Monday, 18 December 2017

“Less-lethal” is a deceptive term to describe the weapons that routinely kill and maim peaceful protesters

a post by Cory Doctorow for the Boing Boing blog

This short interview with Homer Venters from Physicians for Human Rights, recorded in May at the the Right to Protest conference in Buenas Aires, is a succinct and important summary of the lie of “less-lethal” crowd-control weapons that kill and maim protesters, from tear-gas burns on lung-tissue to lethal, point-blank rubber bullet usage.

Continue reading (there’s a video, some more text and a link to further information about crowd control weapons)

Less lethal? That is a very poor use of the English language. Lethal means I am going to be dead, destroyed, annihilated. How can I be less dead?

Detachment: A Strategy for Friends and Family of Adult Addicts

a post by Michelle Farris for the World of Psychology blog

For every adult who struggles with addiction, there are many affected by its destruction. Family, co-workers, and friends are among those who become witnesses to the downward spiral of self-destructive behavior. Attempts to fix a friend or loved one experiencing addiction become increasingly frustrating as the chaos becomes a part of daily life.

When you are affected by someone else’s drinking or drug use, it is important to remember that even though you cannot prevent what’s happening to them, you can regain your sanity by practicing detachment.

Continue reading

right through to the last paragraph

It is very important that friends and family of addicts focus on taking care of themselves. To engage in self-care is difficult and takes practice; but ultimately, there is no lasting relief without it.

So important to live your own life and remember the three Cs
  • I did not Cause it
  • I cannot Control it
  • I cannot Cure it
If the statistics are correct then for every addict there are five people who are directly affected by that addiction. One of them is probably you.

Are human rights enough?

an article by Samuel Moyn published in Eurozine (originally in Vikerkaar)

The Universal Declaration between welfare state and neoliberal globalization

Imagine that one man owned everything. Call him Croesus, after the king of ancient lore who, Herodotus says, was so ‘wonderfully rich’ that he ‘thought himself the happiest of mortals’. Impossibly elevated above his fellow men and women, this modern Croesus is also magnanimous. He does not want people to starve, and not only because he needs some of them for the upkeep of his global estate. Croesus insists on a floor of protection, so that everyone living under his benevolent but total ascendancy can escape destitution. Health, food, water, even vacations, Croesus dispenses them all.

In comparison with the world in which we live today, where many do not enjoy these benefits, Croesus offers a kind of utopia. It is the one many believe was foreseen in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948), and it has become our own, with the rise in the past half-century of the international human rights movement – especially now that this movement has belatedly turned its attention to the economic and social rights that the declaration originally promised. In this utopia, it is no longer a matter of haves versus have-nots. The worst-off have enough. But they are in a yawning hierarchy, far beneath the have-mores.

Continue reading

OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2017 - United Kingdom highlights

The OECD Scoreboard covers:
  • Science, innovation and the digital revolution
  • Growth, jobs and the digital transformation and
  • Innovation today - Taking action
The UK Highlights also provides four easy-to-understand charts showing where countries stand in relation to each other.

Full text (PDF 4pp) also provides links to further information.

Why the World May Be Safe with More Nuclear Weapons, Not Fewer

Note the “may” in the title

a post by the Big Think editors for the Big Think blog

The United States tries hard to keep nuclear weapons away from countries it considers foes. Given how close the world came to nuclear armageddon during the Cold War, and recent threats from so-called “rogue states” like North Korea, it may seem like an essential goal. But America’s strategy for thwarting nuclear proliferation may be reaching a point where the costs outweigh the benefits.

The first nuclear bomb was exploded the same year as the invention of the microwave. Nuclear technology is no longer new, and therefore more difficult to keep from spreading. (Imagine trying to keep microwave technology under wraps all these years.) Developing a nuclear bomb from scratch, however, is much more costly than reverse engineering a microwave.

But snuffing out a country’s nuclear capabilities is perhaps even more costly. It requires crippling a country’s economy so its government can’t invest in nuclear research (of course, its innocent citizens bear the brunt of that burden). It requires destroying factories and laboratories with aggressive bombing or cyber-sabotage campaigns. And it can even require kidnapping or killing scientists and engineers who conduct nuclear research.

Continue reading

That’s the problem with economic sanctions. Ordinary people suffer the most – until maybe they rebel but I am not convinced that would be classed as “a good idea”.

Older people don’t need to suffer depression or anxiety in silence

an article by Ann Robinson published in the Guardian

Mental health problems are so often spoken about in relation to the young. But help is out there for older people too

Doctor and patient talking
‘The NHS primer for GPs says that how a patient makes the GP feel is often a good reflection of how that person is feeling.’ Photograph: kupicoo/Getty Images

Nearly half of all adults surveyed for AgeUK say they have experienced depression or anxiety, but many feel they have to keep a stiff upper lip and soldier on rather than seek help. There has been some great work in raising awareness and tackling the stigma of mental health problems, spearheaded by the glamorous young royals, but it tends to be aimed at young people, with little or no emphasis on elderly people. For them it’s a triple whammy: they are less likely to seek help, GPs may not recognise the signs, and society may expect depression to be a natural consequence of ageing, loss and loneliness.

NHS England is encouraging GPs to look out for mental health problems in older patients, and offer interventions – talking therapies or medication – as appropriate. But
  • is it true that depression is an inevitable part of ageing? 
  • Is the older generation more stoical?
  • Are the young more flaky? And
  • how can you tell if you have depression yourself, or if an older friend or relative is suffering unnecessarily?

Continue reading

As an older person myself I know that I have depression which is treated by anti-depressants but I could just as easily have slipped through the net when as a middle-aged person I turned up at my GP’s surgery in tears. She could just have said “it’s your age dear” or have assumed that living with an alcoholic had stressed me out but that there was nothing else wrong. She did neither of those things and I am eternally grateful.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe

Volume 1: conceptions of vocational education and training: an analytical framework

This research paper is the first in a series produced as part of the Cedefop project The changing nature and role of VET (2016-18).

The aim of the paper is to review scholarly attempts to define or explain vocational education and training and to develop a theoretical model to analyse national definitions or conceptions of VET and how they have changed over time.

VET takes many forms and is, perhaps, the least unitary of education sectors. Based on a literature review of previous attempts to characterise VET, the paper suggests using a multi-perspective framework which combines:
  1. an epistemological and pedagogical perspective;
  2. a system and institutional perspective;
  3. a socioeconomic and labour market perspective to analyse VET.
These perspectives can help to identify appropriate learning approaches, institutional solutions and forms of cooperation to work towards.

In Volume 2 of this series, the approach is empirically tested and the different understandings of VET in 30 European countries are illustrated.

Volume 1 in English
DOI: 10.2801/532605TI-BC-17-005-EN-NISBN: 978-92-896-2488-606/12/20171.38 MB

The Cost of OCD – And Yes, I’m Talking about Money

a post by Janet Singer for the World of Psychology blog

If you or a loved one has obsessive-compulsive disorder, then you know how devastating it can be when left untreated. It takes a huge toll not only on the person with OCD, but also on all those who care about him or her. In addition to wasted time and energy, relationships have been destroyed, families have fallen apart, careers have been ruined, and people’s lives have been shattered.

When we talk about the high cost of living with obsessive-compulsive disorder, the above scenarios are usually what we are referring to. But what about the actual cost in dollars (or pounds, or whatever currency you use)? Is it expensive to live with OCD?

It sure is.

Continue reading

Clergy in place in England: Bias to the poor or inverse care law?

an article by Michael Hirst (University of York, UK) published in Population, Space and Place Volume 23 Issue 8 (November 2017)


Faith traditions frequently proclaim priority for the poor and socially marginalised, emphasising individual and collective responsibility towards those in poverty. Ordained ministers or clergy – possibly the main investment of religious organisations – play a key role in encouraging and fulfilling that commitment in their local settings.

This paper considers the availability of clergy to provide pastoral care in areas of high socio-economic deprivation. Data from the 2011 census of England are used to correlate area variations in the number of clergy with household and neighbourhood deprivation.

Findings show that clergy are distributed inversely to socio-economic deprivation at the ecological level. Fewer clergy are available or readily accessible in the most deprived areas, raising questions about their ability to respond pastorally and act politically on behalf of the poor.

