certain viruses

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Black Friday belongs to me

Gems are like viruses

As a bio student, I always noticed that the gem injectors looked just like certain kinds of viruses. But the thought was brought up recently and I noticed the similarities didn’t end there. Gems are literal viruses to the planets they use. They’re injected into the planet, they multiply and grow and then damage/destroy the planet they come out of. Just like viruses do to cells! 

also when a cell becomes immune to a virus, it is considered resistant. I swear I’ve heard the crystal gems being called the resistance before

side note: viruses aren’t alive, they don’t need food, water, rest and they simply exist to destroy cells and reproduce for no reason. sounds familiar right?

anonymous asked:

Are crosses of cancer-prone breeds like the boxer or golden retriever any less likely to develop breed-associated cancers, or is it just a genetic crapshoot based on the purebred parent? Assuming you are not breeding two dogs that are both predisposed to developing cancer.

The genetics of cancer are interesting and complicated. All cancers could be considered a genetic disease, because all cancers are due to genetic changes in the cell. Some of these cancers have a distinct pattern of running in bloodlines, and are probably at play in purebred dogs with known cancer predispositions.

Very broadly and generally speaking, there are two types of genes we consider.

  • Oncogenes. These can be thought of as pro-cancer genes. The more you have, the more they’re expressed, and the more likely you are to have a cancer.
  • Anti-oncogenes. Sometimes called anticancer genes. These genes prevent oncogenes being expressed, or check for DNA transcription errors. If you lose these or have less for any reason, cancer becomes more likely.

In a living, multi-cellular organism, like dogs in this case, every cell starts with the same DNA. In the course of life some cells will receive genetic damage, such as from UV light or due to certain viruses or carcinogens, for example, and their DNA may change. DNA errors may include duplicating or activating an oncogene, or losing an anti-oncogene, and so cancer develops.

Broadly speaking, the more ‘safety nets’ in an individuals genome, the more difficult it is for them to develop cancer, but they wont be immune. Every time a cell replicates you basically roll dice, and if the numbers come up badly, you lose.

Now, there’s not just one gene for each cancer. That would be far too simple, though some genes are more common than others. There are multiple, multiple genes at play and we probably don’t know what all of them do. It’s really all one big mess.

Dogs have 78 chromosomes, but they have far more than 78 genes. There are lots and lots of different genes on the same chromosome. There are some genes that are commonly inherited together, two different traits that seem to go hand in hand. Sometimes these are linked genes. They are genes that occur on the same chromosome. Genes can switch from one chromosome of a pair to another. The closer two genes are to each other on a chromosome, the stronger they are linked together and the more likely they are to always occur together.

A living organism, a dog in this case, is a great big mess of interacting genes and multiple traits. Through the process of artificial selection, or selective breeding, we have developed families of dogs that share the traits we’ve been selecting for.

However it is also likely that we’ve inadvertently selected for genes we didn’t want, genes that are strongly linked with traits we were targeting. 

My personal theory is that the genes for domestication, the genes that make dogs so trainable and fond of humans, are linked with oncogenes that we had no way of knowing about. We probably have accidentally selected for pro-cancer genes in our dog breeds.

This might be why it always seems like the nicer dogs get the nastier conditions.

But back to your original question, if you cross two dogs that have the same oncogenes, you will have the same risk in the offspring. If you cross dogs that have different oncogenes, you might get lucks and the offspring may not inherit either of them, or they may inherit sets from both parents and be more at risk. If you cross two dogs and the offspring happen to inherit more oncogenes and less anti-oncogenes, then you will have a higher cancer risk.

So the answer depends on information that we currently don’t have a means to gather, but you are rolling the dice with every breeding, and with every cell division within the individual. Usually we roll well. Sometimes we roll badly.
Nortlov Lance; Backstory

From a very young age, Lance’s life was destroyed by lack of money. His family didn’t have enough to support the abundance of people in their home. This lead Lance to steal a bit of money here and there to help out. Eventually, he found an old laptop and fixed it up himself. Lance taught himself how to code certain viruses and such, using it to steal money from bank account and scam money from naive internet users.

