A few years ago, I remember seeing a sign during the election season with the campaign slogan, “I’m for the Family”. I thought it was funny because I had never met anyone that was against the family? What do these strange appeals for “family values” mean? The seem vacuous to me. Wouldn’t family values include excellent, free education and healthcare for children – not just for the rich kids. Wouldn’t family values mean valuing families? Yesterday I was asked to sign a petition to tell Congress that they should make insurance for children mandatory. A petition. How insane is it that a petition is required to convince the morons on Capitol Hill that insurance for children is a good idea?
Rupert has just returned back home from Hollyhock in British Columbia in Canada. The popular retreat hosted the most recent trialogue with Rupert Sheldrake, Andrew Weil and Ralph Abraham on the topic of “Placebos and Mind-Body Relationships”. Most of modern medicine and science deny the power of the of mind to heal – yet everyone accepts that placebos are often as effective as the “real thing”. How is it that a simple sugar pill can have an effect on the body’s ability to heal? Head over to Sheldrake’s site to listen to the audio from the discussion:
Sheldrake has written the Forward for a new book, Parapsychology and The Skeptics, by Chris Carter (not the X-Files Chris Carter), on the history of dogmatic skepticism and parapsychology. The book opens with a very interesting anecdote from the seventeenth century – when people believed that balls of fire came hurtling to Earth from space – believers called these “meteorites”. However, because there was not a theory that could accommodate rocks falling from space, the experts agreed that it was obviously a mass delusion. Of course, this still happens today. If the facts don’t fit the theory, to hell with the facts.
In the Forward, Sheldrake writes, “The kind of skepticism Carter is writing about is not the normal healthy kind on which all science depends, but arises from a belief that the existence of psychic phenomena is impossible; they contradict the established principles of science, and if they were to exist they would overthrow science as we know it, causing chaos and confusion.” This looks like a great book. I plan on picking up a copy. I will try to write up a brief review later this month.
Moving a great story from concept to content requires inspiration, a little creativity, a lot of proofreading, and publication – or as they say in the newsroom, “Copy!” A good web content management system (WCMS) makes this happen seamlessly for the content creator. In the newspaper business where a quick content turnaround equals revenue, the last thing software should do is stand in the way.
A field study released Monday by the University of North Carolina School of Public Health suggests that Iraqi citizens experience sadness and a sense of loss when relatives, spouses, and even friends perish, emotions that have until recently been identified almost exclusively with Westerners.
The Greatest and Most Unusual Travel Photo of All Time? – Everything about the image is just so amazing: The poof-y shapes of the clouds in the background…
100-foot deep Andes lake disappears – A five-acre glacial lake in Chile’s southern Andes has disappeared — and scientists want to know why…
No More Black Holes? – A new hypothesis suggests the weirdest objects in the universe don’t exist…
From PsycPORT, “More people kill themselves each year, than the numbers who die from wars and murders combined, but most of these suicides can be prevented, Swiss Radio International reported on Sunday, the day marking the third World Suicide Prevention Day. About 20 million to 60 million people try to kill themselves each year, but only around 1 million of them succeed, said Dr. Jose Manoel Bertolote, a mental health official at the World Health Organization (WHO).
People who become alcoholics later in life usually do not have a close emotional connection with their parents, especially their mothers. They tend to be people who consider themselves very independent – not needing anyone. Of course, everyone needs help and support. Many of these types go on to become ‘stars’ at work though having wrecked personal lives – bad marriages, no real friends. To further compound this problem, people naturally come to have high expectations of this type because of their high level of performance in the workplace. This is a recipe for psychological disaster. Behavior such as this also tends to get reinforced by those around this type. Because it is difficult to get to know this type of person in any meaningful way, what they are feeling or thinking is often a mystery. The pressure to live up to ‘star’ status in the workplace combined with personal isolation and depression in their personal life lead to the familiar pattern of alcoholism. Alcohol becomes a band-aid on a bullet hole.
USA Today: “As the 150th anniversary of Sigmund Freud’s birth approaches on Saturday, mental-health experts consider his legacy mixed: A seminal thinker, Freud was far ahead of his time with some ideas but dead wrong on others. ” (more…)
There is a great article in this month’s Rolling Stone by the respected Princeton University historian, Sean Wilentz. He looks at the Bush administration from several angles. I’m most concerned about the current rage of uncritcal thinking and outdated views on science and Wilentz. From the article:
“While forcing federally funded agencies to remove from their Web sites scientific information about reproductive health and the effectiveness of condoms in combating HIV/AIDS, and while peremptorily overruling staff scientists at the Food and Drug Administration on making emergency contraception available over the counter, Bush officials have censored and suppressed research findings they don’t like by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Agriculture.”
Weekly religious attendance nearly as effective as statins and exercise in extending life, study finds. In a study comparing the associations between faith and health, a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) physician has shown the improvements in life expectancy of those who attend religious services on a weekly basis to be comparable to those who participate in regular physical exercise and to those who take statin-type medications. These findings are published in the March-April issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.