Monday Miscellany

Bitchtopia has a story you’ve heard before, written beautifully.
[Content note: suicide, self-harm, abuse]

Just because a story is difficult to tell, does not mean it should not be heard. Unfortunately, this story is neither unique nor rare. The odds of you having heard it before are high, perhaps you’ve even heard this one. But I want to tell it because I want everyone to know how proud I am of the girl in this tale. Because she did beat the odds. She did eventually “win”. And her side of the story deserves to be heard.

Chana would like you to stop FAPing, please. It’s [not] exactly what it sounds like.

Because I’m not heading into grad school right now, I get this less than Miri does, but seriously, stop telling me that social work pays badly.

Intent is, in fact, fucking magic. An argument against a phrase I see floating around the FtB commentariat.

Guys. Stop with the “chemical free” junk. That is not A Thing.

I hope I’m not being a bossy condescending whatever. I’m really sorry if I am, but I find the demonizing of chemicals deeply disturbing. When all chemicals are lumped into the same category, the world becomes an unnecessarily scary place. I’m not saying that none of them are scary. I’ve inhaled thionyl chloride and I thought my lungs were going to crawl out of my burning nose. It was a yet another case of “You know better, asshole” but I only needed 10 mL, so I thought I could just pour it really quickly outside of the fume hood and everything would be fiiiiiine. Thionyl chloride is used in nerve gas so everything was not fine.
ANYWAY.
“Chemical free” is a term made up by some marketing person to scare you.
Implicit Association Tests and Suicidality. Like the author, I’m a little skeptical, but happy that research into predicting suicide is being funded.
This is the ethos behind Sandberg (and Anne Marie Slaughter’s “Having it all”) kind of feminism: women should be able to chose a career and have the very same options as men. Here’s where I was wrong: this is not merely capitalist feminism. This is a neoliberal, libertarian articulation of feminism. It was John Stuart Mill who stated “that no one should be forcibly prevented from acting in any way he chooses provided his acts are not invasive of the free acts of others“. Or, should I say, it was Stuart Mill who set the foundations of contemporary libertarian politics. This idea of personal freedom is then presented to us as “neutral and universal”. We all have the same choices (or so we are told). However, I want to challenge this idea of freedom just by bringing out the fact that slavery was abolished in the US only 148 years ago; in the colonial territories of The Netherlands, it was abolished 150 years ago; France abolished slavery in its former colony of Anjouan in 1899 (to give a perspective of how contemporary this event is, there is a man in Japan who was already alive when this abolition took place). So, our ideas of freedom are not only not universal but they haven’t been universally granted and, moreover, the choices available to us as a result of this freedom (or lack of it) are not universally equal either. These choices come with a heavy legacy of racial, class, ability and gender normativity histories, both personal and affecting our families, communities and heritages.
I’m in need of more blogs to read–ideally with daily or semi-daily content. What do you like?

For Best Results, Trust in God and Use Large Sample Sizes

Earlier this week, Crommunist pointed me to this article in The Atlantic, People Who Believe in God are More Responsive to Treatment of Depression. And ohhh boy do I have feelings and crinkly skeptic eyebrows.

[As a side note, I’d like to thank The Atlantic for putting a link to the original research in their footnotes. Nice touch, actually including the science you’re talking about. Everyone else, take heed.]

While I wasn’t particularly impressed with the article in the Atlantic, there were some good things to be said about the original research (found here if you have access. At the very least you should see the abstract and summary).

First, a word of caution. This is a prospective study. In other words, a study that followed people over time, in real time. That means that there’s a small sample size (159 participants), because it’s hard to find funding for an following a huge group of people. Retrospective studies can offer the ability to have a large group of participants, but also mean that you can quite easily miss important variables. As a result, prospective studies are considered to yield data a cut above that of retrospective. The tradeoff is, the smaller sample size can cause the occasional news site to get super excited about what are pretty conditional results.

What did they do?

Okay, so what actually happened? Researches went to McLean Hospital (an excellent place to get psychiatric care, I hear), and talked to patients in their day program. These are clients who aren’t living in the hospital, but are coming to receive services all day and returning to their homes at night. (This sort of thing is also called partial hospitalization).