When he was accepted to the Garrison, his family was ecstatic, Lance didn’t have the heart to tell them he faked the test scores. After he’d gotten settled with his team, Lance’s grades began to drop. In an attempt to fix them, he hacked into the school database, but was caught in the act. Instead of being expelled, Lance was simply dropped to a lower team. Bribing a teach had its perks. His new team, Pidge and Hunk, did not get along very well. There were more than a few brawls, but they eventually gained respect for each other after Lance stood up for Pidge in a fight.

Flash to them on the castle, Keith is an absolute ray of sunshine, as always, and Lance hates it. He especially hates how much time Keith spends around him. Though, as time passes, Lance grows used to it. He doesn’t like it, but deals with it. Lance becomes an older brother to Keith, standing by his side when Shiro is being a dick.

Lance is not prone to violence, but will use it if necessary

Medicinal Herbs & Uses: Bee Balm - Bergamot

Bee Balm is edible and medicinal, the entire plant above ground is edible used as a pot herb, and it is also used as a flavoring in cooked foods. The flowers make an attractive edible garnish in salads. The plant is noted for its fragrance, and is a source of oil of thyme. The fresh or dried leaves are brewed into a refreshing aromatic and medicinal tea. An infusion of young Bee Balm leaves used to form a common beverage in many parts of the United States.

Monarda didyma, (red)  (purple)  Monarda fistulosa,  (pink)

Other Names:  Eastern Beebalm, Bergamot, Wild Oswego Tea, Horsemint, Monarda

Uses:

Bee Balm leaves and flowers and stems are used in alternative medicine as an antiseptic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic and stimulant. An infusion is medicinal used internally in the treatment of colds, catarrh, headaches, and gastric disorders, to reduce low fevers and soothe sore throat, to relieve flatulence, nausea, menstrual pain, and insomnia. Steam inhalation of the plant can be used for sore throats, and bronchial catarrh (inflammation of the mucus membrane, causing an increased flow of mucus). Externally, it is a medicinal application for skin eruptions and infections. Bergamot’s distinctive aroma, found in both the leaf and flower is wonderful for use in potpourri. While a fragrant herb in its own right, Wild Bergamot is not the source of the commonly used Bergamot Essential oil.

Habitat and Description

Bee Balm is a perennial herb native to Eastern North America. It grows in dry thickets, clearings and woodland edges from Ontario and British Columbia to Georgia and Mexico. Bee Balm has showy, red, pink, or lilac flowers in large heads or whorls of about 20-50 flowers at the top of the branching stem, supported by leafy bracts, the leaflets are a pale-green color. The stem of Bee Balm is square, grooved and hard; and about 3 feet high. The leaves occur in opposite pairs, are rough on both surfaces, are distinctly toothed, and lance-shaped. Fine dense hairs cover much of the stem and leaves. Bee Balm roots are short, slender, creeping rhizomes.

How to Grow Bee Balm

Bee Balm is easily grown in ordinary garden soil. It also grows well in heavy clay soils, requires a part shade to sunny place to grow. This species thrives when grown in a dry soil and prefers alkaline soil conditions. Bee Balm is best started from plants which spread like crazy, but will grow from seed as well. Unfortunately, it often gets spotted with a mold like affliction.

How to Harvest and Use Bee Balm

Wild Bergamot flowers bloom from June to July. Gather edible leaves and flowers in bloom, dry on small bundles in paper bags in a dry, well ventilated area. Bee Balm can be used as tea, or as an aromatic suitable for sachets and potpourri.

Herbal Tea Recipe

“Medicinal” tea: To 1 tsp. dried herb, add 1 cup boiling water, steep 10 min. sweeten to taste, take at bedtime.

Folklore and History

The red variety is commonly known as Oswego Tea. It was used by colonists in place of English Tea after the Boston Tea Party, when they threw the English tea in the harbor to protest the high taxes imposed on it by the British. Read More about Oswego Tea

Bee Balm was used as a medicinal plant extensively by Native Americans who recognized four varieties that had different odors. Wild Bergamot was used also as an active diaphoretic (sweat inducer) for ceremonial sweat lodges. A decoction of the herb was made into hair pomade. 

