a kick out of today's comic. *cough*

Benylin, Buckley's, NyQuil, my old friends.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby ebow » Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:06 pm UTC

Randall must have the cold I got over last week, which lasted for about 3 weeks in all. It suuuuucked. Thanks, kids.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby ebow » Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:09 pm UTC

wormspeaker wrote:I'm with Randall on this one. They make me feel like a criminal when I try to buy a cold medicine that actually works.


"Guantanamo-schmantanamo---just give me the real pseudoephedrine."

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby orthogon » Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:19 pm UTC

I thought the cold & flu tablets I took a couple of weeks ago had a disappointing decongestant action. Now I know why: phenylephrine is not proven to be better than placebo. Also I suspect that the packets of Dolex Gripa that we brought back from Colombia contained the good stuff, though according to that link they've been reformulated too: not surprising since it's a GSK product. Does anyone in Colombia bother with crystal meth?
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby Neil_Boekend » Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:30 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:I thought the cold & flu tablets I took a couple of weeks ago had a disappointing decongestant action. Now I know why: phenylephrine is not proven to be better than placebo.

Nothing inherently wrong with using a placebo as a cold medicine. It's only a problem when there are side effects involved. The human body is immensely capable of fooling itself.
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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby peewee_RotA » Fri Dec 18, 2015 6:30 pm UTC

JUST GIMME ONE OF EVERY KIND OF COLD MEDICINE YOU NEED ID TO BUY


I'm trying to think of a medicine that requires you to capture a rodent in your bare hands, bite into it raw, and then growl at everyone around to let them know it's yours.

Perhaps Thorazine?
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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby orthogon » Fri Dec 18, 2015 6:40 pm UTC

Neil_Boekend wrote:
orthogon wrote:I thought the cold & flu tablets I took a couple of weeks ago had a disappointing decongestant action. Now I know why: phenylephrine is not proven to be better than placebo.

Nothing inherently wrong with using a placebo as a cold medicine. It's only a problem when there are side effects involved. The human body is immensely capable of fooling itself.

Yeah, but the problem is that it stops working once you know it's just a placebo. I don't normally have any sympathy for homeopaths, but in this case I have to say damn you, you scientists with your double-blind RCTs, making my cold worse than it needed to be!

Oh, and crystal meth producers, I hope you spend the winter feeling shitty and that your noses run snot all over your precious drug money. This is all your fault, you bastards.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby marsilies » Fri Dec 18, 2015 6:48 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:Yeah, but the problem is that it stops working once you know it's just a placebo.

Actually, it may keep working even after you know it's a placebo:
https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn ... yre-fakes/
http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-me ... e-placebos

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby orthogon » Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:25 pm UTC

marsilies wrote:
orthogon wrote:Yeah, but the problem is that it stops working once you know it's just a placebo.

Actually, it may keep working even after you know it's a placebo:
https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn ... yre-fakes/
http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-me ... e-placebos

That second one is interesting. Basically the researcher misled the subjects initially about the gel, but it's not clear whether he came clean about the way he was adjusting the temperature; if not then the real difference in pain would be at odds with the researcher's story, and the reality might win. Even if he did, why do we expect the subjects to wholeheartedly believe the "true" story when they know they've been brazenly lied to already? Once bitten, twice shy, perhaps.

There's also a bit of an analogy with pseudoephedrine: the real effects I got from that might influence my subjective impression of how effective the phenylephrine was, because at some level I believe that they're supposed to be similar chemicals. The latter somehow benefits from the glow of the former.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby p96 » Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:44 pm UTC

Benadryl (dry up drainage) and vodka (expectorant).

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby jc » Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:09 pm UTC

p96 wrote:Benadryl (dry up drainage) and vodka (expectorant).

Served in a martini glass, of course. WIth maybe a slice of lime.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby djn » Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:10 pm UTC

orthogon wrote:
Neil_Boekend wrote:
orthogon wrote:I thought the cold & flu tablets I took a couple of weeks ago had a disappointing decongestant action. Now I know why: phenylephrine is not proven to be better than placebo.

