“There are simply no known long-term toxic effects from taking serotonergic hallucinogens,” he explained. “From a medical perspective, psilocybin is a remarkably safe compound.” The Drug Enforcement Agency takes a different view. As a condition of Dr. Ross’s Schedule I license, the compound is stored in a restricted area inside a two ton safe. “It’s the only drug in the safe,” Dr. Ross elaborated, “and Monday through Friday, we take the drug out once a day and weigh it. Three people have to sign off on it.” That security is a stark reminder that distribution of psilocybin without a DEA license is a federal crime carrying penalties of up to 20 years in prison for a first offense.
It amazes me to think that HarperCollins wants to frame its products as so badly manufactured that they can’t withstand being read 27 or more times. But beyond the factual problems with a 26-circ cap, there is the fundamental perversity of celebrating and importing the limitations of physical media into the digital world. It’s like insisting that electric bulbs be limited to outputting no more than one lumen of light, since that’s all a comparably-sized candle would manage. The fact that books don’t last forever is not a feature to be preserved through the digital transition: it’s a bug, and the sooner we eliminate it, the better.
At some point you find that 90% of the stuff you’re writing is motivated and informed by an overwhelming need to be liked. This results in shitty fiction. And the shitty work must get fed to the wastebasket, less because of any sort of artistic integrity than simply because shitty work will cause you to be disliked. At this point in the evolution of writerly fun, the very thing that’s always motivated you to write is now also what’s motivating you to feed your writing to the wastebasket. This is a paradox and a kind of double-bind, and it can keep you stuck inside yourself for months or even years, during which period you wail and gnash and rue your bad luck and wonder bitterly where all the fun of the thing could have gone.
The Tesla Roadster, by contrast, is essentially a giant computer with a 900-pound battery pack sitting just behind the driver’s head. It has more in common with an iPhone than the car sitting in most people’s driveways. In a normal car, it might be a nerve wracking experience to suddenly lose all engine power, but you’d still have fully functional steering and brakes to get you to the side of the road safely.P But in the Tesla Roadster, when the computer crashed, nearly everything went with it – power and brakes – the truly important things.