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Video: How Psychedelics Went From Counter Culture to Medical Therapy

From secret CIA experiments to Timothy Leary’s call to “Turn on, tune in, drop out,” portions of LSD's history carry a certain cultural baggage in the United States. The drug’s name, for many, evokes worries over hidden dangers of going insane or experiencing crippling flashbacks, and associations with the impractical 1960s flower children in San Francisco. While still illegal in most uses, psychedelics are slowly gaining a new reputation—as a medicine.

The latest edition of The New York Times documentary series Retro Report traces the rise of LSD from a research drug developed in a Swiss laboratory to a counter cultural scourge and, most recently, a potential medication for mental illness.

At one 1967 counter-cultural festival in San Francisco, the “LSD flowed like wine,” according to a historian of the drug. However, within just a few years, LSD was blamed for suicides and psychosis among users, demonized by media reports, and subject to intense regulatory crackdowns. Classified in 1970 as a Schedule I drug—the most dangerous class of drugs in the eyes of the U.S. government—LSD research became virtually impossible.

But recently, scientists have begun to reexamine LSD and other psychedelics’ potential as therapeutic agents capable of reducing anxiety and depression, combating addiction, modeling schizophrenia, and more. While the law and lingering perceptions about LSD’s reputation as a dangerous chemical make this kind of research difficult to conduct, small studies have shown it to be effective for a variety of psychiatric uses, as the documentary shows, including helping the terminally ill make peace with the prospect of death.

Read more about the history of LSD research from The New York Times.

All images courtesy The New York Times.

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26 Facts About LEGO Bricks

Since it first added plastic, interlocking bricks to its lineup, the Danish toy company LEGO (from the words Leg Godt for “play well”) has inspired builders of all ages to bring their most imaginative designs to life. Sets have ranged in size from scenes that can be assembled in a few minutes to 5000-piece behemoths depicting famous landmarks. And tinkerers aren’t limited to the sets they find in stores. One of the largest LEGO creations was a life-sized home in the UK that required 3.2 million tiny bricks to construct.

In this episode of the List Show, John Green lays out 26 playful facts about one of the world’s most beloved toy brands. To hear about the LEGO black market, the vault containing every LEGO set ever released, and more, check out the video above then subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up-to-date with the latest flossy content.

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Of Buckeyes and Butternuts: 29 States With Weird Nicknames for Their Residents
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Tracing a word’s origin and evolution can yield fascinating historical insights—and the weird nicknames used in some states to describe their residents are no exception. In the Mental Floss video above, host John Green explains the probable etymologies of 29 monikers that describe inhabitants of certain states across the country.

Some of these nicknames, like “Hoosiers” and “Arkies” (which denote residents of Indiana and Arkansas, respectively) may have slightly offensive connotations, while others—including "Buckeyes," "Jayhawks," "Butternuts," and "Tar Heels"—evoke the military histories of Ohio, Kansas, Tennessee, and North Carolina. And a few, like “Muskrats” and “Sourdoughs,” are even inspired by early foods eaten in Delaware and Alaska. ("Goober-grabber" sounds goofier, but it at least refers to peanuts, which are a common crop in Georgia, as well as North Carolina and Arkansas.)

Learn more fascinating facts about states' nicknames for their residents by watching the video above.

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