Scary Carrey, Testosterone, And A 21st Century Breakdown

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | April 24, 2009 11:16 am

Today I’m headed to San Francisco, kicking off three weeks of travel.  By early May I’ll hit my hometown for the NYAS Two Cultures conference and then it’s back west for a few days at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.  Posting from me may be patchy at times, but I have full confidence Chris will keep everyone on their toes.  While I’m miles overhead, some odds and ends:

1) Jim Carrey in HuffPo:

In this growing crisis, we cannot afford to blindly trumpet the agenda of the CDC, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) or vaccine makers.

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again, for the sake of our kids, parents: do not confuse entertainment with the ability to provide sound medical advice.

2) Recently came across terrific audio from a 2002 episode of This American Life while researching testosterone for my next book.  Griffin Hansbury is a transsexual who asserts that after receiving ‘T’ (testosterone), he became interested in science and understood physics. Perhaps, but I suspect he may also be susceptible to placebo.  Listen and decide for yourself.

3) I’ve just learned coincidentally, that Mary Roach–author of Bonk–is speaking in San Fransisco tonight. Small world.

4) Since I’m headed to Oakland next week, it’s good reason to remind readers that in 21 days, Green Day’s long anticipated 21st Century Breakdown drops!  Today also marks the debut of the first video from a track called Know Your Enemy.  Great expectations for this album…

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Culture, Media and Science, Travel

Comments (8)

Links to this Post

  1. aquarium long beach | May 2, 2009
  2. Lousy Canuck | June 11, 2009
  1. It’s heartening to see that JC reprises his role from Dumb and Dumberer in daily life. That’s called really getting into the skin of the character. Have fun in SanFran.

  2. Walker

    Huffington Post is a well-known enabler and gathering place for the anti-vaccine crowd. The fact that Huffington Post is now being considered as a legitimate news outlet (they have a WH correspondent) makes this even more annoying.

  3. Jason

    I for one, after taking salvia divonorum, understood the nature of the universe. For about five minutes. Then I forgot, whoops. Take -that- Griffin!

  4. That This American Life episode re-aired a couple of months ago and I remember noticing that very statement with amazement!

  5. Orson


    No doubt you know of Andrew Sullivan’s essay on replacement T (for this HIV-Aids survivor). I’m also a barely middle-aged man whose endocrine problems (from PTSD) resulted in bad testes and adrenal malfunction, necessitating HRT-testosterone.

    I’ve had to try all HRT methods because of a bad side-effect profile. Overdosing on T is interesting (BIG nausea) effect. More fun-yes-memory improved (but not on transdemal T). A lack of interest in music SUDDENLY swelled on T.

    This is one of the BIG sex differences related to testosterone: there are no great female composers (although among singer-songwriters since the ’90s? One can make a case for female dominance….). Subjectively, the ear-tickling aural pleasure of sounds returned.

    Oddly enough, transdermal T does not do it all. I take DHEA (normally produced by the adrenals) supplement to prevent severe hypoglycemia (eg, coma). DHEA converts to T in the liver. The net result is adult acne (sebum production climbs on DHEA), but also markedly improved memory function.

    This exceptionally active side-effect profile, with good and bads, is likely related to a shrunken hippocampus, from over-exposure to cortisol (ie, because of PTSD). For instance, codeine, formerly no problem, now simply causes too much nausea. Medicating almost anything is tricky now.

    Just a few annectdotal accounts for your comparison.

  6. Orson

    FORGET to add: Sullivan’s account rings very true to my experience on HRT. The different methods of doing so pose an interesting added complication. Different subjects will have different side-effect profiles.


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About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry. Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 For more information, visit her website or email Sheril at


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