I’ve Been Neglecting You

My humblest apologies. This is the last week of my revision, and I am behind on my work, and trying to do my best on just a few hours sleep a night. Once the paper is finally sent off, I will have much more breathing space, and I’ll be able to post regularly again. So, bear with me! The end of this period of intense stress cannot come soon enough.

Tough Questions: Protecting the Elderly, or Violation of Privacy?

Many of you who are following the discussions about police brutality in the United States are aware of the call for mandatory body cams on police officers. While this alone will probably do little to counter the apparently abysmal quality of police training, which leads so many officers to commit murder with little to no provocation whatsoever, it is generally agreed that body cams would be a good idea, at least to obtain unbiased evidence of exactly what happened during an altercation which results in someone being severely injured or killed. While policemen are on duty and in public they have no expectation of privacy, and thus body cams would not violate their rights in this regard.

However, recent news out of Australia is bringing up the question of surveillance in a different, and potentially far more complicated context. It involves surveillance in elderly homes, where patients are at particular risk of abuse as they are often too frail to fight back, or are unable to communicate what is being done to them to people outside of the facility.

A woman, suspicious of how her father was being treated in his nursing home in Adelaide, installed a hidden camera in his room, and caught this on tape. I warn you, the video contains abuse of an elderly man.

 

The nurse is, quite clearly, attempting to smother the man in his bed. The statistics mentioned in the video are also startling, claiming that 1 in 20 elderly people in Australia are victims of abuse. This is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed in the country.

However, the proposed solution of mandatory CCTV cameras in nursing homes brings with it far more concerns regarding privacy than any discussion relating to police body cams. In this particular scenario, I’m sure that the woman who managed to record this was very glad she did so, and I expect that the nurse in question was fired and arrested for her behavior. However, the privacy concerns around keeping elderly people in nursing homes under constant surveillance are troubling.

First of all, who would be monitoring these CCTV feeds? If the answer is security personnel within the nursing home itself, it is very likely that cases of abuse will be found and go unreported. Secondly, while the nurses and staff are simply employees who can go home at the end of their shifts, the residents live there. That is their home, and CCTV cameras would be monitoring them in their homes 24/7, which would surely qualify as a violation of privacy. Who wants to spend their last years on this Earth being recorded and monitored every minute of every day, like a rat in a behavioral experiment? Not to mention the fact that those cameras would be picking up medical visits, sponge baths, and a whole lot of other activities that most people would rather not be watched by complete strangers.

Nor is it completely feasible to ask for the consent of those who would be recorded. Some people who live in nursing homes would be competent to give that consent, but many are not. Also, many of these nursing homes have shared rooms, and what if the residents have different opinions on whether or not they should be recorded? Also, why should someone have to choose between completely giving up their privacy and opening themselves up to potential abuse and neglect?

On the other hand, this apparently rampant elder abuse needs to be addressed. I cannot find it in me to fault that woman for secretly recording this footage when she began to suspect her father was being mistreated. Illegal or not, I probably would have done the same thing, because the instinct to protect the people we love will often outweigh our respect for the law in many circumstances, for many people. She clearly felt powerless to address her concerns, and recording him in secret was the only way she could think of to confront the situation.

There is no denying that there should be more accountability and transparency when it comes to the treatment of the elderly in nursing homes, but how does one address this without serious violations of privacy? Right now, I have no way to answer that question. The only thing I can say is, something needs to be done. It is time to give the elderly, as well as the disabled and the mentally ill a voice, to treat them with with respect as human beings, not as disposable burdens on society. It is this mentality towards these groups of people which makes them so vulnerable to abuse in the first place.

 

This Redneck Gets It

People will often adopt a fake, exaggerated redneck accent in order to emphasize that what they are going to say is exceedingly stupid and/or ignorant. This self proclaimed redneck blows that stereotype out of the water, in his message to “his people” about Black Lives Matter.

 

Never judge a person’s reason by their accent.

Now, I can only hope that his perspective, and his ability to put this discussion in a context that others in his community could empathize with, will resonate with at least some of the people he is addressing.

Fuck The Daily Mail

I’m so sick of them.

Yesterday, there was a mass shooting in Munich. A teenager opened fire at a shopping mall, killing 9 people, and himself. It was a shooting straight out of the textbook definition of a lone wolf, he was bullied at school, he researched school shootings, and if he was inspired by any political agenda, it was the alt-right Norwegian Anders Breivik’s.

The Munich police are adamant that he had no ties to Islamic terrorism, nor is there any evidence that he was even remotely inspired by ISIS or any other Islamic terrorist group.  There might be even some evidence that he was Christian, but most say that he was simply not religious, and a “typical teenager”.

A teenage mass shooter, something that anyone remotely familiar with recent US history should know how to characterize, right? Every reputable news outlet around cannot dispute the fact that he was a teenager on a rampage. Which is why the Daily Mail does not even remotely fall under that category.

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Seriously, fuck the Daily Mail. Anything to get clicks on their pathetic excuse for a news outlet.

What Makes A Brat Part II: Breaking Trust

In the ongoing discussion on how different cultures use different kinds of behavior to evaluate whether or not a child is a brat, I realized that there is another kind of behavior that causes contention between the two sides of my family over whether or not I was a brat. The frequency and intensity of tantrums are often used as a measure of a bratty child, and my case is no exception.