All participants were given a battery of statistically sound tests to measure congregational support, religious affiliation, depression, self-harm, and belief in God, as well as psychological well-being.

Of Note: No God was specified, the participants were simply asked “Do you believe in God?” and told to circle a number from 1 to 5, where 1 is defined as “not at all” and 5 is defined as “a strong sense of belief”.

No part of treatment was changed–the researchers were just interested in who seemed to respond best to treatment.

Who did they look at?

The methods section is a little fuzzy on whether they approached 159 patients and two refused from that point, or whether 159 was the total number of participants. Regardless, the sample size wasn’t terrible large.

On one hand, this is a group of people in a very well controlled environment–a hospital–one of the few ways you can have control over environmental factors during the study. On the other, anywhere between many and most–those are the scientific terms–of people with depression and anxiety won’t be hospitalized. So you’ve got a slice of the population with very serious manifestations of these disorders, possibly with presentations that aren’t responsive to traditional coping mechanisms or therapy. [Keep that last part in mind, it comes up again.]

On the other, you have a  very particular subset of people with these disorders. Partial hospitalization programs take your entire day–that means you’r either taking time off from your job or not working. While insurance usually covers partial hospitalization, you have to actually have insurance. That means that what we’re looking at here is a subset of people with access to this kind of care.

And what does the methods section say about the demographics?

 Most participants were Caucasian (83.6%) and single (61.4%), and there were a high number of college graduates (45.3%). Impairment in the sample was high in that 56% of participants were unemployed, and all patients presented with global assessment of functioning (GAF) scores of <45, representing serious symptoms/impairment.

…Sounds a lot like what we’d expect.

What was found?

Even after controlling for age and gender (Women and those who are older are more likely to believe in God), belief in god was related to having better outcomes in the program. Not related to outcome: religious affiliation. You didn’t have to believe a certain kind of God, you just had to believe there was a god out there.

Belief in God was also related to having greater support from the religious community, (I’m shocked, I tell you, SHOCKED), but not related to having a greater ability to regulate emotions.

So should you convert to vaguely-unspecific-god-belief? Probably not. Researchers actually concluded something entirely different than the title of the article would lead you to believe. It appears that there was an important mediating variable: belief in the success of the treatment process. People who believed in God were significantly more likely to place their trust in the ability of the program to help them.

Belief in treatment credibility and expectancy of success across levels of belief in God.

Belief in treatment credibility and expectancy of success across levels of belief in God.

And that, not belief in God, strikes me as the more important link. People who believe in the the ability of a type of therapy to help them are far more likely to see results of the therapy than those who are skeptical. And it appears that those who have faith in a deity are also more likely to believe in the authority of their psychologists and psychiatrists–perhaps an expected result?

Some words on race as it influences this research:

Eighty-three percent of these participants were Caucasian. In the United States, even when controlling for income, mental health spending for outpatient care (aka partial hospitalization) for Latino and black consumers is only 60-75% of that for whites. Add to that the long history psychiatry and medcine has of unacceptable medical experiements on minorities. Testing psychotropic drugs on black and Hispanic children, overseas pharmacological experiments, and on and on. Is it so surprising that we find significant differences in trust of physicians in ethnic minorities?

What does this mean with respect to this study? Research has shown that African Americans are more likely to avoid seeking early treatment, like outpatient care for their depression. (Research is contradictory on this phenomenon in Latino populations.*)

Black and hispanic rates of admission to inpatient hospitalization care are, as a result, much higher. Without the ability to trust in or access preventative health care, many more are going to need emergency services, including involuntary commitment, which can be an unpleasant process; first responders are often untrained in compassionate care of psychiatric patients. And so the cycle of distrust repeats. Which means fewer minority participants in studies like these, which means care tailored to non-minority clients.

General conclusions:

This is…an interesting study.

