The cost of freedom
Land of the free, right? Call me cynical, call me jaded, but it doesn’t feel like that these days. People often wonder why, historically speaking, no one did anything when atrocities are happening. I’m left reminded that evil people, objectively bad people who should never have a modicum of power, come into power because it’s easier to let it happen than than it is to do something about it. Put simply, it’s hard to take collective action when you are comfortable and by the time you’re discomforted enough to actually do something, oftentimes it’s far too late.(more…)
Well the CDC recently changed its guidelines from 10 days isolation if infected to 5 days. This was a move fully done for the benefit of big business and not people, but hey sometimes we’ve got to lube the gears of the economy with blood. Specifically, the blood of people who are poor, but who cares about them anyway? I think there’s a fine line between government protection and government control, but we’re so far removed from any sort of protection I think it’s not a conversation worth having.(more…)
Another Veterans day reminder
Well it’s that time of the year again where I remind people that toxic patriotism and performative patriotism is bad. So don’t do it, seriously. I have a lot of mixed feelings about today. Mostly it’s a time for me to remember friends that aren’t around… I guess? I remember them normally anyway so it feels extra, this isn’t a happy thing and I don’t particularly thing we should “celebrate” in the traditional sense. I appreciate the others may have different opinions on the matter, but for me it comes down to the weaponization of patriotism and that needs to be stopped. Veterans day is less about people and more about politicians. It’s politicians use military as a weapon day.(more…)
Fourth of July
I’m a veteran. I have mixed feelings about most patriotic holidays (okay, all patriotic holidays) and today is no different. We could all use a day off and I honestly couldn’t care less about how the holiday is celebrated. The only real issue I have with how it’s celebrated is with the fireworks. The world is on fire at the moment (literally) and we don’t need to help it along. My main issue with the holiday is (of course) toxic patriotism and the inevitable misogyny and white supremacy that comes with it. Of course, that is how America was built…(more…)
On Memorial day
I come from a somewhat long line of military service. When my grandfather immigrated to the US he served in the Navy and fought in the Korean war to become a citizen. My father served in the Army and enlisted specifically to fight in Vietnam. Then I went off to the Marine Corps shortly after 9/11 and subsequently Iraq. War is hell, but then again so are people. It’s Memorial day, which means today is my time honored tradition to tell you all to just stop.(more…)
Water, it’s easy to take for granted when, with the flick of a wrist, you can get it pumped directly into your sinks, your showers, your toilets. The human body can survive for a substantial amount of time without food, that number varies depending on body composition and other factors, but it’s typically estimated anywhere from 8 to 21 days. That isn’t to say food is unimportant, just that on the hierarchy of needs, water is king. Depending on the circumstances, you may not even last a full day without it, so what do you do when you don’t have any?(more…)
Well… the US is frozen
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… not in the fun way either. Here in the US we’re almost completely blanketed in freezing weather and in most cases, lots of snow. Which of course means power outages, rolling blackouts, and generally trying to prevent the state from letting me freeze to death. It’s a whole lot of fun, I highly recommend it. When the temperature drops like this I’m reminded of times in my life where I couldn’t find a warm place to stay and that makes me nervous for the people stuck outside right now.(more…)
A violent transfer of power
Strap in kids, it’s inauguration day here in the US. Yep, Trump is out and we have a president again. My disdain for Trump is no secret, the amount of suffering and death he’s caused by his dereliction of duties, incompetence, and lack of empathy is incalculable and even with him gone, the damage he’s done will last at least a generation, if not more. Let’s be clear, this wasn’t a peaceful transition, the amount of military at the capitol says as much.(more…)
On turning the other cheek
Unity, noun, the state of being united or joined as a whole. Less than a week after a failed attempt at a coup, the GOP is now calling for unity. Like a concerted and years long effort to overtake the government was some accident and we should just forgive and forget. I mean let the person who hasn’t tried to overthrow the government throw the first stone! No? Anybody?(more…)
Not with a bang…
Well yesterday happened and wasn’t some weird fever dream I thought I was having. For those of you who aren’t in the US right now, good. For those of you who are and live in some underground fortified bunker with only internet access to my blog, weird, but we had a coup attempt. As in a literal attempt to overthrow the government. It’s okay though, because they were white supremacists and in the US we give them special treatment.(more…)
Thanksgiving thoughts in a pandemic
Today is Thanksgiving, which if we’ve read our history we know is a time of mourning. I mean let’s face it celebrating the genocide of a group of people that was here in the land a group of settlers “discovered” feels a little disturbing. I mean, nothing was discovered, there were people already here, as in the land you and I are living on. The land people generations ago took from the indigenous communities who called it home.(more…)
Remember, Trump is just a symptom
Well we may have actually done it. It’s been days and while we are still (STILL) waiting the final count, things are looking good at the moment. That doesn’t mean it won’t be a rocky several months or that the victory is assured. It also doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot of work to do.(more…)
Why does counting votes take so long?