Market forces that draw clergy deployments towards less deprived areas warrant further investigation.

Passion or people? Social capital and career sustainability in arts management

an article by Julia Richardson (Curtin University, Perth, Australia), Uma Jogulu (Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Australia) and  Ruth Rentschler (University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia) published in Personnel Review Volume 46 Issue 8 (November 2017)


The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of social capital for career success and sustainability among arts managers and the implication for human resource practice.

This paper is a qualitative study comprising interviews with 73 arts managers in Australia.

While answering an occupational calling and having a sense of passion for the arts is a key driver to embark upon a career in arts management, it is social capital that is essential for both objective and subjective career success and thus for career sustainability. The authors also identify the value of education, global experience and well-honed soft skills for building social capital.

Research limitations/implications
The study is located in Australia – arts management in other national contexts and industries may be different.

Practical implications
This paper identifies the need for arts managers to develop heterogeneous social capital to support both career success and sustainability. It also indicates that whereas passion for the arts may be an important driver, other skills and competencies are required. Both of these themes need to be incorporated into human resource practice in the arts industry.

Social implications
This paper demonstrates the growing need to acknowledge the impact of relational social capital in the arts in an increasingly volatile work environment.

This paper fills the gap in our understanding of careers that bridge both the arts and management as professional domains of activity and extends understanding on the role of social capital in management careers more generally.

There Are Some People You Just Can’t Help

a post by Anya Light for the Tiny Buddha blog

Friends painting by Jerry Weiss

“Be there. Be open. Be honest. Be kind. Be willing to listen, understand, accept, support, and forgive. This is what it means to love.” ~Lori Deschene

A few months ago, I was totally freaked out.

I was having a cup of tea with a soul-sister friend, and we were in deep conversation. I was crying.

I was explaining, between hiccupping sobs, about how there was someone in my life who was suffering deeply.

Sitting at the café that day, I said to her, “There is this person in my life that I love so deeply, but he is suffering.”

I told her about all the ways I was connected to this very special person, and told her about how I was committed to helping him.

My friend was empathetically listening, and my story went on and on.

“He’s so depressed. When I’m around him, I just suddenly feel so sad. I feel his pain. It’s so deep. I have tried to share my wisdom with him, to help him evolve out of his depressed rut, but he won’t listen. I know he can make a change, but he just won’t listen to me. It’s like his ears are closed to me. What do I do? How can I help him?”

It was then that my dear friend replied in a way that I will never forget.

She placed her hand on my shoulder, and looked deeply into my eyes.

We sat in silence together for a moment.

Finally, she spoke, with such a gentle tone in her voice. “Anya, your lesson is to learn in this situation is simple, yet difficult. Your lesson is that you cannot help this person. Sometimes, there are people that you just can’t help.”

Continue reading including the comments if you have time as they illustrate and enhance what Anya is saying.

It’s time to stop trusting Google search already

a post by Adi Robertson for The Verge: via Library Link

Last weekend, in the hours after a deadly Texas church shooting, Google search promoted false reports about the suspect, suggesting that he was a radical communist affiliated with the antifa movement. The claims popped up in Google’s “Popular on Twitter” module, which made them prominently visible – although not the top results – in a search for the alleged killer’s name. Of course, the was just the latest instance of a long-standing problem: it was the latest of multiple similar missteps. As usual, Google promised to improve its search results, while the offending tweets disappeared. But telling Google to retrain its algorithms, as appropriate as that demand is, doesn’t solve the bigger issue: the search engine’s monopoly on truth.

Surveys suggest that, at least in theory, very few people unconditionally believe news from social media. But faith in search engines – a field long dominated by Google – appears consistently high. A 2017 Edelman survey found that 64 percent of respondents trusted search engines for news and information, a slight increase from the 61 percent who did in 2012, and notably more than the 57 percent who trusted traditional media. (Another 2012 survey, from Pew Research Center, found that 66 percent of people believed search engines were “fair and unbiased,” almost the same proportion that did in 2005.) Researcher Danah Boyd has suggested that media literacy training conflated doing independent research with using search engines. Instead of learning to evaluate sources, “[students] heard that Google was trustworthy and Wikipedia was not.”

Continue reading

How to kill a dinosaur in 10 minutes

a post by Paul Braterman for the 3 Quarks Daily blog

Ten minutes difference, and Earth would still be Planet of the Dinosaurs

We have suspected for some decades that the dinosaurs became extinct as the result of a massive meteorite, an asteroid, hitting the Earth. We have known where the impact site was since 1990, if not before. But it is only last year that we successfully drilled into the impact site, and only now, for the first time, do we really understand why the impact was so fatal. And if the meteorite had arrived ten minutes earlier, or ten minutes later, it would still no doubt have inflicted devastation, but the dinosaurs would still be here and you wouldn't.

Continue reading

I was sorting this item to include in one of my “10 for today” posts. Half an hour or so later I realised that this was not just interesting but very interesting and deserved a post in its own right. There&rsquos a bit of chemistry involved in the explanation but it is really not hard to understand.
Actually I think many of the items in the composite probably do but it take a lot longer to create one post than to shove it in with nine others!!

10 for today starts with a library and ends with John Lennon's psychedelic Rolls-Royce

The first traveling library
via Boing Boing by Rob Beschizza

Said to be the first example of a portable, miniaturized selection of books, this 17th-century traveling library toured England and was reportedly commissioned by William Hakewill, MP., who liked it so much he made several more.
Continue reading

The story of WWII is usually told by men – what about the women on the front line?
via the New Statesman by Lucy Hughes-Halletta
All three of these books raise questions about the still problematic idealisation of women in combat.
There are two ways of telling about war, writes Svetlana Alexievich. There is what she calls the man’s way: “How certain people heroically killed other people and won. Or lost. What equipment there was and which generals.” Then there is the woman’s way. Knowing that during the Second World War about a million women served in the Soviet army, or fought with the partisans, Alexievich set out, in 1978, to ask them about their experiences.
She conducted more than 500 interviews. Some women turned her away. More often they welcomed her. “Come… Finally somebody wants to hear us,” they said. But they had trouble finding the words. Sometimes they could hardly speak for weeping. Sometimes they were silenced by their menfolk: husbands coached them in details about troop movements and chains of command, as though a man might be shamed by a wife who wanted to talk instead about how dead soldiers, their heads shaved, reminded her of a field of potatoes; about how she dreaded being torn to pieces by a shell and lying exposed, indecent and ugly, in death.
Continue reading

Illuminated manuscripts for polyglots
via ResearchBuzz Firehose: British Library blog
I can't reproduce the images from the blog, sorry. H.
Here at the British Library we have just completed our latest digitisation project, with over 100 manuscripts added to our website between January 2016 and July this year. The project, funded by a private donor, has focused on collection items in French and other European vernacular languages that are notable either for their illuminations or for texts of particular interest.
Continue reading
Online access is better than no access but please, if you are in London near St Pancras, do go to the British Library and see some of the manuscripts for yourself in the main exhibition gallery.