It’s not badly done by any means. But it is a small sample size, and not very generalize-able to the population of people with depression. I’d like to see more research that examines a cross-section of people in inpatient, outpatient, and therapeutic settings, with a careful eye to the influence of trust in psychiatry. Until then, I’m willing to reach a cautionary conclusion that for white participants who can and need access outpatient programs, belief in god is linked to belief in the promised results of treatment, which leads to better outcomes, with the caveat that the populations of People Who Can Access Outpatient Care and People Who Trust Outpatient Care In The First Place overlap heavily.

 * I know I’m actually just talking about two specific minorities in this section. Unfortunately, there’s basically no other research available. If someone say, had extra money to throw at research into other minorities and psychiatric care, they should do that posthaste. 

Scammers on Craigslist

ScamOh, there’s nothing new about scammers on CL, but what is the point of having a blog if I cannot post about them.  I am trying to sell a basically new MacBook Pro because my stolen computer got returned to me several weeks after I got a replacement.  I got an e-mail from someone asking me to ship it to West Africa — they would pay through PayPal in advance.  So, West Africa sets off alarm, but PayPal in advance makes sense.  But the e-mail also mentioned that the guy was out of town (trawling Columbia, SC CL of all places) AND he was going to pay me way more than I asked for.

So, I asked Emmett who said it was a scam, though it wasn’t clear how, and then I googled the message and got some hits.   For your enjoyment, here is the scam e-mail I received:

It’s OK, I will go with your price, Actually i am from Salt Lake city in Utah and am currently on a field trip, but want to purchase it for my daughter that is currently in West Africa working with American Embassy,her wedding is coming up next 3 weeks, I promised her a surprise gift and this happened to be what I want.

I have a PayPal account and can pay you right away, it’s secure and protects two parties in a transaction. Please if you do have paypal account,send me your Payment request of $1380 which will cover the cost price, shipping and insurance to ship to my daughter’s destination. Once you send the request i will proceed with the payment.

My verified paypal account @ ryananthony51@hotmail.com. I will forward my daughter’s residential address to you for shipping as soon as the payment gets to you…

Sincerely Waiting.
Ryan (801) 513-3035

Apparently, from what I can get from other sources, they wait for you to ship and then dispute the payment on Paypal.  Or they send payment to a similar address to yours that they create, hoping you don’t notice the difference.

For your researching purposes, here are a bunch of other examples along the same lines.  Thanks Google.

Same e-mail with someone who followed up.

Hello Shelby,
I got your mail.
Actually i am from Salt Lake city in Utah but want to purchase for my daughter that is currently in West Africa working with American Embassy,her birthday is coming up so i want to buy a surprise gift for her.Please if you do have a PayPal account,provide it to me so that I will Make the payment to you. It’s secure and protects two parties in a transaction.
I will be paying you the total of $280 for both the cost price and the shipping.
Please i need the information fast so that your payment will reach you before the
day runs out to enable you ship the Packages fast.
Thanks for anticipation.
Rita….

Blackhat forum post with similar email.

I will go with your price, Actually i am from Altanta GA and am currently on a field trip, but want to purchase it for my daughter that is currently working with America Embassy in West Africa, her birthday is coming up next Friday, I promised her a surprise gift and this happened to be what I want. I have a PayPal account and can pay you right away, it’s secure and protects two parties in a transaction. if you do have paypal account,send me a Payment request of $427 which will cover the cost price, shipping and insurance to ship to my daughter’s destination. Once you send the request i will proceed with the payment. My verified paypal account @ xxxxxxxxxgmail.com I will forward my daughter’s residential address to you for shipping as soon as the payment gets to you. Sincerely Waiting. Hxxxxxxd Lxxxxxxxxe

Echeng with lots of comments about CL Scams.

