The National Institute on Drug Abuse has just issued a warning notice (NOT-DA-09-025) that they plan to solicit proposals to:

develop a valid and reliable, standardized instrument that measures the propensity to and severity of drug addiction. The instrument is expected to provide transformational, scientific, technical, and practical utility for addiction research through its capacity to quantify the likelihood of becoming addicted (propensity) and an objective measure of the extent to which addiction manifests once developed (severity).
NIDA anticipates the award of one cost reimbursement contract for a period of 2-years with 2 twelve-month option periods.

Are kidding me? One of my favorite blog topics when it comes to drug abuse and they are going to actually generate some improved data on the conditional probability of dependence? And one of the DM commentariat favorite topics as well, namely how “bad” addiction to different drugs really is?
Is this great or what?

Percy Lavon Julian, Ph.D. (1899-1975) was a scientist who rose from humble beginnings, was trained and educated in an adverse cultural era and became a highly accomplished synthetic chemist and entrepreneur (Wikipedia; PubMed; ACS bio). From the American Chemical Society biography:

He was born in Montgomery, Alabama, on April 11, 1899, the son of a railway clerk and the grandson of slaves. From the beginning, he did well in school, but there was no public high school for African-Americans in Montgomery. Julian graduated from an all-black normal school inadequately prepared for college. Even so, in the fall of 1916, at the age of 17, he was accepted as a subfreshman at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. This meant that in addition to his regular college courses he took remedial classes at a nearby high school. He also had to work in order to pay his college expenses. Nevertheless, he excelled. Julian was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated with a B.A. degree in 1920 as valedictorian of his class.

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On March 5th the California Supreme Court will hear arguments from the Prop H8ers to invalidate same sex marriages performed in that state prior to the passage of Prop 8 last November.
The Courage Campaign (here) has posted a public argument.

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