Good news: You have a contract to publish your book. Bad news: The deadline was 30 years ago
via Arts & Letters Daily: Chris Quintana in The Chronicle of Higher Education

A scholarly monograph that’s been in the works for three decades? Trust us, old university press hands say: We’ve seen worse.
David W. Congdon was recently reviewing the contracts he had inherited as a new acquisitions editor at the University Press of Kansas when he came upon a project due in 1987.
Mr. Congdon offered the author a chance to void the contract and to absolve himself of responsibility for the dangling project. But the writer declined, saying he would finish the manuscript instead. Both parties did acknowledge that the book on political science might need some updating.
“There’s only so much energy an editor can put into trying to track down a project and reach conclusions,” Mr. Congdon said. “There was kind of a mutual sense, ‘If you’re ready to get back into this project and keep working on it, you’re welcome to do so.’ It’s a valuable project, and it’ll be worthwhile. I am hopeful that it will come to fruition.”
Continue reading

Try to guess the artists represented on these cards
via Boing Boing by Adam Gelbart

Guess the Artist (available for pre-order) is an art history quiz game that comes in a sleek, colorful package. Each of the 60 cards gives three clues from which the players must guess an artist (who is named on the back, like a flashcard). The clues/illustrations, which are done by Craig & Karl, range from things the artist might have worn to methods and iconography that they used.
Continue reading

Long Road From Jarrow: a revolutionary tale of long-distance protest
via the New Statesman by Dan Jackson
Stuart Maconie tells the story of the men who marched from Tyneside to London.
There were several long-distance protest marches to London between the wars. Some involved many thousands of marchers and some were met with violence, but the only one that is widely remembered today is the “Jarrow Crusade” of October 1936. From 1851 to the early 1930s, the Tyneside town of Jarrow had launched a thousand ships, from tankers and colliers to cruisers and battleships – but as a result of postwar government cost-cutting and a global economic downturn, the area’s main employer, the Palmers shipyard, was forced to close in 1933, putting thousands out of work.
In 1936, as unemployment dragged on and government support failed to materialise, Jarrow’s local council arranged for 200 out-of-work local men to march to parliament – accompanied by their MP, “Red Ellen” Wilkinson – to “obtain the sympathy of the general public” and petition Stanley Baldwin’s Conservative government to provide work for the town.
Continue reading

Picking a fight in an empty room
via OUP Blog by James Moran

Plaque in Saint Patrick’s Park, Dublin. Emkaer, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.
This year marks the 137th anniversary of the birth of Seán O’Casey, one of the best-known of all Irish playwrights. His works first enthralled audiences at Dublin’s Abbey Theatre during the 1920s, and in the years since then his dramas have been repeatedly revisited by actors and directors. In particular, O’Casey’s Dublin dramas have repeatedly appeared onstage in some high-profile stagings during the past twelve months.
O’Casey set his best-known play The Plough and the Stars (1926) during the 1916 Easter Rising, and he takes a subversive and irreverent look at all sides in the conflict. This year, Dublin held a series of high-profile commemorative events over the Easter period to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the rebellion, and in the midst of all, O’Casey’s play appeared at the Abbey, which is the National Theatre of Ireland. Simultaneously, at the other end of O’Connell Street, Dublin’s well-known Gate Theatre staged an Easter version of O’Casey’s early work Juno and the Paycock (1924), a drama which is set during the 1922 Civil War. Then, hot on the heels of these shows, the Dublin Theatre Festival featured a four-and-a-half hour play, It’s Not Over, which took its cue from O’Casey’s 1916 script. And during the summer and autumn of 2016, the National Theatre of the UK staged another version of The Plough and the Stars, for which I wrote some programme notes and hosted a day of lectures, where attendees had the chance of hearing from the wonderful O’Casey director Wayne Jordan, the leading theatre-scholar Nicholas Grene, and the acclaimed novelist Mary Morrissy.
Continue reading

A Possible Keats
via Arts & Letters Daily: Fleur Jaeggy in The New York Review of Books
In 1803, the guillotine was a common children’s toy. Children also had toy cannons that fired real gunpowder, and puzzles depicting the great battles of England. They went around chanting, “Victory or death!” Do childhood games influence character? We have to assume that they do, but let’s set aside such heartbreaking speculations for a moment. War – it’s not even a proper game – leaves influenza in its wake, and cadavers. Do childhood games typically leave cadavers behind in the nursery? Massacres in those little fairy-dust minds? Hoist the banners of victory across the table from the marzipan mountain to the pudding! It’s perhaps a dreadful thought, but we’ve seen clear evidence that both children and adults have a taste for imitation. Certainly, such questions should be explored, and yet let us allow that there is a purely metaphysical difference between a toy guillotine and war. Children are metaphysical creatures, a gift they lose too early, sometimes at the very moment they learn to talk.
Continue reading

Lucian: The Syrian Satirist Who Invented Science Fiction
via Interesting Literature
In this week’s Dispatches from the Secret Library, Dr Oliver Tearle looks at the work of the master of the comic dialogue, Lucian of Samosata
It all started with a Syrian writer about whom he know virtually nothing. He was born in around AD 120 and died in 180, or thereabouts. His hometown was Samosata, on the bank of the Euphrates in what is now Turkey but was at the time part of the Roman province of Syria. He is known as ‘Lucian of Samosata’ – or, more frequently, Lucian – and he has a claim to being the inventor of two literary genres, though his claim to one is somewhat more robust than the other.
Continue reading

The story of John Lennon's psychedelic Rolls-Royce
via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz

In 1967, John Lennon tooled around London in a Rolls-Royce Phantom V personalized with a psychedelic paint job. After years traveling around to various US museums, the car recently returned to London for a new Rolls Royce exhibit at Bonhams.
Continue reading

Saturday, 16 December 2017

The Critical Role Nutrition Plays in Mental Health

a post by Darren DeYoung for the World of Psychology blog

food preferences

One of the most unrecognized factors in the development of mental health is the role of nutrition. The link between diet and mental health is growing as the field of Nutritional Psychiatry/Psychology expands. This field is becoming more impactful as epidemics continue to make headlines surrounding the health of our country and world. We know nutrition has substantial physical impacts, but it is the mental impacts of nutrition that are gaining traction with additional research and heightening awareness around this topic.

Continue reading

The cash comeback: Evidence and possible explanations

a column for VOX: CEPR’s Policy Portal by Clemens Jobst and Helmut Stix

Many societies in the developed world have been shifting away from cash towards electronic alternatives. Despite this, there has been a remarkable increase in currency holdings over the past decade. This column looks at the evolution of cash holdings over time to shed light on this apparent contradiction. While circulating currency over GDP has been declining since WWII, there have been sizable increases in recent decades which are only partially explained by low interest rates.

Continue reading

Undergraduates’ Attitudes toward Dating Violence: Its Relationship with Sexism and Narcissism

an article by Ahmet Erdem and Rukiye Sahin (Gaziosmanpasa University, Tokat, Turkey) published in International Journal of Higher Education Volume 6 Number 6 (2017)


In this research, whether the undergraduates’ attitude levels towards the dating violence differed in terms of gender, dating relationship status, being exposed to the dating violence and resorting to the dating violence was investigated. The sample of the study was composed of 1,171 undergraduates.

In the research, “The Attitudes toward Dating Violence Scales, Ambivalent Sexism Scale, Ambivalence toward Men Scale, Narcissistic Personality Inventory, and Personal Information Form” were used as the data collection tools.

In conclusion, significant differences were determined in the university students’ attitudes towards the dating violence according to the different demographic variables (gender, dating relationship status, being exposed to the dating violence and resorting to the dating violence).

Moreover, university students’ attitudes towards dating violence were determined to positively and significantly correlate with their ambivalence sexism levels. Ambivalence toward men was determined to positively and significantly correlate with their attitudes towards dating violence.

In addition, university students’ narcissistic personality traits were found to positively and significantly correlate with their attitudes towards dating violence.

Full text (PDF 15pp)

How I Stopped Chasing Happiness and Started Enjoying My Imperfect Life

a post by Mai Pham for the Tiny Buddha blog

“I want to live my life without stress and worries. I don’t need to be rich or famous. I just want to be happy.” ~Unknown

Have you ever set a goal and then become obsessed with it, making it the center of your life and arranging everything else around it? Did you think that only after you achieved your goal would you be totally relaxed and happy?

I’ve done this many times before.

Throughout my life, I’ve measured my happiness by my achievements. I pushed to get good grades in school, then focused on going to a good college, then getting a high-paying job.

However, even after getting all of those things, I was not happy. After attaining them, they felt ordinary, not as extraordinary as I thought they were.

The feeling of achievement was not that awesome after all.

Continue reading

I have added my own comments about this elusive “thing” called happiness several times in the past. I truly believe that there are very few times in life that I rate as “happy” at the time. It's in the looking back that you see the happiness of the guests at the wedding party and you forget the stress of all the organisation. TWICE for me and then once for my younger daughter but there are lots of other occasions I am sure you can recall when you the lousy sandwiches on the train dominated your thoughts and not the brilliant event you went to -- until afterwards. It is truly not something to be chased.