From: larry Linda larrylinda5@gmail.com
Date: August 18, 2009 4:58:35 AM PDT
Subject: Re: Blackberry Bold 9000, original box – $270 (SOMA / south beach)

Hello, Nice to here back from you, I don’t have pick up arrangements due to the fact that I’m out of the Country to Athens Greece for a Conference meeting,so you will be shipping the item to my Son in West Africa.I’m buying the item for him as a Gift because he win a scholarship in two days ago and i we be offering you $275 for the item and $100 to cover up the shipping fee down to him at oversea,I will be paying you via PayPal.So kindly get back to me with your Confirmed PayPal e-mail address so that i can transfer the funds into your Account,so you will be shipping the item via the USPS Express Mail Service(EMS) after payment has been done.i will be waiting to here back from you with your paypal account info so that i can send that to paypal online for the instant money transfer.get back to me ASAP…

Your ED Friend: Six Years Later

[Obvious TW is really glaringly obvious.]

“I had an eating disorder.”

“I guessed.”

We were juniors, boyfriend and girlfriend, officially. Up late and texting, doing that flirting thing where you demand each others deepest secrets and pretend you’re giving yours away.

Except I did give mine away.

“I had an eating disorder.”

I was lying, of course. It wasn’t the past tense–it was the second year of an eating disorder, one that would get worse, more disorganized, and wreak much more havoc on my sanity in the coming four years.

But it was the first step.

And he had guessed–known, really, for months. He’s my best friend now, far and away in Texas. In this month, marking six years since I developed what would reach clinical-level anorexia, I asked him about it.  He doesn’t remember when he figured it out, really. It was, according to him, always part of how he knew me.

And I don’t think he’s wrong. It’s been six years ago, as of this month, since the behavioral side of anorexia started. Every time I’ve looked back and tried to think “back when I was stable/normal/didn’t have an eating disorder”…I realize I’m looking back at times when I was actually worse, when I wasn’t eating, when I couldn’t go ten minutes without invasive, obsessive thoughts about food.

Six years. More than a quarter of my life.

There’s this thing they talk about in therapy some times: grieving for the normal self. Because even were your disorder to remit entirely…you wouldn’t go back to being Old You. Your brain learns things. You grow and bend and shape yourself around coping mechanisms and triggers and ways of responding to the world. Old You is just gone. And Old You was a whole person, with plans and potential and places to go and things to do and ways of looking at the world. Maybe a little more optimistic, a little shinier and fresh-faced. You get to have all those things again, those plans and that potential, it’s true. But sometimes they’re a little dusty, a chipped, in pieces.

And I really liked Old Kate.

Therapy was a eulogy, stories of when I could look in mirrors, and dancing and days when I could just throw on clothes in the morning.

And now, finally, I think I’ve laid that Kate to rest.

A photographer friend took this for me--a lasting reminder that I can be happy in this body.

A photographer friend took this for me–a lasting reminder that I can be happy in this body.

I’m…this Kate.

I have this weird alternate life where I write things on the internet and people read them. On weekends I go to conferences and go by a different name, and on Monday the coach turns into the best pumpkin ever and I work at Fabulous Unspecified Internship.

I’ve gone skinny-dipping. I’ve gone skinny-dipping in Lake Michigan in the middle of winter. (Note: REALLY cold.)

I am emotionally able to care for another animal and I know this because I’m doing it right now.

I live in a city that I love. I’m in love.

I don’t dance anymore, and it hurts. But sometimes I actually see New Kate in the mirror, and that makes me think that someday I’ll go back into a studio.

I’ve learned some of two different languages, and I get to take classes about bioethics and astronomy and artificial intelligence and and and…and each day ends with just wanting more more more. More books, more research, more people who want to know anything about everything and everything about anything.

There’s something they don’t tell you about eating disorders. About how much you want more than anything to wake up and be in a different skin, how much you don’t want to feel your own body, to notice what space you take up.

But New Kate is still here, taking up space.

I’d like to keep doing that.

I get e-mail — Cinematic Appraisals: “Mind Science” or Pseudoscience

polygraphI got a very hurt e-mail from someone yesterday.

A few years ago, before I was at Freethoughtblogs, I wrote an article about a service offered to film producers called “Cinematic Appraisals”.  I had recently optioned my screenplay and I was generally up-to-date with everything, but a friend sent me a link to their site telling me I would have a field day.  It still reads like fake science and a potential scam, especially at $50/page, but I now also know that they are so unprofessional that they didn’t even realize I was the second highest Google result until a client pointed it out to them.