Nothing inherently wrong with using a placebo as a cold medicine. It's only a problem when there are side effects involved. The human body is immensely capable of fooling itself.

Yeah, but the problem is that it stops working once you know it's just a placebo. I don't normally have any sympathy for homeopaths, but in this case I have to say damn you, you scientists with your double-blind RCTs, making my cold worse than it needed to be!

Oh, and crystal meth producers, I hope you spend the winter feeling shitty and that your noses run snot all over your precious drug money. This is all your fault, you bastards.


I wonder if meth in small amounts works on colds? It's in the same family as everything else that helps, so it very well might.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby rmsgrey » Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:17 pm UTC

I'm told that if you give someone a totally inert pill, telling them that it's completely inert, with no ingredients that could possibly help them in any way, but, because of the placebo effect, it should still help them anyway, then they do feel better.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby Mikeski » Sat Dec 19, 2015 4:40 am UTC

marsilies wrote:
orthogon wrote:Yeah, but the problem is that it stops working once you know it's just a placebo.

Actually, it may keep working even after you know it's a placebo

That makes sense; we're making better placebos all the time. At least for painkillers and antidepressants...

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby ShadeTail » Sat Dec 19, 2015 6:02 am UTC

wormspeaker wrote:I'm with Randall on this one. They make me feel like a criminal when I try to buy a cold medicine that actually works.

It's an imperfect solution, but the law really has drastically reduced the number of illegal meth labs. And that's definitely a good thing, what with all the explosions and toxic waste they tended to produce (never mind the meth).

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby orthogon » Sat Dec 19, 2015 9:36 am UTC

djn wrote:I wonder if meth in small amounts works on colds? It's in the same family as everything else that helps, so it very well might.

Yes, in fact it's "a powerful decongestant", according to the Hai and Hakkenshit paper cited above. The problem, in their view, is the side effects
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby sotanaht » Sun Dec 20, 2015 2:25 am UTC

orthogon wrote:
djn wrote:I wonder if meth in small amounts works on colds? It's in the same family as everything else that helps, so it very well might.

Yes, in fact it's "a powerful decongestant", according to the Hai and Hakkenshit paper cited above. The problem, in their view, is the side effects


I was going to say the same thing, but considering that paper comes from the "Journal of Apocryphal Chemistry" you can't really use it as a source. There IS a citation for that information, so it might be accurate, but it's not a source I can personally verify.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby orthogon » Sun Dec 20, 2015 10:41 am UTC

sotanaht wrote:
orthogon wrote:
djn wrote:I wonder if meth in small amounts works on colds? It's in the same family as everything else that helps, so it very well might.

Yes, in fact it's "a powerful decongestant", according to the Hai and Hakkenshit paper cited above. The problem, in their view, is the side effects


I was going to say the same thing, but considering that paper comes from the "Journal of Apocryphal Chemistry" you can't really use it as a source. There IS a citation for that information, so it might be accurate, but it's not a source I can personally verify.

I suppose that, for some reason, I felt that authors who go to the trouble to write a spoof paper like that are likely to be especially meticulous in the accuracy of the chemistry and citations. Part of what makes those things funny is the contrast between the seriousness and rigour, and the ridiculous nature of the subject matter. In fact, of they were just going for laughs, they needn't have mentioned the decongestant effects of the meth; most readers wouldn't have guessed that it had any, and it partly undermines the need for their synthesis. But, yeah, I guess the point is that it should sound convincing; neither the pharmacology nor any of the citations actually need to be correct.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby jewish_scientist » Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:38 pm UTC

If you think that study is funny, you should check out the Annals of Improbable Research. My favorite article of there's is 'The Taxonomy of Barney' because it has the line, "The X-ray emitter had only short exposure times, thus we believe that the human subjects in proximity to Barney were in no danger greater than were the residents of Chernoble." Close runner-ups are 'The Dead Grandmother/Exam Syndrome' and 'The Sleep-Retardant Properties of My Ex-Girlfriend'. The article 'Does a Cat Always Land on Its Feet?' truly surprised me with its results (I am not being sarcastic). The math were a little beyond me, but 'Horse Calculus' is a great example of applied advanced mathematics. Perhaps the most relevant to the current conversation is 'The Need for Double-Strength Placebos'.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby grkvlt » Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:55 pm UTC

djn wrote:
orthogon wrote:
Neil_Boekend wrote:
orthogon wrote:I thought the cold & flu tablets I took a couple of weeks ago had a disappointing decongestant action. Now I know why: phenylephrine is not proven to be better than placebo.

