Category: Announcements

ASNet Update 12L12

09/12/12 | by the professor [mail] | Categories: General, Announcements, Drug-Regulation Policy

Link: http://AddictionScience.net

A new podcast has been added to the AddictionScience.net website. In upcoming weeks we will be exploring this technology and assessing reader interest in producing additional podcasts. The first podcast simply presents scripted material already available from our web pages entitled "A Primer on Addiction" and "The Nature of Addiction." Click here to visit the ASNet Podcast Directory.

A new commentary is also available on drug regulation policy: New Opiate-Based Medication Prescribing Guidelines?. This is the first of what we expect to become an on-going discussion on the tightened regulations for opioid-based medications and the impact on those needing these drugs. Please see the commentary for our initial position statement and feel free to post your remarks in support or against maintaining widespread access to opioid-based medications.

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Unscheduled Service Disruption to all ASNet Resources

06/16/10 | by the professor [mail] | Categories: General, Announcements

We may experience a temporary shut-down due to server overload. We are trying to plug a 25+ GB hole in our online discussion forums (which includes several others in addition to this one) that is depleting our computer resources and may produce an effect similar to a denial-of-service attack. This is caused by nuisance posts that attempt to increase traffic to offending websites by linking back to our posts. The comments usually have no obvious connection with the initial commentary (e.g., "good post," "love to read more") and must be manually deleted, often one-by-one.

We will now be more vigilant in 'policing' our discussion forms, routinely deleting posts that do not make specific reference to the content of the individual commentaries. We will also preview posts before allowing them to be published. This is perhaps the most effective method of decreasing this type of spam combined with using an updated list of known spammers. If the problem persists, we may require registration for posting comments. If the problem further persists, we will disallow trackbacks to commercial resources including those involved in drug addition treatment and related services.

We apologize for removing any legitimate posts that are inadvertently deleted. (Your legitimate post might be buried amongst thousands of spam postings.) We do not wish to 'moderate' the content of this discussion forum beyond preventing keyword spamming. If your post is deleted by mistake, please make sure that you are registered and logged-on and then post your comments again. Meanwhile, we have been working through the night and much of the day to prevent a service outage from these malicious web-promotion services.

In the unlikely event that we ever become so popular that we actually require an additional 30 GB of bandwidth, we will be happy to pay for the expanded service. But we certainly are unwilling to pay to promote offending websites while they liter our discussion forum. And of course, resources here are very limited and that's the primary reason lead commentaries and replies have been so sparse this past year. Hopefully time will permit further developing the content of this discussion forum later this summer. Meanwhile, we appreciate your viewership, your active participation by posting, and your patience with this project.

Cheers and sorry for any inconvenience,

"The Professor"

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ASNet Updates 09D11

04/11/09 | by the professor [mail] | Categories: Announcements

Announcements

  1. Corrections to web pages containing ‘typographical’ errors.
  2. Introduction of the ASNet Discussion Forum and RSS feeds.
  3. Participation in the AdSense program.
  4. Thanks to Sea Monkey and b2evolution.

The transfer of the ASNet website to another platform by the hosting service introduced a number of errors into various web pages throughout the site. A “bit” here, a “byte” there led to toggling bold print, centering lines, or dropping some HTML code into the middle of the text. Many of these problems were undetected and unreported—some just took a long time to correct because of a lack of staff. Still others are awaiting their ‘fix’ some time in the future when resources permit. (For example, numerous corrections have been made to the individual chapters of the online book on Assessing Drug Reinforcement; additional corrections and enhancements are planned.) If you have difficulty accessing a page or if you find typographical errors, problems should be reported to webmaster@AddictionScience.net for correction.

The most significant recent addition to the Addiction Science Network is the ASNet Discussion Forum. But if you’re reading this ASNet Update, you’re already well aware of the Forum. The Discussion Forum has two purposes—to educate by ‘discussing’ various terms, concepts, and other issues in drug addiction and to open some topics for general discussion and comments. Postings that specifically seek opinion are easily identified by the question or questions bold printed near the end of the posting. Commentary is always welcomed, but it is especially appreciated on these ‘open questions.’ Also, remember that RSS feeds from the ASNet Discussion Forum Announcements will take the place of the old ASNet Updates e-mail notification by the end of the year. Both the Firefox and the Sea Monkey browsers have RSS readers built into their applications as does the latest version of Microsoft’s Outlook.

AdSense is being added to most web pages. The revenue generated by participation in this program is very small even when people do click on the advertisements. The primary purpose of incorporating AdSense into the ASNet website (and into the Discussion Forum in the future) is to provide real-time data on Internet traffic for the corresponding pages. No information is collected regarding individual visitors—only information regarding the number of visitors to a page. This helps to direct limited ASNet resources to where they will have the most impact: working to improve the impact of pages with little traffic but important content, and working to further enhance the impact of already popular pages. Please note that the Addiction Science Network does not accept advertisements nor does it collect any fees from any of these ‘sponsors’ directly—the content of the AdSense displays are controlled by Google and should not be interpreted as an endorsement of any kind.