Mental health? It's in the mind and the body, too

an article by Rachel Kelly published in the Guardian

We are wrong to deny the link between physical and mental health, as emerging evidence suggests

‘Let your shoulders drop. Close your eyes. Breathe. Enjoy that moment of physical relaxation’
‘Let your shoulders drop. Close your eyes. Breathe. Enjoy that moment of physical relaxation.’ Photograph: Yuri_Arcurs/Getty Images

Something is stirring in the world of mental health and for once the news is positive. This month, British scientists began testing a radically new approach to treating schizophrenia based on emerging evidence that it could be a disease of the immune system. Meanwhile, scientists are investigating the possibility that low levels of chronic inflammation may be linked to depression.

Oliver Howes, a professor of molecular psychiatry at the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences and a consultant psychiatrist at the Maudsley hospital in south London, is leading the schizophrenia research. “In the past, we’ve always thought of the mind and the body being separate, but it’s just not like that,” he says. “The mind and body interact constantly and the immune system is no different. It’s about changing the way we think about mental illnesses.”

Hear, hear to that. For a while, I’ve believed that we need to stop splitting mental and physical health. The mind doesn’t exist outside the body. A body without a mind is a corpse. In a way, this is a return to an old way of thinking: a “healthy mind in a healthy body” was the main component of the ancient Greek Hippocratic philosophy. But since Descartes split mind and body, arguing that the two were distinct, we’ve been living with the consequences.

Continue reading

Alternative citizenship models: Contextualizing new media and the new “good citizen”

an article by Neta Kligler-Vilenchik (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel) published in New Media & Society Volume 19 Issue 11 (November 2017)


Much current literature examines ways in which civic norms and practices are being enacted, developed and experimented with in the realm of new media.

Yet an open question pertains to the role the new media environment plays in this process: Are changes in civic conceptions reliant on new media, or is it an arena in which such changes are enacted and enhanced?

This essay addresses this question by contextualizing citizenship models that theorize the role of new media, as part of a broader paradigm of “alternative citizenship models”. What threads together this paradigm is an argument about a change in what constitutes “good citizenship”; a change seen not as a decline from a previous standard, but as the manifestation of a new citizenship model.

This article maps the landscape of alternative citizenship models and investigates the role of new media in reshaping citizenship.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Creating an “Internet of Water” Database to Manage Water Sustainably

a post by Gina-Marie Cheeseman for the SocialEarth blog: via ResearchBuzz Firehose


Water is a precious resource, as the five years of extreme drought Californians have just lived through teach us. The lesson learned is how the private and public sector manage water can help take stress off of watersheds. To better manage water, open and shared data is necessary.

Presently, the value of water data has not been widely documented, communicated or quantified. An internet of water (IOW) would make water data effectively integrated. And making public water data open and digitally accessible is a necessary step in using water data for sustainability. Those are the main findings from a series on water data the Aspen Institute Dialogue Series recently hosted between May 2016 and February 2017.

Out of the meetings came a report on how to design and launch an “internet of water” database that connects data producers, hubs and users. Such a database would allow water-related data and information to be connected and transmitted in real time. The report recommends three actions. The first one is to create an IOW. To do so, a vision for sustainable water resource management needs to be stated, and stewardship needs to be enabled through open, shared and integrated public water data.

Continue reading

Bacterial communication systems: A mathematical formulation of negative chemotaxis

an article by Konstantinos Kantelis and Georgios Papadimitriou (Aristotle University, Thessaloniki, Greece) published in International Journal of Communication Systems Volume 30 Issue 18 (December 2017)


The emergence of molecular communication (MC) has provided a new paradigm for communication at nanoscale, besides the electromagnetic one. Numerous biological systems have been proposed that could be used for communication, using mostly bacteria as information carriers, ensuring biocompatibility and low complexity requirements.

In this work, message dissemination dynamics in a bacterial communication system was under investigation by means of a simulation framework that was designed and developed based on a commercial tool. A mathematical formulation is proposed, in an effort to accurately predict the system's behavior under the presence of chemotactic-like nodes.

Simulation results are in strong agreement with the respective mathematical model, for a wide range of biological processes, including phenomena such as chemotaxis, bacterial growth cycle, and biological message transformation dynamics.

In the case of a simple simulation scenario exhibiting chemotaxis, the mean accuracy improvement reaches values of up to 19%.

Leave the Past in the Past: What Matters Most Is Who You Are Now

a post by Kerry Campbell for the Tiny Buddha blog

“Focus on what matters and let go of what doesn’t.” ~Unknown

When I was in rehab for alcohol addiction, one of the most difficult things for any of us to overcome was the fact that we thought we were beyond redemption.

Why? Because during the depths of our addiction, we had done some things we weren’t too proud of. Unhealthy behaviors that included drinking while driving, calling in sick when we weren’t because we were too hung over to go to work, or neglecting our children for the lure of spending the evening with a bottle of wine instead. None of this sounds like anything you could feel good about it, does it?

The biggest thing I had to learn through this was that who I am now is what matters most.

My unhealthy past behaviors don’t make me the person I am now. And the first step in becoming the person you are now – the one where your kindness can shine, your love for your children takes center stage, your choices with others are healthy, your self-abuse is nonexistent (or, at least dormant) – is to leave the past where it is.

Continue reading

The relationship between work-family conflict, stress, and work attitudes

an article by Edna Rabenu, Aharon Tziner and Gil Sharoni, Netanya Academic College, Israel) published in International Journal of Manpower Volume 38 Issue 8 (2017)


Work-family conflict is a rapidly developing field of research, considering the changes that have occurred in the structure of the family and of work in recent years. The purpose of this paper is to put forward a wide theoretical framework that encompasses the relationships between organizational justice, organizational citizenship behavior (OCB), job stress, and the work-family conflict. The authors suggest an explanatory model that associates those variables.

The explanatory model was empirically examined by means of structural equation modeling. In all, 120 Israeli-Arab employees responded to the research questionnaires.

As hypothesized, organizational justice was found to relate positively to OCB, and stress was found to relate positively to the work-family conflict. However, contrary to the hypotheses, OCB was found to relate negatively to job stress and work-family conflict. Namely, the higher the OCB, the lower the job stress.

Research limitations/implications
Theoretical implications and suggestions for possible future research were advanced.

Organizations that want to avoid the negative implications of the work-family conflict should encourage OCBs, which reduce the workers’ job-related stress and consequently reduce the conflict between the realms of family and work.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

3 Ways to Decide Whose Opinion of You Matters

a post by Joui Turandot for the Tiny Buddha blog

“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” ~Coco Chanel

“You know, Joui, I really like how you look tonight. I always thought your style before was… just a little wacky,” smiled Harry, a man I’d met during a forced networking meeting. He then smirked knowingly, like he was doing me a great favor.

Inside I screamed.

As a stylist one of the biggest fears my clients mention when we discuss any big change is feedback, judgment, and shame from their peers. And they are right to be fearful.

People will have commentary, trust me. But while everyone has an opinion, not everyone has a clue.

So we must be extremely careful who we let give us feedback.

