I'll post that bit about the toilet water at the end-- since I don't have a handy URL to clip in here.
Here is more about the prescription drug addiction/sales story:
Associated Press story
Terry writes about the Snowbirds (in the context of my Blue Angels flight): I, too, think the Snowbirds put on an excellent show and deserve all the credit due them. The differences in aircraft make for another kind of
show that I could watch just as often as the Blues or the T-Birds. Please write what you feel. Many of your watchers, like myself, have seen the Snowbirds on several occasions.
Okay.. here's what I've decided. Even though that F18 Hornet is explicit, pure, raw, see-you-later engine and muscle, a media flight is limited because of, well, the media. So, those pilots know they own you when you're in their jet, but they're nice guys and are going to make sure you have a good time. So, because none of us are trained fighter pilots.. the flight (for them) is going to be like a walk in the park. Same applies to the Snowbirds. They may fly slower, smaller jets that more resemble a 'normal' plane.. but for me-- the average Joe Schmoe media flyer-- a g is a g is a g no matter where you pull it, you know what I'm sayin'? I've gone on at length about how stellar the flight with the Blue's was, so let me say this about the Snowbirds-- the pilot I flew with let me fly (he was clearly not aware that was a bad idea) and they fly you in formation for part of the media flight. I will tell you it was exhilarating and terrifying. I truly believed we were going to smack into the jets around us and made it my mission to keep my pilot apprised of the proximity of the planes around us. I was SUCH the annoying backseat driver. And he somehow tolerated all of this, even though he assured me we were something like, 4 whole feet away from the planes next to us (as opposed to showtime where they practically hitch onto each other). So cool. SO COOL. I remember every second of it.. even take off.. which, while it lacked a 5g vertical hurtle into space.. left me with an unforgettable feeling as we skimmed this cliff and the world just dropped away. Awesome.
I still keep a photo of the Snowbirds on my desk that the team gave me..
You know what, though, I'm not really built for either aircraft. Both helmets didn't fit. The Blue's helmet would bop all around on my head and when we'd do these rolls which start with a jerk in the opposite direction of the roll... so it would slide all askew and I couldn't fix it upside down because.. well, I was upside down. Repeatedly I'd try to look over my shoulder and my helmet would just kind of stay put. I finally gave up trying to look behind me. And the Snowbirds oxygen mask was too large and would blow a stream of air directly into my eyeballs.
What a rush..
OH YES.. drug testing your toilet water... the answer to the most commonly flushed chemical........ is caffiene!
Doesn't surprise me. You?! Here's more:
A team of researchers has developed an automated monitoring method that makes it possible to detect traces of drugs, from cocaine to caffeine, in municipal wastewater and to monitor the patterns of drug use in entire communities.
Their findings were reported today at the American Chemical Society meeting in Boston.
Oregon State University chemist Jennifer Field described methodologies that she developed with colleagues Daniel Sudakin, an OSU toxicologist, Caleb Banta-Green, a drug epidemiologist at the University of Washington, and Aurea Chiaia Hernandez, an OSU graduate student.
The method could provide a drug surveillance tool to help public health and law enforcement officials identify patterns of drug abuse across municipalities of all sizes.
The presence of both pharmaceutical and illicit drugs in municipal wastewater has been known for several years, beginning with groundbreaking studies in Europe that tracked the presence of drugs in sewage and river water. Field and her colleagues have developed new methods of chemical analysis so that detection is possible from very small samples taken automatically over a 24-hour period from wastewater as it enters a treatment plant.
“It’s like a very diluted urine sample collected from an entire community,” Field said.
Although wastewater is often tested for contaminants after it is treated as a measure of potential environmental impact, this new approach tests sewage as it enters a wastewater treatment plant, before it is treated, to get a profile of the drugs being used in the community.
“Wastewater analysis is a more powerful indicator at the community level,” Field said. “We are interested in the 'community load' of drugs, so we want to take samples as close to the urinal as possible without violating the privacy of individuals.”
Even in their preliminary study, the researchers found patterns over time of drug occurrence in wastewater, with higher concentrations of recreational drugs (such as cocaine) on weekends. They found no change in concentrations of either prescription drugs or methamphetamines in their samples over time, which suggests more consistent use of both.