BERGAMOT (CITRUS BERGAMIA)

Uplifting, refreshing and relaxing. Encourages cheerful emotions and ideal for depression. Its delicate, sweet aroma can also be used to freshen and uplift a room. Citrus Bergamia is a small tree about 4.5m high with smooth oval leaves. It belongs to the same family as the orange tree. The essential oil comes from the small round fruits which ripen from green to yellow, similar to oranges in appearance.
Distribution

Native to Morocco and tropical Asia it is grown commercially in the Ivory Coast and is extensively cultivated in Southern Italy. It was first cultivated around Bergamo, from where it takes its name.

History / Traditions

The fruit has been used for hundreds of years in Italian folk medicine. However the fruit was unknown outside Italy and wasn’t exported until recent times. The oil was primarily used for the treatment of fever and intestinal worms.

Extraction

The essential oil is produced by cold expression of the peel of the nearly ripe fruit. Although many oils are produced by mechanical processes, the best quality oil is produced by hand.

General Description

The oil is a light greenish yellow liquid with an uplifting citrus aroma and balsamic overtones. On aging the oil turns to a brownish olive color. The oil is known to have about 300 components the main being linalyl acetate 30-60%; linalol 11-22% and other alcohols, sesquiterpenes, terpenes, alkanes, and furocoumarins 0.3-0.39%

Uses:

Bergamot oil has a strong affinity for the urinary tract and is valuable in the treatment of cystitis and urethritis. It should be used in the bath or as a local wash at a 1% dilution. In helping with mental and psychological states, Bergamot is most valuable for its uplifting effects. For tension anxiety or depression, bergamot should be used in a massage oil or in a dally bath. The fragrance blends well with lavender, neroli, jasmine, geranium, chamomile, lemon, cypress and juniper. bergamot can be used in the treatment of tensions causing dietary problems such as over and under eating. The antiseptic qualities of Bergamot make it ideal for the treatment of skin complaints such as acne, oily skin and all infections of the skin. Bergamot is cooling in feverish conditions and has effective insect repellent properties. Bergamot has an inhibiting effect on certain viruses, in particular Herpes simplex 1 which causes cold sores. Bergamot will also reduce the pain of shingles and ease chicken pox in small children. Bergamot is used extensively as a fragrance and is also found in toiletries and cologne.

Safety data

Certain furocumarins (including bergapten found in Bergamot) are photo toxic on human skin. This causes sensitivity and skin pigmentation when exposed to sunlight. Therefore exercise caution when using Bergamot in sunny weather. Bergamot should never be used undiluted on the skin. Severe burning may result.

Magical Properties: 

Money, prosperity, protection from evil and illness, improving memory, stopping interference, and promoting restful sleep. Carry in a sachet while gambling to draw luck and money. Very powerful for attracting success. Burn at any ritual to increase its power.

Also Called: Orange Mint

anonymous asked:

We all know exactly how human Spock can be on a mental level, but what about a physical level? He has the Vulcan hair, the ears, the strength, the circulatory system and so on. But what if Vulcans aren't typically as tall and thin as he is? What if that's a trait he gets from his mother's family, like all Grayson men are tall and thin? He's probably got Amanda's eyes, he might've lost teeth like human children, got his tonsils removed like human kids. What if he gets humans sicknesses too?

I always remember that quote in the 2009 movie, “Look at his human eyes, they look sad don’t they?” though to me his eyes looked no different than all the other vulcan children. I think he definitely has distinctly human physical features that Vulcans are immediately able to identify, which mark Spock as an “other” among his peers. I like the idea that he is generally taller and slightly weaker and lighter than the average Vulcan, though he would still definitely be stronger than humans. Due to his Vulcan features, humans assume he is a full Vulcan but then among Vulcans his human ancestry is painfully obvious due to the slight physical differences alone.