Finally, near the bottom of the AddictionScience.net home page there are acknowledgements of open source software, specifically the Sea Monkey and b2evolution programs that are used to develop this website and to provide the Discussion Forum, respectively. A link to the popular Firefox Internet browser is also included as is a link to the OpenSource.org consortium. These are unpaid, unsolicited ‘advertisements’ for these non-profit projects that provide free software for the Internet and thereby help keep the costs low at the ASNet—free is good, free is appreciated, and free is gratefully acknowledged.

Below is an example of the Google AdSense Advertisements that may appear in some postings. Clicking on these links take you to websites not affiliated with the ASNet.

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Oops, we already endorsed medical marijuana years ago!

03/18/09 | by the professor [mail] | Categories: Announcements, Drug-Regulation Policy

After only 5 postings (and two of them hardly count because they are administrative announcements), we have our first ‘oops.’ The “Position Statement on Medical Marijuana” was posted as if it were a significant change in policy when in fact it actually wasn’t anything new. Yes, it should have been obvious to many that the ASNet tacitly supported the medicinal use of marijuana from the mere absence of any mention on the ASNet website of the alleged high addiction liability of marijuana. And yes, those privy to an advanced copy of “Fundamentals of Drug Addiction” are abundantly aware that marijuana is not considered a prototypic addictive drug and in fact not even discussed until over half way through the book. But surely the public announcement endorsing the medicinal use of marijuana was new, wasn’t it? Well, not exactly. :oops:

Hidden among the pages of the ASNet website is a page describing the advocacy of rational drug-regulation policy as being an objective of the ASNet. Surprise, surprise—prominently displayed on the corresponding page is a recommendation to “Relax the current Federal laws regarding medicinal marijuana, permitting its use for a limited number of conditions where its psychoactive as well as its clinical effects are beneficial. Follow the progressive lead of several states (e.g., California) and Canada where medicinal marijuana is currently permitted.” The copyright date on that page is 2004.

And now you have the secret as to why the Google AdSense material appears on so many of the ASNet web pages. Google provides real-time counts of visitors to the pages where these advertisements appear. Relax, no tracking information is collected (we wouldn’t know what to do with it if we had it); only the number of page visits to each corresponding page is updated in near real-time and logged for later reference. This helps direct the work on this website to the pages where the most interest is being shown as evidenced by the number of page visits. And of course, we make a few cents when you click on the links provided by the Google Ads (at least I think we do; I’m not really sure because the ‘cash register’ isn’t ringing much). But most importantly, we get feedback and encouragement to resume work on this website which is all the ‘pay’ really needed and perhaps more than sometimes deserved. The previous policy statement was re-discovered when exploring the pages that needed to be ported from the old Addiction Research Unit website hosted by the University at Buffalo. That website has been defunct for some time; it was developed to support the neuroscience research facility which was closed shortly after the start of the “New Millennium.” A number of Addiction Research Unit web pages remain in limbo or as URL markers directing viewers to the phoenix version found on the ASNet.

The nice thing about being a scientist is that one can acknowledge and correct their ‘mistakes.’ Science is said to be ‘self correcting’ in the sense that new evidence or even re-interpretation of existing data often prompts a revision in theory, policy, or simply the assertions promoted by the scientific entity be it an organization or an individual. The ASNet will undoubted have to correct or even recant some statements found on these pages from time-to-time. Hopefully, it won’t happen often, but if the worst ‘oops’ is in the past we certainly would be very, very lucky.

One last note in case you look for this post in the somewhat distant future (tomorrow?). The nice thing about being the blog ‘owner’ is that one gets to rewrite history, to correct the glaring mistakes, to fix to awful omissions and the embarrassing blunders as well, of course, to correct ones position when found to be incorrect. A few snips with the text editor and the reference to “coming out of the closet” (it was a very bad pun anyway :-/) will be lost forever, and the ASNet will proudly display its position endorsing the use of medicinal marijuana while subtlety mentioning that this position has been publically advocated since 2004.

Cheers,

“The (sometimes absent-minded) Professor”

Related Topics on the ASNet
ASNet Profile
Drug-Regulation Policy Advisory
Position Statement on Medicinal Marijuana
ASNet Medical Marijuana Web Page

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ASNet Updates via RSS/Atom Feeds

03/13/09 | by the professor [mail] | Categories: General, Announcements

The Addiction Science Network will discontinue e-mail notification of updates by the end of 2009. Please subscribe to RSS or Atom feeds linked on the bottom right-hand side of the ASNet Discussion Forum to receive notification of updates to the main AddictionScience.net website in addition to new postings to the discussion forum. Please note that RSS/Atom feeds for new postings and for replies to existing postings are separate notifications. You may subscribe to receive only notification of new postings and/or to receive notification of replies to existing postings. If you wish to minimize the number of RSS/Atom broadcasts that you receive, only subscribe to receive new postings which will include announcements about updates to the Addiction Science Network website.

RSS and Atom feeds have set the standards for timely notification of updated web information and for publication of new material online. Those not familiar with these services are advised to learn about them and to use them for keeping up-to-date in their areas of interest. Microsoft Outlook provides automatic downloading of subscribed RSS feeds seamlessly integrated with normal e-mail. More information will be provided later on how to use RSS/Atom feeds to keep up-to-date on the ASNet activities. Meanwhile, "try it, you'll like it!"

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