Of course, now that I have been reminded of their existence, I have to write about them again.

A potential client mentioned your blog as a top result when searching our company name, Cinematic Appraisals.

We are a small company that performs emotional response testing for investors and have no idea how we ever drew your negative attention. The Home page of our website states that we do not work for writers or agents (we refer them to The Writer’s Store, which offers a smaller-scale emotional response section at no additional charge with their script coverage).

Would you please do us the courtesy of explaining how our services have affected you and how you have determined those services are fraudulent, or of kindly removing the damaging post? Again, we are a small business who puts a great deal of time and care into the work we perform.

The really charming part of the website is where it explains it’s “patented” science, which sounds like someone holds onto an e-meter or is attached to a lie detector while reading the screenplay and they measure the “results”.  While there is some science being done to measure reactions to movies, as far as I have been able to find, there are absolutely no conclusions and nothing that could be extrapolated to reading a screenplay.

THE SCIENCE BEHIND THE MIND SCIENCE METHOD

Cinematic Appraisals’ patent-pending Mind Science Method is based on neuroscientific research (citation needed) conducted (by whom) over the last 40 years (citation needed). The Mind Science Method measures neurobiological triggers and reactions (how), assigning a proven value (citation needed) for each level (of what).

It’s long been known (by whom) that moviegoers psychologically fall into a state of “suspended disbelief” (citation needed) when watching stories play out on film (which is not the same as reading a screenplay), which is just the beginning of what goes on in the psyche and the body during film watching (citation needed). Viewers’ physiological responses also fluctuate depending upon their level of involvement with the story and action (citation needed). While watching something highly stimulating, the human body releases a host of limbic chemical responses (citation needed, which responses). The dose of chemicals released is proportionate to the level of emotional stimuli (citation needed), creating lasting emotions (citation really needed).

In other words, when the protagonist runs, the connected viewer’s heart rate will increase (citation needed). When the protagonist holds his breath, so does the connected viewer (citation needed). This state has been compared (by whom) to the state of partial hypnosis (not even “full hypnosis”? a state not entirely recognized by science, citation needed) —a state normally only achieved when dreaming (hypnosis and dreaming are the same? citation needed).

The Mind Science Method gauges this degree of connection with the material (the screenplay, they have, of course, been talking about watching movies, not reading) using our unique patented neurobiological algorithms (patented apparently means “not gonna tell you anything”). This allows the producer to tell when the screenplay produces this hypnotic-like state—and when it does not (citation needed). This allows a producer to reverse-engineer the screenplay to create one audiences will love (evidence?), before going through the expense of production.

Proven in the lab (citation needed) and the real world (citation needed) to correlate (ah, correlation) with neurobiological responses (which have apparently not been “proven” to correlate with success of a film).

The Mind Science Method has been lab tested (by whom) and is proven to correlate (but not measure?) with the actual psychophysiological responses of a subject to the screenplay. Testing measured neurobiological activity with a variety of electrodermal equipment including galvanic skin monitor, electromyrograms, a zygomaticaus, a corrogator, an EEG and EKG MP150WSW with Tel100C remote monitoring module data acquisition system (does this just mean lie detector?).

Over the course of years of testing and development, the Mind Science Method has been used to objectively (lol) rate more than 30 scripts for films with known gross box office receipts (and how did they do?), verifying the validity of our method (but not well enough for us to share the validity measures) and giving us a statistical basis (citations???) for predicting the success of a script with known Mind Science Method scores.

My response to the woman who e-mailed me was simple:

I am a blogger who writes about the entertainment world and skepticism. A producer who is a friend of mine alerted me to your website and I wrote about it, as I imagine you got from the original post, because the “mind science” as explained on your website seems to be pseudo-science and you provide no detailed explanation or scientific corroboration of your methods.

I am happy to write further about the science behind your service if you are willing to provide any peer-reviewed, scientific studies. Or any further information about what exactly the service you provide is, how it works, why it costs that much, any evidence that the responses you measure are accurate measures of emotions, any evidence that emotional responses are related to film success, or any projects that have been successful through your help.