Well here we are, it’s a few days post election and we’re still counting votes. It seems odd, right? We should know by now who won and who lost. Part of the problem is that racist piece of crap the electoral college. That isn’t the only issue though, if you want to know why we still have no clue who won, we need to remember that this was a manufactured problem.(more…)
Historical analysis examines sugar industry role in heart disease research
Using archival documents, a new report examines the sugar industry’s role in coronary heart disease research and suggests the industry sponsored research to influence the scientific debate to cast doubt on the hazards of sugar and to promote dietary fat as the culprit in heart disease.
Cloth masks offer poor protection against air pollution
Results of a new study by environmental health scientists suggest that inexpensive cloth masks worn by people who hope to reduce their exposure to air pollution vary widely in effectiveness and could be giving users a false sense of security, especially in highly polluted areas.
Genetic repeats suggest role for DNA instability in schizophrenia
My friend has a glass eye and unless you knew the story you might not think anything of it. His older brother did it. You read that correctly, in a schizophrenic induced confusion he tried to killed him. He never held what happened against his older brother, he was sick, how could he? The courts say, he cannot visit his brother while he’s in prison. This could’ve been avoided with early detection and now international researchers have used a new technique to identify significantly more DNA sequence repeats in patients with schizophrenia than in control individuals.
Why everyone wants to help the sick — but not the unemployed
New research explains why healthcare costs are running out of control, while costs to unemployment protection are kept in line. The answer is found deep in our psychology, where powerful intuitions lead us to view illness as the result of bad luck and worthy of help.
Taser shock disrupts brain function, has implications for police interrogations
More than two million citizens have been Tased by police as Taser stun guns have become one of the preferred less-lethal weapons by police departments across the United States during the past decade. But what does that 50,000-volt shock do to a person’s brain?
Stereotype means girls should expect poorer physics grades
Imagine that you are a female student and give the exact same answer to a physics exam question as one of your male classmates, but you receive a significantly poorer grade. This is precisely what happens on a regular basis, as concluded in a study by Sarah Hofer, a researcher in the group led by ETH professor Elsbeth Stern.
Women, do you want to be a leader at a teaching hospital? Grow a mustache!
Thirteen percent of department leader positions at top academic medical institutions in the United States are held by women, while nearly 20 percent are held by men with mustaches. The findings of the tongue-in-cheek study, an analysis of more than 1,000 headshots of department leaders at top National Institutes of Health-funded academic medical institutions, provide a new context for examining gender disparities in the field.
Our pale blue dot in the wake of destruction
This is our home, that pale blue dot, dwarfed by an arrow that takes up less space on your screen than this sentence. For all our “overwhelming” intelligence, if we flexed our mental might and developed a weapon to destroy this pale blue dot, it would almost certainly go unnoticed in the universe.
Mexico City’s air pollution has detrimental impact on Alzheimer’s disease gene
A new study by researchers heightens concerns over the detrimental impact of air pollution on hippocampal metabolites as early markers of neurodegeneration in young urbanites carrying an allele 4 of the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE). This is associated with the risk for Alzheimer disease (AD) and a susceptibility marker for poor outcome in traumatic brain injury (TBI) recovery.
Students in credit crisis
New research from the USA suggests that college students are well aware that they should be personally responsible for their finances, including their card obligations, but this awareness rarely correlates with limiting the debts they accrue during their time in higher education.
The science of stereotyping: Challenging the validity of ‘gaydar’
“Gaydar” — the purported ability to infer whether people are gay or straight based on their appearance — seemed to get a scientific boost from a 2008 study that concluded people could accurately guess someone’s sexual orientation based on photographs of their faces. In a new paper researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison challenge what they call “the gaydar myth.” William Cox, an assistant scientist in the Department of Psychology and the lead author, says gaydar isn’t accurate and is actually a harmful form of stereotyping.
How influential are peer reactions to posts on Facebook news channels?
An experiment to determine the effects of positive and negative user comments to items posted by media organizations on Facebook news channels showed, surprisingly, that the influence of user comments varied depending on the type and number of user comments. Negative comments influenced the persuasiveness of a news article, while positive comments did not, and a high number of likes did not have the expected bandwagon effect.
On Wikipedia, politically controversial science topics vulnerable to information sabotage
Wikipedia reigns. It’s the world’s most popular online encyclopedia, the sixth most visited website in America, and a research source most U.S. students rely on. But Wikipedia entries on politically controversial scientific topics can be unreliable due to information sabotage.
Commenters exposed to prejudiced comments more likely to display prejudice themselves
Comment sections on websites continue to be an environment for trolls to spew racist opinions. The impact of these hateful words shouldn’t have an impact on how one views the news or others, but that may not be the case. A recent study found exposure to prejudiced online comments can increase people’s own prejudice, and increase the likelihood that they leave prejudiced comments themselves.
