Narcotics for Babies
To help the over-stressed 19th-century mother, a series of “soothing syrups,” lozenges and powders were created to ease the pain of teething and other painful maladies for infants. The most popular of these was Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup for Children Teething. Labeled as “an invaluable medicine for children”, must have sounded great but during that era, people failed to recognize or were unaware of its highly dangerous ingredients. These “soothing syrups” were comprised entirely of narcotics in high doses.
The ingredients were a combination of morphine sulphate, chloroform, morphine hydrochloride, codeine, heroin, powdered opium, and cannabis indica.
On December 1, 1860, the New York Times ran an article touting the benefits of the medicine by featuring letters of endorsement from parents:
MRS. WINSLOW’S SOOTHING SYRUP FOR CHILDREN TEETHING. LETTER FROM A MOTHER IN LOWELL, MASS. A DOWN-TOWN MERCHANT.
DEAR SIR: I am happy to be able to certify to the efficiency of MRS. WINSLOW’S SOOTHING SYRUP…Having a little boy suffering greatly from teething, who could not rest, and at night by his cries…its effect upon him was like magic; he soon went to sleep, and all pain and nervousness disappeared. We have had no trouble with him since…Every mother who regards the health and life of her children should possess it.
Of course babies would stop crying with all those narcotics pulsing through their tiny systems, anyone would. Unfortunately what the parents ended up with were drug addicted babies running the risk of death from overdose.
It wasn’t for another 50 years that the New York Times changed their position on the medicine. They published an article in 1910 (available here) listing the dangerous ingredients of the “soothing syrups” and urging all to stop the “systematic doping of the delicate organisms of infants with these subtle and powerful drugs…” and should only be obtained from a doctor because of their “habit-forming” effects. One generation’s salvation is another’s nightmare.
I posted this over at GigaOM Pro:
I think there is an important parallel between urban travel and social business. There is a now well-understood but counter-intuitive law in traffic engineering, called Braess’ paradox, where closing streets can lead to better traffic flow.
The brainchild of mathematician Dietrich Braess of Ruhr University Bochum in Germany, the eponymous paradox unfolds as an abstraction: it states that in a network in which all the moving entities rationally seek the most efficient route, adding extra capacity can actually reduce the network’s overall efficiency. The Seoul project inverts this dynamic: closing a highway—that is, reducing network capacity—improves the system’s effectiveness.
It turns out that you don’t have to actually close streets off to cars to get these effects, you can institute what is called ‘shared streets’, where traffic lights and markings are removed, forcing drivers to operate on a more social basis: making eye contact with other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. These approaches share a common basis: movement in the system requires multilateral agreement. In Braess’ world, unilateral optimization is blocked, and in shared streets, social interaction is made necessary.
My belief is that this is quite like the adoption of social principles in business.
Go read the whole thing, where I lay out Boyd’s Law, among other things.
At Jellyfish Lake in the Pacific island of Palau, its safe to swim amongst millions of jellyfish, because the creatures have lost their sting
I teach English as a Second Language in the Memphis City School System in Tennessee. In our region of the district, schools are being taken over by the state for low performance. Despite some of the highest gains in the district, the state took it over the last school I taught at and placed in the hands of charter school with only two years experience, none with ESL or special education experience. As an ESL teacher, our department worked hard to advocate for our students but yet still no plans for a program were made until only a few short weeks before school started.
|—||– Buddhist proverb (via docsully85)|