While I threw few tantrums as a child (at least, when I was old enough to speak and remember, I have no idea how many tantrums I threw as a toddler), they all seemed to be in the presence of my American family. While they admit that I did not throw many, and never because I wanted to have chocolate for dinner or a new toy in a shop window, the few I threw are legendary and still talked about, over 20 years later. One in particular is brought up every time I visit the States, and I just so happen to remember exactly why it happened.

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This Week In Zoology: Gross, Or Cool?

Yet another video is circling my facebook feed, once again with cries of “What is that?!” coupled with either “Eww gross!” or “What are you talking about that’s super cool!”

Here is the video in question, and you should go ahead and turn on the sound.

 

 

While I admit that the camouflage is well done, if you freeze the video and search for basic body plan, it’s actually fairly simple to spot what it is. Well, at least, more simple than it was the last time.

So, what is it, and what is it doing?

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If Laci Green Wrote Rom-Coms

They might no longer be my second least favorite movie category, after torture porn.

 

 

I completely forgot that Sixteen Candles had such a rapey interchange.

I remember Laci Green from way back when on youtube. I’m glad to see she’s still making videos!

Cultural Differences: What Makes A Brat

Sometimes, amongst colleagues and friends we’ve made as adults, we talk about what we were like as kids. Were we cautions, or adventurous? Were we sporty, or were we indoor types? Were we country mice, or city rats? Were we bratty, or were we calm and respectful? This last question is one that is harder to answer. Most adults don’t think they were brats, even if they were, unless their parents tell them they were. In my case, it is an even harder question to answer. My mother, and her side of the family, love to reminisce about how much of a brat I was, my mother with resignation, the rest of the family with awe for my mother for putting up with me, tinged with some condemnation of my mother for allowing me to be a brat in the first place. My father, and his side of the family, do not think I was bratty at all, and are mystified at what my mother’s side is talking about when they continually categorize me that way.

The discrepancy between them is hardly surprising. Some parents can be very strict, and interpret normal behavior as disrespect or being spoiled. Some parents are completely blind to their child’s brattiness, telling everyone that their screaming kid in the midst of a tantrum is an angel. However, with further prying, and retelling of certain key stories, I realized that the discrepancy in my case came from a deeper cultural difference between my parents. When I tell some of these stories, some adults who never knew me as a child shake their heads, and come to the conclusion that I was a brat, and say that they would have had a hell of a time trying to raise me if I was their child. Others shrug and say that I sounded bright for my age, or laugh, while others are completely puzzled as to where the disagreement lies.

I’m going to tell you one of the stories that I remember most clearly in my mind, in an effort to highlight how different cultures put different weight on certain kinds of behavior, and to see how your respective cultures would react to this kind of situation.

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Oh, Pence is That Guy!

I remember hearing about a Governor that had passed such restrictive laws about reproductive rights that, technically, it criminalized periods. In response, I had heard that women were trolling him by calling his office with continual, and detailed, updates on their periods. Just to make sure they were on the right side of the law, you know.

But until this article came out, I didn’t make the connection. It was Mike Pence, new Republican nominee for VP! So, of course, Periods for Pence now had another mammoth to troll, the Trump campaign.

 

Women protesting the Republican Vice Presidential choice’s big government intrusion into their uterine areas – led by feminist group Periods for Pence – have begun a national call flood of the Donald Trump for President Campaign headquarters.

Women who like the Periods for Pence Facebook page from across Indiana originally began calling Indiana Governor Pence  in late March with updates on their periods, because Republican Vice Presidential nominee Pence enacted a big government, anti-choice law to regulate women’s reproductive organs that is so extreme, it would theoretically criminalize every woman in Indiana who has a period, unless they give a funeral to any miscarried fetuses a proper burial or cremation.

 

While some are even sending in used tampons and pads, Periods for Pence advises against that, as it is technically illegal. However, there is nothing wrong with a polite phone call! For those of you who are interested:

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What Is The Harm Of The Placebo Effect?

An article posted by Cara Santa Maria about banning homeopathy for pets got me thinking about a recent conversation I had with my father about the placebo effect, specifically when it came to homeopathy. While it is well known in the scientific and skeptic community that homeopathy is garbage, and takes full advantage of the placebo effect and anti-modern medicine marketing for its success, my father took the stance that there is an inherent benefit of “prescribing” placebos to patients under certain conditions.

His reasoning was this: if you have a patient that is suffering from insomnia, which is not due to a hormonal imbalance but rather due to an unaddressed anxiety or stress, and a sugar pill helps that patient to sleep at night, isn’t that better for their health than taking potent sleeping aids? Similarly, if a sugar pill helps someone with a generalized anxiety disorder feel more relaxed, or relieve a tension headache, or help a hypochondriac wait out a common cold they are convinced is deadly pneumonia, isn’t that better than giving that person the pharmaceutical counterpart to the homeopathic remedy? While he agrees that placebos are harmful in the context of an ulcer, or cancer, or other conditions in which a patient thinking they feel better will only make them wait for proper treatment and worsen their condition, he posited that using placebos in certain contexts could do a patient far more good than going straight for the heavy duty drugs. After all, sugar pills and drops of distilled water, while being useless cures also carry no side effects, so if plain water helps the condition, why expose the patients to the inevitable side effects, however minor, of drugs with real active ingredients?

While this reasoning has some merit on it’s face, it also ignores some serious downsides to this approach, especially when it comes to homeopathy.

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