And yeah I bet it was a bitch to treat his childhood illnesses like he was probably not fully immune to certain viruses that most other Vulcans would be immune to. He also might have allergies to certain traditional Vulcan or human foods. The fact that he is susceptible to both human and Vulcan illnesses make it a headache and a half for Bones to treat him in adulthood due to certain medicines and vaccines reacting oddly with his mixed physiology 

A message to all of you

Hey everyone! quq I’m so glad you guys are enjoying my blog! It makes me so giddy to know people like it! >v<

But, I actually have a small “issue” I would like to talk about. q–q (I was nervous to even make a post pointing it out, but my friend helped reassure me.)

So, viruses.

A lot of you have been making viruses to try and counter mine, and I enjoy you wanting to get involved! But, there are like THREE viruses out there, maybe four, dedicated to trying to stop mine. quq And I feel VERY overwhelmed by this. (not to mention an organization who also wants to stop my virus)

I feel that it’s a bit much to create viruses like that. quq And if your virus’s purpose is to cure or stop mine, wouldn’t it be a cure and not a virus? Viruses are considered a type a parasite that leaches off it’s host. They need a host to spread. (viruses are NOT a good thing. If anything, it’ll cause more hell for the host and may end up killing them if it gets to serious.) It just really overwhelmed me and bothered me a bit. qq Reason being I mentioned in a post that my virus DOES have a specific cure. (and I feel many have ignored that and made their own cure. ;-;)

That brings me to the next issue I have: Cures.

I really appreciate your dedication and involvement, but, as stated above, my virus has a specific cure. qq You can go crazy on making things to help prevent it, (because that’s what most people do with viruses) but there’s a specific cure. And even then, viruses are always mutating so those things that prevent them might not work on the mutated virus. Please don’t go posting in my inbox: “*throws the cure onto so-and-so*” because I find that very unfair to what I have posted about my virus.

And, as you all know and saw, my virus has mutated or “evolved”. That means, the previous cure won’t work on it anymore and you’ll have to start looking for a new one. Viruses evolve to survive and spread, hence why it’s hard to cure/prevent certain types of viruses because they keep mutating.  

I’m so sorry for pointing this out, but I was so overwhelmed by it all. q-q

Before I close this post, I would like to just state somethings:

-My virus can’t infect a parasite nor can a parasite infect it.
-My virus evolves to survive and spread from cures that you all are making. (so sadness will NOT work on them nor will the previous cure I had hinted)
-My virus can infect inanimate objects (as seen when they infected a large portion of the Earth) 
-It doesn’t matter whether or not you have a soul, you’ll still be infected. (see above for inanimate objects)
-Nightmare!Sans is immune to it. Reason being he is always producing negativity so it just washes out the virus.
-You can become immune to the virus. (Like Lavender!Sans since he was able to get over the virus) But once it evolves, you will be at risk of getting infected again.

Giardia

Being tiny doesn’t stop viruses, bacteria, certain insects and other microscopic critters from causing all sorts of misery. But under the microscope, we can see them for what they truly are. This image, made using a scanning electron microscope, shows the free-swimming protozoan Giardia, which causes diarrhea and other symptoms when it infects the small intestine, often as a result of contaminated drinking water.

Credit: CDC/ Dr. Stan Erlandsen; Dr. Dennis Feely

Genetics and Evolution of Magic

Exploring

  • How humans became magical
  • Our evolutionary relationship with fellow magical creatures. 
  • The genes responsible for being magical and how they are inherited
  • The existence of squibs and and unusual explanation for Muggleborns.

Magic will always be magic and the beauty is that it does not follow the laws of science or logic. It is something wild, unexplained and unknowable, but given this blog is all about semantics: I say to hell with beauty, let’s douse Magic in science and see what strange hybrid ideas are produced!



The Origins of Magic

The most basic fact we know about Magic in the Harry Potter universe is that it is inherited.It is not an acquired skill like being able to ride a bike; it is mostdefinitely a genetic trait. Therefore somewhere in the humangenome sits one or more genes that make people magical.