Continue reading

10 for today ends with a philosophy lesson but gets there via some very interesting items on physics and also colours

Headbadges: the lost, gorgeous bicycle hood ornaments of yesteryear
via Boing Boing by Cory Doctorow

Collectors Weekly’s feature on “headbages” tells the story of the 1000+ badge collection of bike-mechanic-turned-evolutionary-biologist Jeffrey Conner, who published a book on the subject, featuring an alphabetic index of photos from his collection.
Continue reading

Cult Books: Obsession with the Obscure
via AbeBooks by Jessica Doyle
Defining a cult book is not easy. Let’s start with the more obvious aspects of cult lit. To begin, a cult book should have a passionate following. Buckets of books fall into this category, including classics like J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and On the Road by Jack Kerouac. But even mega sellers Harry Potter and 50 Shades of Grey can be considered cult lit by that definition. A cult book should have the ability to alter a reader’s life or influence great change, and for the purpose of this list, it should also be a bit odd and a tad obscure.
Many of the titles we’ve selected have barely seen the light of day beyond their incredibly dedicated and perhaps obsessive following. Only five copies of Leon Genonceaux’s 1891 novel The Tutu existed until the 1990s because Genonceaux was already in trouble with French police for immoral publishing when he wrote it and feared a life in prison if he distributed the book to the public. Similarly, The Red Book by Carl Jung was reserved for Jung’s heirs for decades before it was made available to a wider audience.
Some of the books on our list are more widely known (though not necessarily widely understood). Robert M. Pirsig introduced the Metaphysics of Quality, his own theory of reality, in his philosophical novel Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. The book was rejected by over 100 publishers before it was finally published by William Morrow & Company in 1974 and today it’s regarded as one the most influential texts in American culture.
From funny fiction and serious science fiction to knitting manuals and alternative art, the books on this list have steered the course of an individual’s life, created a wave of change in a society, culture, or generation, and garnered fanatic attention from a few or few million readers for their quirky and obscure content.
Continue reading

The sea was never blue
The Greek colour experience was made of movement and shimmer. Can we ever glimpse what they saw when gazing out to sea?
via Arts & Letters Daily: Maria Michela Sassi in AEON
Homer used two adjectives to describe aspects of the colour blue: kuaneos, to denote a dark shade of blue merging into black; and glaukos, to describe a sort of ‘blue-grey’, notably used in Athena’s epithet glaukopis, her ‘grey-gleaming eyes’. He describes the sky as big, starry, or of iron or bronze (because of its solid fixity). The tints of a rough sea range from ‘whitish’ (polios) and ‘blue-grey’ (glaukos) to deep blue and almost black (kuaneos, melas). The sea in its calm expanse is said to be ‘pansy-like’ (ioeides), ‘wine-like’ (oinops), or purple (porphureos). But whether sea or sky, it is never just ‘blue’. In fact, within the entirety of ancient Greek literature you cannot find a single pure blue sea or sky.
Continue reading

What is optimistic nihilism?
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder

I always hate having to write “Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell”, because it's such a wtf mouthful. But they make beautiful animated explainer videos, so I have to write “Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell” a lot. They are always great, but this 6-minute guide to thinking your way out of existential dread might be their best video yet. The graphics are stupendous.
Continue reading

“I felt the beautiful adventure of physics was a story that had to be told’
via the Guardian by Carlo Rovelli
How does a book about theoretical physics sell more than 1m copies? Rovelli explains how he set about sharing his wonder at quantum science
Carlo Rovelli on Italian TV.
‘The book is my dream of getting across the intense magic of my trade’ … Carlo Rovelli on Italian TV. Photograph: Pier Marco Tacca/Getty
There are two kinds of popular science books. The first kind is for passionate readers. Say you are mad about butterflies. You want a book that gives you all the details about all varieties of butterflies, their lives, habits and colours. You are keen to know everything.
The other kind of popular science book is written for everybody else. Say you never cared much for butterflies, but one day you happened on a book filled with incredible images of their phantasmagorical wings and read an interesting fact, such as how many of them live only for a single day … even though you don’t want many details, you suddenly find yourself wanting to learn more.
Continue reading

A big chunk of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks have been digitized and can be viewed online
via Boing Boing by Rusty Blazenhoff

The British Library has digitized 570 loose pages of notes written and drawn by Leonard da Vinci to compile a notebook which is called, The Codex Arundel.
You can view the document online for free, although it’s written in Italian and uses his “characteristic left-handed mirror-writing (reading from right to left)”.
Continue reading

Weird Quantum Discovery Says Pushing Particles Forward Can Make Them Go Backward
via Big Think by Paul Ratner
Article Image
Bubble Chamber Baltay Experiment. Credit: Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory.
Quantum mechanics continues to provide brain-busting discoveries as mathematicians find that quantum mechanical particles can move in the opposite direction of where they are being pushed. That’s like pushing a ball forward and having it roll back towards you instead.
Scientists at Universities of York, Munich and Cardiff showed that on microscopic levels, quantum particles can travel in reverse of their momentum, exhibiting a special property called “backflow”.
Researchers were aware of such movement previously but in free” quantum particles that don’t have any force acting on them. By using analysis and numerical methods, they found that backflow is always there, but as a small hard-to-measure effect.
What’s responsible for this surprising property? Wave-particle duality, which holds that every particle may behave as a particle or a wave, and the “probabilistic nature” of quantum mechanics where particle properties are not fixated until observed.
Continue reading

A Short Analysis of John Donne’s ‘A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning’
via Interesting Literature
A commentary on Donne’s great poem of farewell
One of the great ‘goodbye’ poems in the English language, ‘A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning’ is, in a sense, not a farewell poem at all, since Donne’s speaker reassures his addressee that their parting is no ‘goodbye’, not really. The occasion of the poem was a real one – at least according to Izaak Walton, author of The Compleat Angler and friend of Donne’s, who recorded that Donne wrote ‘A Valediction’ for his wife when he went to the Continent in 1611.
Continue reading

Friendship in Shakespeare
via OUP Blog by Kim Vollrodt

“Stamp – inked from Folger Shakespeare Library” uploaded by POP,CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.
In Shakespeare’s England, the term “friend” could be used to express a wide range of interpersonal relations. A friend could be anything from a neighbour, a lover, or fellow countryman, to a family member or the close personal acquaintance we understand as a “friend” today. Much like power or love, different types of friendship are one of the central themes in Shakespeare’s plays, dealing with the positivity of close and trusting friendships, but also with its fragility and the resultant dangers when trust breaks down.
Being a true Shakespearean friend means above all loyalty, unwavering support, and mutual respect – clearly shown in the relationship between Hamlet and Horatio. Horatio is Hamlet’s one true ally and stands by the tragic Prince throughout his troubles, going so far as to offer to commit suicide for him. This tragic conclusion seems to be a pattern for many Shakespearean friends, revealing the darker side of human relationships. Some of the most famous villains are the ones who betray their nearest and dearest friends, indicating that unwavering trust and friendship, like the trust Julius Caesar places in his friend Brutus until the very end, can be easily misplaced.
Continue reading

America’s hidden philosophy
via Arts & Letters Daily: John McCumber in Aeon
The chancellor of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) was worried. It was May 1954, and UCLA had been independent of Berkeley for just two years. Now its Office of Public Information had learned that the Hearst-owned Los Angeles Examiner was preparing one or more articles on communist infiltration at the university. The news was hardly surprising. UCLA, sometimes called the ‘little Red schoolhouse in Westwood’, was considered to be a prime example of communist infiltration of universities in the United States; an article in The Saturday Evening Post in October 1950 had identified it as providing ‘a case history of what has been done at many schools’.
The chancellor, Raymond B Allen, scheduled an interview with a ‘Mr Carrington’ – apparently Richard A Carrington, the paper’s publisher – and solicited some talking points from Andrew Hamilton of the Information Office. They included the following: ‘Through the cooperation of our police department, our faculty and our student body, we have always defeated such [subversive] attempts. We have done this quietly and without fanfare – but most effectively.’ Whether Allen actually used these words or not, his strategy worked. Scribbled on Hamilton’s talking points, in Allen’s handwriting, are the jubilant words ‘All is OK – will tell you.’
Allen’s victory ultimately did him little good. Unlike other UCLA administrators, he is nowhere commemorated on the Westwood campus, having suddenly left office in 1959, after seven years in his post, just ahead of a football scandal. The fact remains that he was UCLA’s first chancellor, the premier academic Red hunter of the Joseph McCarthy era – and one of the most important US philosophers of the mid-20th century.
Continue reading

Is exposure to online content depicting risky behavior related to viewers' own risky behavior offline?

an article by Dawn Beverley Branley and Judith Covey (Durham University, UK) published in Computers in Human Behavior Volume 75 (October 2017)

  • Viewing online content depicting risky behavior is linked to users' own behavior.
  • Link between viewing disordered eating content and behavior is moderated by gender.
  • Females may be more vulnerable to online content depicting disordered eating.

There are public and governmental concerns that social media may encourage risky behavior in the offline environment. Using international survey data from 412 young adults aged between 18 and 25 years of age (M = 21.20 years, SD = 2.31 years), this study demonstrates that there is a relationship between exposure to online content depicting risky behavior and users’ own offline risky behavior.

