26 August 2010

Tufariello's Elegant Preparation

Franklin A Davis has just published a derivative paper, Asymmetric Total Synthesis of (S)-(+)-Cocaine and the First Synthesis of Cocaine C-1 Analogs from N-Sulfinyl β-Amino Ester Ketals, whose title makes clear its contents.

The paper builds upon an earlier preparation of cocaine by Tufariello (Tetrahedron Let, 1978, 30, 1133) which uses the key step of the intramolecular nitrone cycloaddition.

All very interesting, especially if you're a chemist - the newly published paper does Tufariello's chemistry using a homochiral starting material.

The reason for making the post is that it is a follow up to, No Future for Cocaine, in which I pointed out that there is growing evidence for the decline of cocaine and heroin and their replacement by synthetics.

So, what happens when cocaine and heroin are produced not from plants but in laboratories? Will this give an extra impetus to their position in the drugs market?

She Cut Me

The Telegraph reports, "Dr Wendy Chapman could be struck off for alleged role in Bloodgate scandal", which explains,

"Dr Wendy Chapman faces a GMC Fitness to Practice hearing in Manchester which will consider allegations that she deliberately cut the lip of Harlequins wing Tom Williams to cover up his use of a fake blood capsule.

The GMC alleges that Dr Chapman’s conduct was “likely to bring the profession into disrepute and was dishonest”.

Chapman, an A&E consultant at Maidstone Hospital, was working as Harlequins’ match-day doctor during the Heineken Cup quarter-final against Leinster. She was suspended in September last year after her alleged role in the affair was revealed, and could face being struck-off if the three-member GMC panel believe her conduct was serious enough to warrant the most severe penalty at its disposal.

My question is ... why isn't she being prosecuted for assaults occasioning actual bodily harm contrary to section 47 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 and wounding contrary to section 20 of the Act of 1861 (24225 Vict. c. 100)?

When I first read about Dr Chapman's behaviour, I immediately thought of the notorious case of,

R v Brown [1992] UKHL 7 (11 March 1993)

a case which concerned a group of people who consensually inflicted harm upon one another. The group of people were sadomasochists, they filmed one another inflicting harm upon each other, they then distributed the resulting video footage amongst other members of the group. Throughout, everything was consensual.

These people were prosecuted and convicted, why not Chapman?

23 August 2010


Fresh from the courts, the WLR Daily brings us details about Regina v Hamer [2010] WLR (D) 235.

The appeal court said,

"A fixed penalty notice which had been issued to a defendant pursuant to s 2 of the Criminal Justice and Police Act 2001 was not a conviction, admission of guilt, proof that a crime had been committed, or a stain on the defendant’s character, and therefore could not be regarded as evidence which impugned the character of the defendant or admitted as such.
The Court of Appeal (Criminal Divison) so held when dismissing an appeal by the defendant, Gareth Hamer, against his conviction on 12 January 2010 by the Crown Court at Harrow, before Judge Holt and a jury, for an offence of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, contrary to s 47 of the Offences against the Person Act 1861.

So, what was the point of issuing such a penalty notice?

Oh, and thanks for the clarification Thomas LJ.

20 August 2010

Manufactured by ...

The UK Border Agency tells us of the conviction of two people who smuggled methyl amphetamine (30kg) into the UK,

Picture Courtesy of Daylight's Depict

"The officers searched the vehicle and found that the foam beneath the rear seat had been cut out and then reinserted to cover two packages. The packages' contents tested positive for crystal meth, with an estimated street value of £30,000.

Both men were charged under section 3(1) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, contrary to section 170(2)(b) of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979.

But where did it come from? This wasn't cooked up in some back street lab.

18 August 2010

Man to Pig

Quiz - where does the following quote originate?

"The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which."

17 August 2010

Revolutionary Leaders

More from the Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire,

"Conversely, revolutionary leaders who do not act dialogically in their relations with the people either have retained characteristics of the dominator and are truly not revolutionary; or they are totally misguided in their conception of their role, and - prisoners of their own sectarianism - are equally non-revolutionary. They may even reach power. But the validity of any revolution resulting from antidialogical action is thoroughly doubtful."

Which made me think of ...

09 August 2010

False Generosity

Currently reading the Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire, a book that is often mentioned by the Activist Teacher, which says,

"Any attempt to 'soften' the power of the oppressor in deferrence to the weakness of the oppressed almost always manifests itself in the form of false generosity; indeed, the attempt never goes beyond this. In order to have the continued opportunity to express their "generosity", the oppressors must perpetuate injustice as well. An unjust social order is the fount of this 'generosity', which is nourished by death, despair and poverty."

What about free education: is this a form of false generosity?

Obviously it is.

Why is your (or your child's) education more important than someone else's "death, despair and poverty"?

This leads me to recollect the work of James Tooley. Read and (literally) weep. He studies the provision of private education in poverty stricken areas around the world.

I heard his name mentioned about ten years ago when someone was describing the work of the Awdal Roads Company where they said, in passing, that they had met James Tooley in Somalia.