In the Harry Potter universe humans are not the only wielders ofmagic. In fact there are many species sentient or otherwise, who have theability to access and in some cases consciously control magic. However, theirmagic appears to be innate and of the wandless variety. Wands, it appears, are a very human necessity.

Humans can perform wandless magic too; Harry blew up his aunt, Dumbledore summons food to the tables at the Great Hall and Voldemort possesses people. Wandless magic is possible but it is definitely not something that is common or easy to perform. In fact you may need to be a very powerful wizard/witch in order to manage it.

This shows us that humans are not innately magical beings. We do not channel magic in the same natural way as House-elves do; Dobby could throw Lucius Malfoy across the room with a snap of his fingers. In fact the vast majority of the human species are not magical in anyway. They cannot perceive all beings of the magical realm, nor can they channel any magic.

Thus it is less likely that magic first arose as a spontaneous mutation, and more likely that the genetic material which gives people the ability to channel magic is not innately part of the human genome at all but introduced from another source. 

This means that unlike other magical creatures we have not evolved with magic, it is in effect an intruder into our evolutionary story.


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Conrad Knickerbocker, Interview: William S. Burroughs, 35 The Paris Review (1965)
  • Interviewer: When and why did you start to write?
  • William S. Burroughs: I started to write in about 1950; I was thirty-five at the time; there didn't seem to be any strong motivation. I simply was endeavoring to put down in a more or less straightforward journalistic style something about my experiences with addiction and addicts.
  • Interviewer: Why did you start taking drugs?
  • William S. Burroughs: Well, I was just bored. I didn't seem to have much interest in becoming a successful advertising executive or whatever, or living the kind of life Harvard designs for you. After I became addicted in New York in 1944, things began to happen. I got in some trouble with the law, got married, moved to New Orleans, and then went to Mexico.
  • Interviewer: There seems to be a great deal of middle-class voyeurism in this country concerning addiction, and in the literary world, downright reverence for the addict. You apparently don't share these points of view.
  • William S. Burroughs: No, most of it is nonsense. I think drugs are interesting principally as chemical means of altering metabolism and thereby altering what we call reality, which I would define as a more or less constant scanning pattern.
  • Interviewer: What do you think of the hallucinogens and the new psychedelic drugs—LSD-25?
  • William S. Burroughs: I think they're extremely dangerous, much more dangerous than heroin. They can produce overwhelming anxiety states. I've seen people try to throw themselves out of windows; whereas the heroin addict is mainly interested in staring at his own toe. Other than deprivation of the drug, the main threat to him is an overdose. I've tried most of the hallucinogens without an anxiety reaction, fortunately. LSD-25 produced results for me similar to mescaline. Like all hallucinogens, LSD gave me an increased awareness, more a hallucinated viewpoint than any actual hallucination. You might look at a doorknob and it will appear to revolve, although you are conscious that this is the result of the drug. Also, van Goghish colors, with all those swirls, and the crackle of the universe.
  • Interviewer: Have you read Henri Michaux's book on mescaline?
  • William S. Burroughs: His idea was to go into his room and close the door and hold in the experiences. I had my most interesting experiences with mescaline when I got outdoors and walked around—colors, sunsets, gardens. It produces a terrible hangover, though, nasty stuff. It makes one ill and interferes with coordination. I've had all the interesting effects I need, and I don't want any repetition of those extremely unpleasant physical reactions.
  • Interviewer: The visions of drugs and the visions of art don't mix?
  • William S. Burroughs: Never. The hallucinogens produce visionary states, sort of, but morphine and its derivatives decrease awareness of inner processes, thoughts, and feelings. They are painkillers, pure and simple. They are absolutely contraindicated for creative work, and I include in the lot alcohol, morphine, barbiturates, tranquilizers—the whole spectrum of sedative drugs. As for visions and heroin, I had a hallucinatory period at the very beginning of addiction, for instance, a sense of moving at high speed through space. But as soon as addiction was established, I had no visions—vision—at all and very few dreams.
  • Interviewer: Why did you stop taking drugs?