This relationship was found for six behaviors:

  • drug use,
  • excessive alcohol use,
  • disordered eating,
  • self-harm,
  • violence to others, and
  • dangerous pranks.

A borderline effect was found for two further behaviors:

  • unprotected sex and
  • sex with a stranger.

The relationship between content depicting disordered eating and offline behavior was only significant for females; suggesting that female users may be more vulnerable to effects of viewing content depicting disordered eating habits, and/or use social media content to find material related to their existing behavior. No other gender moderation effects were found.

The findings provide preliminary evidence that social media use may influence offline risky behavior in young adults.

Full text (PDF 5pp)

6 Gifts of Borderline Personality Disorder

a post by Brianna Ricotta for the World of Psychology blog

I was twenty-four-years-old on my way to a residential treatment center in Chicago for an eating disorder when I got what I thought was devastating news that I had borderline personality disorder (BPD). When BPD hit my brain I lashed out inside. “Not another diagnosis,” I screamed while lines of thoughts trailed rapidly through my head. These thoughts came in all shapes and sizes. Some thoughts of abandonment flew by, other thoughts of suicidal ideation zoomed by. My mood was up and down like I was on a roller coaster, and not the kiddy one. I was a lost soul living in a world of self-destructive torment where everything was wrong. I felt lonely. My body, to me, looked like an inflated balloon. And I felt abandoned, even though I had a loving, supportive family, friends, and support team.

Since that fall afternoon walk with my therapist, when we discussed why I had BPD, I started to understand that having BPD was not a bad thing but a gift. It answered so many questions of why my mood and thought processes were the way they were. It has helped make me a stronger person.

Continue reading

I am not sure that I agree with this writer but hey, I have not been diagnosed with BPD so I have not experienced what she is writing about.

Don't be so emotional! How tone of voice and service type affect the relationship between message valence and consumer responses to WOM in social media

an article by Freya De Keyzer, Nathalie Dens and Patrick De Pelsmacker, (University of Antwerp, Belgium) published in Online Information Review Volume 41 Issue 7 (November 2017)


The purpose of this paper is to shed light on the boundary conditions of the effect of the valence of word-of-mouth on social networking sites (sWOM) on consumer responses (attitude toward the service provider, purchase intention and positive word-of-mouth intention). Specifically, the authors examine two moderators: the tone of voice (factual vs emotional) of the sWOM and service type (utilitarian vs hedonic) of the service that the sWOM is about.

A 2 (message valence: positive vs negative) × 2 (tone of voice: factual vs emotional) × 2 (service type: utilitarian vs hedonic) full-factorial between-subjects online experiment with 400 respondents was conducted and the data were analyzed using Hayes’ PROCESS macro.

The results show that message valence exerts a greater impact on consumer responses with factual sWOM messages compared to emotional ones. Furthermore, the impact of message valence is stronger for hedonic services compared to utilitarian services. In contrast to the authors’ expectations, there is no significant impact of matching the tone of voice to the service type.

Practical implications
First, for sWOM senders, factual messages are found to be more influential: backing an sWOM up with arguments and specific details increases the chance of it affecting consumers’ responses. As a result, marketers, especially of predominantly hedonic services, should encourage their followers and customers to spread positive factual sWOM about their service.

The study tests two previously unstudied moderating variables that affect the relationship between message valence and consumer responses to sWOM messages. Moreover, this study provides interesting insights for marketers and bloggers or reviewers.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

How to Move Past the Fear of Judgment and Break the Silence of Shame

a post by Melissa Renzi for the Tiny Buddha blog

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.” ~Brené Brown

Every time I think I’ve unloaded most of the pain from my past, something surfaces that tells me I have more work to do.

A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend and I were cuddling one morning. I’m not sure what the trigger was, but out of nowhere, my thoughts rolled down a hill and into a painful memory that I must have blocked out.

Tears rolled down my cheeks as my whole body curled up into the fetal position. He asked me what was wrong and I slowly told him about a sexual trauma I had experienced.

We are radically honest with one another. Sharing the not so beautiful has deepened our connection. I thought I had shared my darkest secrets that carry shame.

I was wrong.

I had minimized and buried this story. Maybe subconsciously, I was afraid he would see this situation as my fault. He absolutely didn’t, and sharing my experience with him made me feel like a heavy burden was lifted.

Continue reading

Adaptive capability and path creation in the post-industrial city: the case of Nottingham’s biotechnology sector

an article by David J Smith, Will Rossiter and Daniel McDonald-Junor (Nottingham Trent University, UK) published in Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society Volume 10 Issue 3 (November 2017)


‘Adaptive capability’ describes the ability to respond to external shocks and take advantage of new opportunities. Central to this is path dependency and the scope for turning historic strengths to new purposes.

This article explores the emergence of a nascent bioscience cluster in Nottingham.

A novel analytical device based on Kingdon’s Multiple Streams Framework is applied to explore the emergence of a new development path in this city. Local actors used a window of opportunity created by contingencies at the level of industries, firms and place to create a development path mobilizing legacy assets, including physical and human capital.

JEL Classification: R11, O31, L52

10 for today starts with the love between a man and a fish and finished with Vivaldi (not much in common there)

Scuba diver has been visiting the same fish nearly every day for 30 years
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder
Hiroyuki Arakawa is a scuba diver in Japan. Yoriko is a fish. They have been friends for 30 years, seeing each other almost every day.

From Twisted Sifter:
One day, Arakawa found her looking exhausted and carrying an injury. So he did what any friend would do: he took care of Yoriko, feeding her crabs and nursing her back to health. Their decades-long friendship is proof there’s no greater bond than the one between man and fish.
A dangerous mission: loyalty and treason during the American Revolution
via OUP Blog by Virginia DeJohn Anderson

“Birthplace of Nathan Hale Coventry Connecticut,” circa 1800. Image courtesy of the Yale University Manuscripts & Archives Digital Images Database. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.
In September 1776, Nathan Hale and Moses Dunbar set out to support opposing forces in the American Revolution. Hale, a spy for the Continental Army, had volunteered to gather intelligence against the British. Dunbar had enlisted in the King’s Army and was commissioned to convince other young men to turn against the United States.
Both men were caught and executed before completing their missions – one remembered as a martyr and the other as a traitor to the American cause.
In the following excerpt from The Martyr and the Traitor, Virginia DeJohn Anderson compares the lives of these two men, and explores the differences that led them to a similar fate.
Continue reading

Free at Last
Mal Waldron’s ecstatic minimalism.
via Arts & Letters Daily: Adam Shatz in The Nation

Mal Waldron performing in Amsterdam in 1995. (Frans Schellekens / Redferns)
On July 17, 1959, Frank O’Hara, shaken by the news of Billie Holiday’s death, wrote a poem, “The Day Lady Died.” In the last two lines, he remembers leaning against the bathroom door at the Five Spot, a jazz club in the East Village, “while she whispered a song along the keyboard / to Mal Waldron and everyone and I stopped breathing.” Seldom has the power of jazz performance been conveyed with such speed and grace. Holiday and Waldron, her pianist, are having a conversation so quiet and so intimate that listening to it feels like eavesdropping. I have always loved this poem for what it reveals not only about Holiday’s stagecraft, but also about her affection for Waldron, who accompanied her from 1957 until her death. Holiday and Waldron were close friends as well as collaborators. Waldron helped her write the autobiographical ballad “Left Alone,” an account of romantic desolation that she never had the chance to record. He had known of Holiday’s addiction, but, as he put it, “Lady Day had an awful lot to forget,” and his debt to her was incalculable. She taught him the importance of a song’s lyrics: Words, as much as notes, could lend themselves to musical improvisation. The magic she worked with them rubbed off. To listen to Waldron is to feel as if he is speaking to you, and only you, because he never forgets the lyrical content of a song.
Continue reading