Nothing inherently wrong with using a placebo as a cold medicine. It's only a problem when there are side effects involved. The human body is immensely capable of fooling itself.

Yeah, but the problem is that it stops working once you know it's just a placebo. I don't normally have any sympathy for homeopaths, but in this case I have to say damn you, you scientists with your double-blind RCTs, making my cold worse than it needed to be!

Oh, and crystal meth producers, I hope you spend the winter feeling shitty and that your noses run snot all over your precious drug money. This is all your fault, you bastards.


I wonder if meth in small amounts works on colds? It's in the same family as everything else that helps, so it very well might.


Dunno about meth, but heroin was certainly promoted as a generic cure-all by Bayer, as described in this article which shows an advert recommending it for "children suffering from coughs, colds and irritation". Sadly, I believe heroin is contra-indicated with methamphetamines due to the side-effects of massive addiction, poverty and homelessness.

bayer-heroin-bottle.jpg
Heroin Bottle
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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby da Doctah » Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:25 pm UTC

I know opium (and presumably heroin as well) is supposed to be good for diarrhea.

Did anyone but me see the title of this strip and assume there was going to be wordplay about "medicine you keep in the fridge"?

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby ijuin » Wed Dec 23, 2015 8:43 am UTC

Heroin was created to be less addictive and have less side effects than straight-up natural opiates, but it's still pretty addictive, which is why we have now moved to using Morphine, which is less addictive than Heroin though still addictive enough to stay prescription-only.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby ManaUser » Thu Dec 24, 2015 1:09 am UTC

ijuin wrote:Heroin was created to be less addictive and have less side effects than straight-up natural opiates, but it's still pretty addictive, which is why we have now moved to using Morphine, which is less addictive than Heroin though still addictive enough to stay prescription-only.

Apparently heroin (under the name diamorphine) is still used medically in the UK. I was a bit surprised to learn this recently. Not sure why they still use it an most other countries don't.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby orthogon » Fri Dec 25, 2015 11:12 am UTC

Update: Having spent the night breathing through my mouth, coughing and blowing my nose, I can now confirm that phenylephrine does absolutely bugger all for congestion. Anecdotal, schmanecdotal.
xtifr wrote:... and orthogon merely sounds undecided.

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Re: 1618: "Cold Medicine"

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Dec 25, 2015 4:35 pm UTC

ManaUser wrote:
ijuin wrote:Heroin was created to be less addictive and have less side effects than straight-up natural opiates, but it's still pretty addictive, which is why we have now moved to using Morphine, which is less addictive than Heroin though still addictive enough to stay prescription-only.

Apparently heroin (under the name diamorphine) is still used medically in the UK. I was a bit surprised to learn this recently. Not sure why they still use it an most other countries don't.

Pretty straightforward, isn't it? It works medically, so they reasonably continue to use it. Other countries reasonably recognized that it sounded daft because the product was known as a street drug and stopped. Results are probably fairly similar between the two, and there's enough isolation that the cultural inertia in group A and the cultural inertia in group B don't come into contact and conflict.

jewish_scientist wrote:My favorite article of there's is 'The Taxonomy of Barney' because it has the line, "The X-ray emitter had only short exposure times, thus we believe that the human subjects in proximity to Barney were in no danger greater than were the residents of Chernoble."


Theriot, et al. wrote:To examine this, we compared various physical characters of Barney with the characters of other mammals, reptiles, birds, and fish. We selected characters based on their affinities across the spectrum of vertebrates. We added or discarded characters until we achieved the results we believed, then stopped.

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