  • William S. Burroughs: I was living in Tangier in 1957, and I had spent a month in a tiny room in the Casbah staring at the toe of my foot. The room had filled up with empty Eukodol cartons; I suddenly realized I was not doing anything. I was dying. I was just apt to be finished. So I flew to London and turned myself over to Dr. John Yerbury Dent for treatment. I'd heard of his success with the apomorphine treatment. Apomorphine is simply morphine boiled in hydrochloric acid; it's nonaddictive. What the apomorphine did was to regulate my metabolism. It's a metabolic regulator. It cured me physiologically. I'd already taken the cure once at Lexington, and although I was off drugs when I got out, there was a physiological residue. Apomorphine eliminated that. I've been trying to get people in this country interested in it, but without much luck. The vast majority—social workers, doctors—have the cop's mentality toward addiction. A probation officer in California wrote me recently to inquire about the apomorphine treatment. I'll answer him at length. I always answer letters like that.
  • Interviewer: Have you had any relapses?
  • William S. Burroughs: Yes, a couple. Short. Both were straightened out with apomorphine, and now heroin is no temptation for me. I'm just not interested. I've seen a lot of it around. I know people who are addicts. I don't have to use any willpower. Dr. Dent always said there is no such thing as willpower. You've got to reach a state of mind in which you don't want it or need it.
  • Interviewer: You regard addiction as an illness but also a central human fact, a drama?
  • William S. Burroughs: Both, absolutely. It's as simple as the way in which anyone happens to become an alcoholic. They start drinking, that's all. They like it, and they drink, and then they become alcoholic. I was exposed to heroin in New York—that is, I was going around with people who were using it; I took it; the effects were pleasant. I went on using it and became addicted. Remember that if it can be readily obtained, you will have any number of addicts. The idea that addiction is somehow a psychological illness is, I think, totally ridiculous. It's as psychological as malaria. It's a matter of exposure. People, generally speaking, will take any intoxicant or any drug that gives them a pleasant effect if it is available to them. In Iran, for instance, opium was sold in shops until quite recently, and they had three million addicts in a population of twenty million. There are also all forms of spiritual addiction. Anything that can be done chemically can be done in other ways, that is, if we have sufficient knowledge of the processes involved. Many policemen and narcotics agents are precisely addicted to power, to exercising a certain nasty kind of power over people who are helpless. The nasty sort of power-- white junk, I call it—rightness; they're right, right, right—and if they lost that power, they would suffer excruciating withdrawal symptoms. The picture we get of the whole Russian bureaucracy, people who are exclusively preoccupied with power and advantage, this must be an addiction. Suppose they lose it? Well, it's been their whole life.
  • Interviewer: Can you amplify your idea of junk as image?
  • William S. Burroughs: It's only a theory and, I feel, an inadequate one. I don't think anyone really understands what a narcotic is or how it works, how it kills pain. My idea is sort of a stab in the dark. As I see it, what has been damaged in pain is, of course, the image, and morphine must in some sense replace this. We know it blankets the cells and that addicts are practically immune to certain viruses, to influenza and respiratory complaints. This is simple because the influenza virus has to make a hole in the cell receptors. When those are covered, as they are in morphine addiction, the virus can't get in. As soon as morphine is withdrawn, addicts will immediately come down with colds and often with influenza.
  • Interviewer: Certain schizophrenics also resist respiratory disease.
  • William S. Burroughs: A long time ago I suggested there were similarities in terminal addiction and terminal schizophrenia. That was why I made the suggestion that they addict these people to heroin, then withdraw it and see if they could be motivated; in other words, find out whether they'd walk across the room and pick up a syringe. Needless to say, I didn't get very far, but I think it would be interesting.
  • Interviewer: Narcotics, then, disturb normal perception—
  • William S. Burroughs: And set up instead a random craving for images. If drugs weren't forbidden in America, they would be the perfect middle-class vice. Addicts would do their work and come home to consume the huge dose of images awaiting them in the mass media. Junkies love to look at television. Billie Holiday said she knew she was going off drugs when she didn't like to watch TV. Or they'll sit and read a newspaper or magazine, and by God, read it all. I knew this old junkie in New York, and he'd go out and get a lot of newspapers and magazines and some candy bars and several packages of cigarettes and then he'd sit in his room and he'd read those newspapers and magazines right straight through. Indiscriminately. Every word.
