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LATimes zombie bath salt sensationalism

July 13, 2013

LATimes: “‘Zombie’ drug bath salts more potent than meth, study finds” by Geoffrey Mohan.

Bath salts, the synthetic drug made infamous by incidents of psychotic “zombie” attacks, is more potent and potentially addictive than methamphetamine, a study has found.


While on the drug, the rats exhibited obsessive behaviors, licking biting and sniffing the sides of their cages. Such “stereotypy” has been correlated with extreme behavior among humans high on stimulants. Those results, said Taffe, lend credence to media reports and law enforcement videos showing “zombie-like” behavior among users.

On that article, user name Igor Washetko1 at 10:16 AM July 11 commented:

What a horrible peace of journalistic endeavor. In the Florida zombie” attack no such drugs as bath salts were ever found in the attackers system. This is a bogus article and needs to be fact checked. WOW I can’t believe this was actually published.

And McDainTBQ at 10:15 AM July 11 commented:

It is unfortunate that this article is presented with such a “reefer madness” tone.

Maybe relevant to this problem of sensationalized journalism is that Geoffrey Mohan, LATimes Sci Guy, spent last night live-tweeting the SyFy movie “Sharknado”

And as they promote unrealistic threats from Sharks, the real sharks are dying; “Looming Shark Extinction”:

An estimated 73 million sharks are killed each year (that works out to more than 10,000 sharks per hour).

Maybe if science reporters were more interested in actual science than in fantasy monsters we might actually educate the public about biochemistry instead of conflating buzzwords. Recall from ZombieLaw last year: “Demand hearings on how Bath Salts became bipartisan“.

Science is so removed from public discourse that there is no way to even evaluate these laws being made for the pharmaceutical lobbyists. But recall the quote I paraphrased tweeting during the TedX DeExtinction conference:

“if mad science fantasies motivate Ben to do genetics doc study grunt work work in my lab for free, why not?”

And I think maybe the simplest answer is because of all the lay people who read the pop-science journalism, never actually work anywhere near actual labs, and become easily manipulated and disenfranchised for the real politics of this modern science world.


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