Snail Races

...where even the winners are slow and slimy. It's all a matter of degrees, really. Reality based since 1692.

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Location: Upper Canada

Friday, May 20, 2005

enhancing performance

Via Baseball Musings, this Reason article about performance enhancing drugs and brain spas.

I found this very interesting...

Researchers have also found that pilots taking cholinesterase inhibitors perform better on complex maneuvers.

I hadn't heard of cholinesterase inhibitors as performance enhancers. What with therapeutic cloning in the headlines, it seems there's an imminent abundance of tweaks and tune-ups available for the human machine. Better living through chemistry, eh?

Nevertheless, some people do object to using enhancement drugs. For instance, opponents often argue that they pose a kind of tragedy of the commons in which people who would otherwise not take enhancement drugs will feel forced to do so just to keep up with their competitors. But those kinds of pressures have always existed. Today, people get graduate degrees, buy new computers, and so forth to keep up. It's hard to see how using safe drugs to enhance performance is much different. I suspect that pharmacological enhancement will be more popular than, say, graduate school, since most of what will be involved is taking a pill with one's morning coffee. However, even in the era of pharmacologic enhancement, there will be some people—even as there are today—who choose to drop out of what they regard as the rat race and live less competitively and ambitiously.

Ronald Bailey quotes Anjan Chatterjee asking "Is this a dystopia?" and then asserting that it doesn't matter anyway, as

This is coming regardless of your view of whether or not this is a good world, a bad world or somewhere in between.

and people get their knickers in such a twist about steroids... what has Viagra done for Raffy Palmeiro, besides, uh, you know...


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