  • Interviewer: Marshall McLuhan said that you believed heroin was needed to turn the human body into an environment that includes the universe. But from what you've told me, you're not at all interested in turning the body into an environment.
  • William S. Burroughs: No, junk narrows consciousness. The only benefit to me as a writer (aside from putting me into contact with the whole carny world) came to me after I went off it. What I want to do is to learn to see more of what's out there, to look outside, to achieve as far as possible a complete awareness of surroundings. Beckett wants to go inward. First he was in a bottle and now he is in the mud. I am aimed in the other direction—outward.
  • Interviewer: Mary McCarthy has commented on the carnival origins of your characters in Naked Lunch. What are their other derivations?
  • William S. Burroughs: The carny world was the one I exactly intended to create—a kind of midwestern, small-town, cracker-barrel, pratfall type of folklore, very much my own background. That world was an integral part of America and existed nowhere else, at least not in the same form. My family was southern on my mother's side. My grandfather was a circuit-riding Methodist minister with thirteen children. Most of them went up to New York and became quite successful in advertising and public relations. One of them, an uncle, was a master image maker, Ivy Lee, Rockefeller's publicity manager.
  • Interviewer: Earlier you mentioned that if junk had done nothing else, it at least put you in contact with the carny world.
  • William S. Burroughs: Yes, the underworld, the old-time thieves, pickpockets, and people like that. They're a dying race; very few of those old-timers left. Yeah, well, they were show business.
  • Interviewer: What's the difference between the modern junkie versus the 1944 junkie?
  • William S. Burroughs: For one thing, all these young addicts; that was quite unknown in 1944. Most of the ones I knew were middle-aged men or old. I knew some of the old-time pickpockets and sneak thieves and shortchange artists. They had something called The Bill, a shortchange deal. I've never been able to figure out how it works. One man I knew beat all the cashiers in Grand Central with this thing. It starts with a twenty-dollar bill. You give them a twenty-dollar bill and then when you get the change you say, “Well, wait a minute, I must have been dreaming, I've got the change after all.” First thing you know, the cashier's short ten dollars. One day this shortchange artist went to Grand Central, even though he knew it was burned down, but he wanted to change twenty dollars. Well, a guy got on the buzzer and they arrested him. When they got up in court and tried to explain what had happened, none of them could do it. I keep stories like this in my files.
  • Interviewer: Do you think of the artist at all as being a con man?
  • William S. Burroughs: In a sense. You see, a real con man is a creator. He creates a set. No, a con man is more a movie director than a writer. The Yellow Kid created a whole set, a whole cast of characters, a whole brokerage house, a whole bank. It was just like a movie studio.
  • Interviewer: What about addicts?
  • William S. Burroughs: Well, there will be a lot of morphine addiction. Remember that there were a great many addicts at that time. Jesse James was an addict. He started using morphine for a wound in his lung, and I don't know whether he was permanently addicted, but he tried to kill himself. He took sixteen grains of morphine and it didn't kill him, which indicates a terrific tolerance. So he must have been fairly heavily addicted. A dumb, brutal hick; that's what he was, like Dillinger. And there were so many genteel old ladies who didn't feel right unless they had their Dr. Jones mixture every day.
  • Interviewer: What other character types interest you?
  • William S. Burroughs: Not the people in advertising and television, nor the American postman or middle-class housewife; not the young man setting forth. The whole world of high finance interests me, the men such as Rockefeller who were specialized types of organisms that could exist in a certain environment. He was really a moneymaking machine, but I doubt that he could have made a dime today because he required the old laissez-faire capitalism. He was a specialized monopolistic organism. My uncle Ivy created images for him. I fail to understand why people like J. Paul Getty have to come on with such a stuffy, uninteresting image. He decides to write his life history. I've never read anything so dull, so absolutely devoid of any spark. Well, after all, he was quite a playboy in his youth. There must have been something going on. None of it's in the book. Here he is, the