Essayism is ultimately about how literature can make a difference
Brian Dillon’s study of the essay is a beautiful and elegiac volume – having read it, I re-read it.
via the New Statesman by Stuart Kelly
It is somewhat unseemly for a critic to confess that their immediate reaction to a book is one of unremitting envy. But Brian Dillon’s study of the essay is so careful and precise in its reading of a constellation of authors – Derrida and Barthes, Didion and Sontag, Browne and Burton, Woolf and Carlos Williams, Cioran and Perec – that my overall feeling was jealousy.
Dillon is a writer on art and culture and a tutor at the Royal College of Art, and the author of an award-winning memoir from 2005, In The Dark Room, about losing both his parents in his youth. A remarkable meditation on memory, it shares with his other work – an examination of hypochondria, Tormented Hope, and his writing on the cultural significance of ruins – a wide and nimble range of reference as well as a sense of personal grief and literary anomie.
Continue reading

Scientists Have Captured Chimpanzees Performing a Bizarre Ritual
via Big Think by Philip Perry
Article Image
Chimpanzees in three West African countries – Guinea Bissau, Côte d’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast), and Liberia – have been observed taking part in strange behavior. They store a great number of rocks in the hollows of trees. Then, usually a male, takes one of the rocks, walks a distance away, grunts an utterance, and hurls the rock at the tree, leaving a mark on it. The rock is then placed back in the hollow to be reused in this manner again.
No chimps east of these countries have been observed doing this. What’s more, there seems to be no reason for it tied to survival. It has nothing to do with acquiring food, mating, or furthering one’s status. Researchers say it might be a unique display of male power, marking the border of their troop’s territory, or even a spiritual ritual.
Continue reading

Old NASA computers and space probe data tapes found in dead engineer's basement
via Boing Boing by David Pescovitz
A scrap dealer cleaning out a deceased engineer's basement in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania found two massive 1960s computers, magnetic tape data storage systems, and hundreds of tape reels, all of which was marked as the property of NASA. The scrap dealer called NASA to report what he found and the agency's Office of the Inspector General investigated. It turns out that the fellow was an IBM engineer who worked for NASA in the early 1970s and was given permission to save the stuff as it was being discarded.
Continue reading

The Best Poems about Holidays
via Interesting Literature
The greatest poems about vacations
Holidays can be a time for the family to spend time together, a time to get away from it all. Poets aren’t naturally drawn to happy times as a fit subject for poetry, but nevertheless they have occasionally treated the subject of holidays and vacations – whether the Christmas holidays, or summer holidays.
Continue reading

Earth Could Be the Only Place with Liquid Water After All
via Big Think by Robby Berman
We’ve been picking up strange signals, discovering possibly habitable planets, and in general starting to feel a little bit hopeful about the possibility of life in some recognizable form elsewhere – perhaps a lot of elsewheres – in the universe. Now, though, like a splash of cold water to the face, a new study published in Nature Geoscience suggests that there may not, in fact, be life-sustaining liquid water out there. Or at least that it’s likely to be rare. For bodies without an active carbonate–silicate cycle, the study says, ”We find that the stellar fluxes that are required to overcome a planet’s initial snowball state are so large that they lead to significant water loss and preclude a habitable planet.”
Continue reading

6th-Century Writing Discovered Inside Medieval Bookbinding
via Library Link: Shaunacy Ferro for Mental Floss
Original image
By fusing two imaging techniques, researchers at Northwestern University have illuminated ancient Roman texts that had been hidden inside the binding of another book since the 1500s.
From the 1400s up until the 1700s, it was common for book binders to recycle parchment to create new books, leaving behind fragments of text from the original book hidden within the bindings. While researchers are aware that these hidden texts exist, they cannot be viewed without destroying part of the books.
Continue reading

Remembering the life and music of Antonio Vivaldi
via OUP blog by Nicholas Lockey
anonymous portrait assumed to be of Vivaldi. International Museum and Library of Music of Bologna, Public Domain viaWikimedia Commons.
For many who at least known his name, Antonio Vivaldi is the composer of a handful of works heard on the radio or a drive-time playlist of 100 Famous Classical Pieces, featured in TV (and internet) commercials, movies and concerts by students, amateurs, and professionals. Pieces such as The Four Seasons (featured prominently in Alan Alda’s 1981 film, The Four Seasons), the Gloria in D RV 589 and the Violin Concerto in A Minor Op. 3 No. 6 (familiar to most students of the Suzuki Violin Method) are staples of the repertoire and frequently rank high on lists of popular classical music. As for the composer, the most widely known aspects of his biography have been that he had red hair, was a priest (nicknamed “The Red Priest” in his own lifetime), and that he taught at and wrote music (a lot of music) for an all-girl orphanage in Venice and directed the girls during their concerts.
Continue reading

Radical new approach to schizophrenia treatment begins trial

an article by Hannah Devlin Science correspondent published in the Guardian

Exclusive: as evidence emerges that schizophrenia could be an immune system disease, two-year trial will use antibody drug currently used for MS

Brain images showing elevation in microglial activity in orange/red. The highest levels in schizophrenia are in the frontal cortex, involved in planning and regulating brain function, and the temporal cortex, involved in processing sounds and voices.
Brain images showing elevation in microglial activity in orange/red. The highest levels in schizophrenia are in the frontal cortex and the temporal cortex. Photograph: MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences

British scientists have begun testing a radically new approach to treating schizophrenia based on emerging evidence that it could be a disease of the immune system.

The first patient, a 33-year old man who developed schizophrenia after moving to London from Cameroon a decade ago, was treated at King’s College Hospital in London on Thursday, marking the start of one of the most ambitious trials to date on the biology of the illness and how to treat it.

During the next two years, 30 patients will receive monthly infusions of an antibody drug currently used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS), which the team hopes will target the root causes of schizophrenia in a far more fundamental way than current therapies.

Continue reading

I am excited about this. Not that I have any personal experience of the illness and know nobody who has but that here we have yet another eminent scientist saying that mental illness is “not all in your head”.
Gut bacteria affect my mental state, outside influences do too. Perhaps my immune system plays a part as is shown through this new trial.

Use This DBT Skill to Manage Your Emotions and Enhance Your Life

a post by Margarita Tartakovsky for the World of Psychology blog

Our thoughts and emotions generally dictate what we do. Which makes sense since we act based on the information our brains automatically give us. So if we’re anxious about speaking in public, we probably will avoid it. After all, we interpret it as a threat, and our brains—and bodies—don’t like threats. If we’re sad, deeply sad, we might isolate ourselves, for days, because we yearn to be alone. If we’re angry with our spouse, we might yell and say mean things because we can taste the rage.

But there are times, like in the instances above, when acting on our emotions isn’t helpful or is downright destructive. There are also times when our emotions don’t match a situation.

This is when a skill from dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) called “opposite action” is invaluable. It’s a skill that helps us to manage our emotions, enhance our relationships and enhance our lives. It’s a skill that helps us make more healthful decisions.

“Opposite action is essentially doing the opposite of what the emotion is telling you to do,” said Sheri van Dijk, MSW, RSW, who specializes in DBT and has penned several books on the treatment. “We use this skill when we recognize that an emotion is not warranted by the situation, or when the emotion is getting in the way of our ability to act effectively, with the aim of reducing that emotion.”

Continue reading

Why Encrypting Your Data Won’t Protect You From Ransomware

a post by Philip Bates for the MakeUseOf blog

No one wants to be a victim to cybercriminals. It’s why we’re so keen on encryption — indeed, the vast majority of people use encryption to some extent because locking your smartphone scrambles all your personal information.

That’s exactly what encryption is: making your data unreadable without a special encryption key (i.e. a password). It’s the ultimate defense against cybercriminals, right?

Unfortunately, no. There are far too many myths about encryption that you simply shouldn’t believe. For instance, it won’t protect you from ransomware. Here’s why.

Continue reading

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Higher inequality in the UK linked to higher poverty]

via the STICERD blog from the London School of Economics and Political Science

Double Trouble report by Abigail McKnight, Magali Duque and Mark Rucci, commissioned by Oxfam

Both inequality and poverty are now on the rise again and predicted to increase further in the next 5 to 15 years, but it has never been established if the two are directly linked. Researchers Abigail McKnight, Magali Duque and Mark Rucci explored the different types of inequality including income inequality and concentration of wealth, over the period 1961 to 2016.

The report, Double Trouble, which was commissioned by Oxfam, shows that a positive correlation between income inequality and income poverty in the UK can be clearly established. Statistical analysis found that, on average, during the last 50 years a one point increase in income inequality - as measured using the Gini coefficient – was associated with an increase in relative poverty of 0.6 percentage points.