Monday Miscellany

Bulimia, Non-Purging Type? Should that continue to be a diagnosis? Tetyana works through it. (For a crash course on bulimia, I strongly suggest her guest post for this site.)

Chana looks at glorifying political incorrectness.

This social disapproval is what people are referring to when they talk about political correctness and the lack of free speech. What they mean is that they can’t express morally bereft opinions without someone pointing out how morally bereft it is. That, I’m afraid, is what it is to live in a social community with moral standards.

Dear News, Stop Trying To Entertain Me:

No, really. Stop it.

I don’t need flashy graphics, scary music and breathless reporters. I don’t need to “Find out after the commercial break!!”

I don’t want you to be the first with your breaking news and speculations.

I *really* don’t want you to interview heartbroken relatives, shell-shocked neighbors and terrified kids.

Ever.

The Bill of Rights was written for Dzhokar Tsarnaev.

It wasn’t written for those suspected of minor violations.

The Boston Marathon bombing was a particularly heinous crime. No one with a pulse could help but feel deeply for the parents of an eight-year-old boy killed by this senseless act or the others killed or permanently maimed. Most red-blooded men would have liked nothing better than to have been the one who found Dzhokar Tsarnaev, praying he’d resist arrest.

Those are perfectly healthy feelings, but the awful power of the state is not supposed to be set loose based upon feelings. It is supposed to be restrained by reason. God help us if we forget.

Body Integrity Identity Disorder–when it feels like part of your body doesn’t belong to you.

It’s okay to look away–it’s been a long hard week, but this applies at any time.

It’s okay to look away. It’s okay not to see all the pictures and all the reactions. It’s okay not to hear or read every new thing that all the reporters and friends of the affected and bystanders hear or think. It’s okay to put your head down and walk away. It’s okay to go do something that makes you feel good even when this many people feel bad.

I, for one, can’t take it all. The stress of hours spent on this is bad for me. I’m hardly alone. Whether the tragedy is due to unpredictable occurences, negligence, or malice, spending too much time dwelling on the fact that the world contains all these things just isn’t good for many of us.

Happy Monday, y’all!

5 beautiful things from today

mehI’m trying to force myself to be more engaged with the world, which can be difficult to do when you’ve got the imaginary pressure of “must write something brilliant” when really you just aren’t feeling brilliant at all.  Instead, see all of these other brilliant things.

1. Modern Art in Cake

Caitlin Freeman makes awesome cakes inspired by modern art.

 

modernartdessert

 

modernartdesserts3

 

modern art desserts1

2. Lenticular Rabbits

Street art by Roa, making use of the nature of the available canvas.

roa-8

3. 21 tips for depressos

17) Avoid fictional drama and tragedy like the plague. No Grey’s Anatomy, no to The Notebook, or anything that won a Pulitzer prize. You’ve got enough going on In Real Life. Comedy only.  Or trashy stuff. Old episodes of WonderWoman? I’ve got the box set. Mindless drivel, like the latest CGI blockbuster. Or clever, funny books. David Sedaris. Jenny Lawson. Fiction exists to elicit emotion, and the emotion you need to express most right now is laughter.

I take this advice very seriously in my life.

4. 2D/3D Goldfish paintings

l_conch-hand-painting-goldfish-art-42b1

3D-goldfish-paintings-riusuke-fukahori-thumb640

image_large

 

5. The Astronomical Kid raps

Music video for Astro aka The Astronomical Kid performing “He Fell Off”, the first video off of his mixtape “Deadbeats and Lazy Lyrics”. © 2013 Grade A Tribe (h/t Emmett)
https://twitter.com/astronomicalKid

Boston and the bad that reveals the good

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” — Fred Rogers

So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, “The good outnumber you, and we always will.” — Patton Oswald

bostonI have been really struggling this last month or so with anxiety and depression — they tend to come together, in deeply fatiguing, self-reinforcing cycles of emotional exhaustion.   The pressure of the end of my coursework for my PhD, impending comprehensive exams, being disowned, recurrent illness, having to move suddenly, death and rape threats, and coping with break-ins and stuff being stolen has all been just a lot for me to deal with.  And while I have more or less coped, sometimes I’ve been a lot closer to less than to more.