only man of enormous wealth who operates alone, but there's nobody to present the image. Well, yes, I wouldn't mind doing that sort of job myself. I'd like to take somebody like Getty and try to find an image for him that would be of some interest. If Getty wants to build an image, why doesn't he hire a first-class writer to write his story? For that matter, advertising has a long way to go. I'd like to see a story by Norman Mailer or John O'Hara which just makes some mention of a product, say, Southern Comfort. I can see the O'Hara story. It would be about someone who went into a bar and asked for Southern Comfort; they didn't have it, and he gets into a long, stupid argument with the bartender. It shouldn't be obtrusive; the story must be interesting in itself so that people read this just as they read any story in Playboy, and Southern Comfort would be guaranteed that people will look at that advertisement for a certain number of minutes. You see what I mean? They'll read the story. Now, there are many other ideas; you could have serialized comic strips, serial stories. Well, all we have to do is have James Bond smoking a certain brand of cigarettes.
  • Interviewer: In some respects, Nova Express seems to be a prescription for social ailments. Do you see the need, for instance, of biologic courts in the future?
  • William S. Burroughs: Certainly. Science eventually will be forced to establish courts of biologic mediation, because life-forms are going to become more incompatible with the conditions of existence as man penetrates further into space. Mankind will have to undergo biologic alterations ultimately, if we are to survive at all. This will require biologic law to decide what changes to make. We will simply have to use our intelligence to plan mutations, rather than letting them occur at random. Because many such mutations—look at the saber-toothed tiger—are bound to be very poor engineering designs. The future, decidedly, yes. I think there are innumerable possibilities, literally innumerable. The hope lies in the development of nonbody experience and eventually getting away from the body itself, away from three-dimensional coordinates and concomitant animal reactions of fear and flight, which lead inevitably to tribal feuds and dissension.
  • Interviewer: You see hope for the human race, but at the same time you are alarmed as the instruments of control become more sophisticated.
  • William S. Burroughs: Well, whereas they become more sophisticated they also become more vulnerable. Time, Life, Fortune applies a more complex, effective control system than the Mayan calendar, but it also is much more vulnerable because it is so vast and mechanized. Not even Henry Luce understands what's going on in the system now. Well, a machine can be redirected. One technical sergeant can fuck up the whole works. Nobody can control the whole operation. It's too complex. The captain comes in and says, “All right, boys, we're moving up.” Now, who knows what buttons to push? Who knows how to get the cases of Spam up to where they're going, and how to fill out the forms? The sergeant does. The captain doesn't know. As long as there're sergeants around, the machine can be dismantled, and we may get out of all this alive yet.
  • Interviewer: Sex seems equated with death frequently in your work.
  • William S. Burroughs: That is an extension of the idea of sex as a biologic weapon. I feel that sex, like practically every other human manifestation, has been degraded for control purposes, or really for antihuman purposes. This whole Puritanism. How are we ever going to find out anything about sex scientifically, when a priori the subject cannot even be investigated? It can't even be thought about or written about. That was one of the interesting things about Reich. He was one of the few people who ever tried to investigate sex—sexual phenomena, from a scientific point of view. There's this prurience and this fear of sex. We know nothing about sex. What is it? Why is it pleasurable? What is pleasure? Relief from tension? Well, possibly.
  • Interviewer: Mary McCarthy has characterized you as a soured utopian. Is that accurate?
  • William S. Burroughs: I do definitely mean what I say to be taken literally, yes, to make people aware of the true criminality of our times, to wise up the marks. All of my work is directed against those who are bent, through stupidity or design, on blowing up the planet or rendering it uninhabitable. Like the advertising people we talked about, I'm concerned with the precise manipulation of word and image to create an action, not to go out and buy a Coca-Cola, but to create an alteration in the reader's consciousness. You know, they ask me if I were on a desert island and knew nobody would ever see what I wrote, would I go on writing. My answer is most emphatically yes. I would go on writing for company. Because I'm creating an imaginary—it's always imaginary—world in which I would like to live.