Liar, Liar: Children with good memories are better liars
Children who benefit from a good memory are much better at covering up lies, researchers from the University of Sheffield have discovered. Experts found a link between verbal memory and covering up lies following a study which investigated the role of working memory in verbal deception amongst children.
Study links heartbeat to female libido
Sexual dysfunction in women can be linked to low resting heart rate variability, a finding that could help clinicians treat the condition, according to a study by psychologists from The University of Texas at Austin.
How ‘science popularizers’ influence public opinion on religion
Two prominent scientists with drastically different views on the relationship of science and religion – Richard Dawkins and Francis Collins – have an equally different influence on these views among people who are unfamiliar with their work, according to new research from Rice University and West Virginia University.
Power of the media’s impact on medicine use revealed
More than 60,000 Australians are estimated to have reduced or discontinued their use of prescribed cholesterol-lowering statin medications following the airing of a two-part series critical of statins by ABC TV’s science program, Catalyst, a University of Sydney study reveals. The analysis of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme medication records of 191,000 people revealed that there was an immediate impact after Catalyst was aired in October 2013, with 14,000 fewer people dispensed statins per week than expected.
The health effects of homophobia
Homophobia, since people are (finally) stigmatizing racism, it’s just another excuse to be able to treat people who are slightly different like they are garbage. To that end, I have bad news for gay and bisexual men living in European countries. The ones with strong attitudes and policies against homosexuality are far less likely to use HIV-prevention services, test for HIV, and discuss their sexuality with health providers, according to research led by Yale School of Public Health (YSPH).
What musical taste tells us about social class
Love the opera? Hungry for hip hop? It turns out that your musical likes and dislikes may say more about you than you think, according to UBC research. Even in 2015, social class continues to inform our cultural attitudes and the way we listen to music, according to the study.
How racial stereotypes impact the way we communicate
Racial stereotypes and expectations can impact the way we communicate and understand others, according to new research. The new study highlights how non-verbal “social cues” – such as photographs of Chinese Canadians – can affect how we comprehend speech.
Health factors influence ex-prisoners’ chances of returning to jail
Ex-prisoners with a history of risky drug use, mental illness or poverty are more likely to end up back behind bars. Those who are obese, are chronically ill or have attempted suicide are more likely to remain in the community. These are some of the findings from an exploratory study into health-related factors that could be used to predict whether a person released from prison will end up in custody again.
The new normal? Addressing gun violence in America
Mass shootings have a significant impact on our individual and collective psyche, especially when they happen at schools. Despite the fact that children die every day from gun violence, school shootings upset us in ways that are difficult to comprehend. In our minds, schools serve as safe havens for children. When that image is shattered, the unpredictability and randomness of such heinous acts leave us wondering if anywhere is safe anymore. Thus, the shock and horror expressed following these events is not surprising.
Restricting firearms access for people who misuse alcohol may prevent violence
Restricting access to firearms for people who misuse alcohol could prevent firearm violence, but policies that more clearly define alcohol misuse should be developed to facilitate enforcement, according to a review of existing research and public policies by the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program.
The relationship between CEO greed and company performance
That gut feeling many workers, laborers and other underlings have about their CEOs is spot on, according to three recent studies which all suggest that CEO greed is bad for business.But how do you define greed? Are compassionate CEOs better for business? How do you know if the leader is doing more harm than good? And can anybody rein in the I-Me-Mine type leader anyway?
US clinics avoiding government oversight of ‘stem cell’ treatments
Clinics across the United States are advertising stem cell treatments that attempt to take advantage of what they perceive as exceptions in FDA regulations.The therapies in question are adipose-derived autologous stem cell treatments, in which fat cells are removed from a patient, broken down to separate components that purportedly contain stem cells, and are then reinjected into the same patient.
Pesticides alter bees’ brains, making them unable to live and reproduce adequately
A new report suggests that a particular class of pesticides called “neonicotinoids” wreaks havoc on the bee populations, ultimately putting some crops that rely on pollination in jeopardy. Specifically, these pesticides kill bee brain cells, rendering them unable to learn, gather food and reproduce. The report, however, also suggests that the effects of these pesticides on bee colonies may be reversible by decreasing or eliminating the use of these pesticides on plants pollinated by bees and increasing the availability of “bee-friendly” plants available to the insects.
Google searches for ‘n-word’ associated with black mortality
Google searches could unveil patterns in Black mortality rates across the US, according to a new study. Researchers found that those areas with greater levels of racism, as indexed by the proportion of Google searches containing the “n-word,” had higher mortality rates among Blacks. The study is the first to examine an Internet query-based measure of racism in relation to mortality risk.