The report also examines the consequences of inequality, and in particular points to evidence that it leads to lower overall economic growth as well as negative consequences for some individuals and their families, and wider society. Higher levels of inequality are shown to sustain higher levels of poverty through a variety of mechanisms. One of these is the growing polarisation between ‘the rich’ and ‘the poor’. This affects people’s perception of inequality, results in a lack of understanding about what it is like to live on a low income, and this lack of empathy has important implications for support for public policy designed to reduce inequality and tackle poverty.

English Report (PDF 104pp)

English Summary (PDF 8pp)

< /hr>

10 for today from Paris - the city of literature through various twists and turns to end up with a game theory simulator

The City of Literature: 40 Books Set in Paris
via by Jessica Doyle

Hemingway wrote, “If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.”
It’s a book lover’s dream to wander the very streets that inspired Marcel Proust, Émile Zola, Samuel Beckett, Albert Camus, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and so many others. You might step into the Salon at 27 rue de Fleurus where Gertrude Stein mentored Ernest Hemingway, or have a drink at the café littéraires Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore, the long-ago haunts of James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and their fellow The Lost Generation writers.
The love affair between Paris and writers has been a long and passionate one, whether authors are writing from Paris or about it. For centuries, the city has been host to an array of love stories, murder mysteries and dramas, from timeless tales like Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame to ground-breaking modern literature like Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer.
The astounding effect of Paris on writers is demonstrated in the countless memoirs they have penned about their days, years and lives spent in the city. The effect is so strong it’s even inspired chefs and bakers to put down their whisks and pick up their pens, giving food memoirs a genre all of their own.
What is it about Paris that’s so attractive to the creatively-inclined? Perhaps the city’s own history is the most interesting story of them all. Take a literary tour with our selection of novels set in Paris, memoirs about life in Paris and Paris history books.
Continue reading

Inevitably Posthuman? Predicting ourselves out of the future
via Arts & Letters Daily: Lawrence Klepp in The Weekly Standard

Art credit: Jason Seiler
There are, broadly speaking, two kinds of futurology, the utopian and the apocalyptic. In Homo Deus, Yuval Noah Harari, like the Book of Revelation, offers a bit of both. And why not? The function of imaginary futures is to deliver us from banality. The present, like the past, may be a disappointing muddle, but the future had better be very good or very bad, or it won’t sell.
Harari, an Oxford-educated Israeli historian who teaches in Jerusalem, is the author of Sapiens (2015), a provocative, panoramic view of human evolution and history upward from apedom. It became an international bestseller, recommended by the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, and Barack Obama. Harari’s style is breezy and accessible, sprinkled with allusions to pop culture and everyday life, but his perspective is coolly detached and almost Machiavellian in its unflinching realism about power, the role of elites, and the absence of justice in history. He is an unapologetic oracle of Darwin and data. And he is clearly a religious skeptic, but he practices a form of Buddhist meditation, and among the best things in his new book, like his previous one, are his observations on the varieties of religious experience.
Continue reading

Folk horror, a history: from The Wicker Man to The League of Gentlemen
via the News Statesman by Ben Myers
Author Adam Scovell’s tone is perfectly pitched between articulate academic and box-set binger.
In 1801, the proportion of the population of England and Wales living in towns and cities was just 17 per cent, but by the close of that century, as landowners were displaced and industry boomed, it had jumped to 72 per cent. The most recent UK census showed that 81.5 per cent of the population of England and Wales now live in urban areas, with less than 10 per cent residing in what would qualify as villages or hamlets.
This mass movement from agricultural to post-industrial life has detached us from the land that fed and clothed us for thousands of years, with the countryside becoming increasingly alien territory, avoided or misunderstood by those who have little contact with mud, dead animals, or the stench of excrement. Such urbanites have scant knowledge of farming or food production and patronise ancient local traditions. They are unnerved by the space, the silence. They fear their countryside, their own past.
Continue reading

What Made Dogs Our Close Companions? New Study Finds It Was a Genetic Mutation
via Big Think by Philip Perry
Article Image
Whenever I go over my sister’s house, her beagle Taylor runs and jumps all over me. The dog then races around the room, barking and howling. If I sit on the couch she leaps onto my lap and licks my face (I’d better cover my groin, I’ve learned. One misstep can be painful). It doesn’t matter if my last visit was just yesterday or last year. This is how she is: a non-stop lovefest.
Continue reading

This Burning Man documentary traces its history from a bohemian gathering to a global movement
via Boing Boing by Rusty Blazenhoff

This 20-minute documentary is definitely worth a watch. It follows Burning Man’s fascinating history from its “humble countercultural roots on San Francisco’s Baker Beach” to “the world-famous desert convergence it is today”. If you’ve ever been to the big event in the Black Rock Desert, I guarantee it’ll give you a greater appreciation and understanding of it.
Continue reading

10 of the Best Poems about Wine
via Interesting Literature
The finest wine poems
‘Wine is bottled poetry.’ So said the Victorian poet and novelist Robert Louis Stevenson; and, indeed, over the centuries numerous poets have waxed lyrical about the juice of the vine.
Continue reading

The Art at the End of the World
via 3 Quarks Daily: Heidi Julavits in The New York Times

We were taking an airplane, I told our children, to see what I dramatically billed as ‘‘the end of the world’.
‘‘Can’t we go to a beach?’’ they asked. It was February. They were sick of the cold.
I promised them sand and plenty of water, but unless things went terribly wrong, we would probably not be swimming in it.
‘‘Where are we going?’’ they asked.
We were flying 2,000 miles to see more than 6,000 tons of black basalt rocks extending 1,500 feet into the Great Salt Lake in the shape of a counterclockwise vortex, designed by the most famous practitioner of ’70s land art, Robert Smithson.
‘‘It’s called the ‘Spiral Jetty,’ ’’ I told them.
Continue reading

Australian dig finds evidence of Aboriginal habitation up to 80,000 years ago
via the Guardian by Helen Davidson at Madjedbebe and Calla Wahlquist
Artefacts in Kakadu national park have been dated between 65,000 and 80,000 years old, extending likely occupation of area by thousands of years
Madjedbebe site custodian May Nango and excavation leader Chris Clarkson in the pit.
Madjedbebe site custodian May Nango and excavation leader Chris Clarkson in the pit. Photograph: Dominic O'Brien/Gundjeihmi Aboriginal Corporation
A groundbreaking archaeological discovery in Australia’s north has extended the known length of time Aboriginal people have inhabited the continent to at least 65,000 years.
The findings on about 11,000 artefacts from Kakadu national park, published on Thursday in the journal Nature, prove Indigenous people have been in Australia for far longer than the much-contested estimates of between 47,000 and 60,000 years, the researchers said. Some of the artefacts were potentially as old as 80,000 years.
Continue reading

Understanding the origin of the wind from black holes
via OUP Blog by Daniel May and Joäo Steiner

Hubble Space Telescope image of Messier 77 spiral galaxy by NASA, ESA & A. van der Hoeven. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
Contrary to common belief, black holes don’t swallow everything that comes nearby. In fact, they expel a good part of the gas of the centre of galaxies. This happens when a wind of ionized gas is formed in the vicinity of the black hole. In the case of supermassive black holes that occur at the centre of many galaxies, they produce a wind that can interact with the galaxy itself shaping its evolution through time. We may say that this wind could come in two “flavours”: in form of radiation emitted from a disc before falling onto the black hole or a jet of particles launched in opposite directions perpendicular to the same disc. We know, for instance, that they keep the intergalactic gas hot and prevent the galaxy from growing bigger, suppressing star formation in most of them.
Continue reading

Fun interactive game theory simulator shows how trust and mistrust evolve
via Boing Boing by Mark Frauenfelder

This simulation, called The Evolution of Trust starts with a variation of the prisoners' dilemma. You can choose to put a coin into a slot. Another person has the same choice on a different machine. You can't communicate with the other person. The only thing you know is this: if the other person put a coin in their slot, you will receive 3 coins. And if you put a coin in your slot, the other person will get 3 coins. What's the best strategy?
Continue reading