It used to be that things like what just happened in Boston would make it worse.  It would set off my anxiety about being in public spaces, irrational fear about things truly unlikely to happen to me, and the fact that humanity was capable of such things would depress me.  It’s called terrorism for a reason, and being prone to feeling terror at minor things like telephones ringing, it makes sense that I’d get it from major things like people being attacked.

I felt a little sad today, as I read about what happened, but I mostly felt a rush of love for Bostonians and those at the marathon who immediately set about trying to help those who had been hurt, tell others what was going on, and figure out what had happened.  This is probably partly detachment, but it is also that I see the events much more differently than I used to.  The truly amazing thing about when things go wrong isn’t that things could or did go wrong, but that so many people risk their own safety and lives, often instinctively, to help strangers.

And actually, as difficult as my last few months have been and as much as I haven’t gotten my depression and anxiety fully under control, other people have repeatedly shown their fundamental decency and desire to be the person who makes things even just a little bit better for me.  People can be terrible, but most of us are just waiting for a chance to be wonderful to one another, it just sometimes gets lost in our own daily struggles.  But not always.

See people run towards the explosion, see the message from the Red Cross that they had enough donated blood only hours after the explosions, see strangers opening their homes to out-of-towners evacuated from their hotels. Know hope.

Monday Miscellany

Oh hai. It’s a new week! I’m back at work at the Unspecified Internship at a Neat Place. But, I can tell you what I’m doing this summer–working at the SSA!

This post by Yvain/Scott Alexander is so good it gets TWO pull quotes:

I can’t even get angry with people who say polyamory is incompatible with true love. They’re just empirically wrong, like someone who remarks confidently that hippos have six legs. They’re not evil or even deluded. They just obviously haven’t seen any hippos. You don’t really want to argue with them so much as take them to a zoo, after which you are confident they will realize their mistake.

I don’t drink much, not because I’m especially virtuous but because I hate the taste of alcohol and the atmosphere of bars and parties. In the same way, I’m not promiscuous, not because I’m especially virtuous but because I’m sort of borderline asexual. I like cuddling people, kissing people, falling in love with people, petting people’s hair, writing sonnets about people, and a few things less blogaboutable, but having sex isn’t an especially interesting experience for me. I treat it kind of like watching a chick flick – something one might do to get the nice warm feeling of doing romantic things and bonding as a couple, but wait a second why the heck is she kissing him now and that scene made no sense and THIS MOVIE HAS NO PLOT HOW DID IT MAKE $100 MILLION AT THE BOX OFFICE?”

Ahaha, oh look, it’s my feelings exactly.

“Because you don’t have to wait for a revolution to be a person, and neither does anyone else.” Real Social Skills on the importance of separating your legitimacy from your ideology.

In news that certainly didn’t surprise anyone who’s recently been in public school, the ‘obesity prevention’ programs many schools offer can be the start of eating disorders, disordered eating*, and really unhealthy habits. Shockingly, when you treat being fat as objectively bad and being thin as objectively good, problems abound.

In horrifying news, we have this: Nevada has been bussing the mentally ill to other states

In recent years, as Nevada has slashed funding for mental health services, the number of mentally ill patients being bused out of southern Nevada has steadily risen, growing 66 percent from 2009 to 2012. During that same period, the hospital has dispersed those patients to an ever-increasing number of states.

By last year, Rawson-Neal bused out patients at a pace of well over one per day, shipping nearly 400 patients to a total of 176 cities and 45 states across the nation.

Lessons learned from a decade of depression.

Cranberries: still not going to cure your urinary tract infection.

If you’re in the Chicago area, I’m giving a talk about schizophrenia this weekend.

——-

*Where eating disorders are clinical patterns of eating, and disordered eating is subclinical behavior, like skipping a few meals to feel better about getting dessert or somesuch.