Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Does academia suffer from a deficit of barroom brawlers?


Harry Crews, writer and professor of creative writing, University of Florida


CHE
"Crews poured himself into his students’ work with the same energy that he did his own. In class, he would amaze students by offering page-by-page suggestions on minor details about their stories, from memory. Even after the class concluded, he was known to run into students in the hall and offer comments on work the student hadn’t thought about for months. 
His rough exterior camouflaged a deep compassion for his students. The fledgling writers in his classroom poured their souls onto the page. Crews understood that vulnerability, and the responsibility that came with accepting it. "They are bringing me their blood and bone," he liked to say. 
To attend a Crews lecture, students would say, was to witness a performance, or a sermon. Former students, looking back from a window of 30 years, remember him pacing back and forth across the stage, waving his arms as he proclaims the virtues of a particular passage by Hemingway or O’Connor. Or they will describe a night sitting around a table in the dark corner of a bar, where the discussion had moved after class, Crews holding court, buying round after round of drinks and regaling his students with stories, each of which tried to answer for them the essential question each needed to answer: What does it take to be a real writer?
There is a belief in some parts of higher education today that the student is a blank slate, and the onus is on the professor to produce an educated, employable graduate. Anything less is a failure.
If students learned anything in a Crews classroom, it was that the opposite was true. Success, whatever that might be, was 100 percent dependent on the student. It was right there in a Crews course syllabus: "I hope you will not do yourself the disservice of thinking that you are an empty vessel that it is my duty to pour full of knowledge.""



Monday, April 24, 2017

A Friend Killed in the War -- Anthony Hecht

Image result for flare at night



Night, the fat serpent, slipped among the plants,
Intent upon the apples of his eyes;
A heavy bandoleer hung like a prize
Around his neck, and tropical red ants
Mounted his body, and he heard advance,
Little by little, the thin female cries
Of mortar shells. He thought of Paradise.
Such is the vision that extremity grants.

In the clean brightness of magnesium
Flares, there were seven angels by a tree.
Their hair flashed diamonds, and they made him doubt
They were not really from Elysium.
And his flesh opened like a peony,
Red at the heart, white petals furling out.
 
 
 
 
 

You're Gonna Miss This -- Trace Atkins (2007)


Image result for You're Gonna Miss This -- Trace Adkins







She was staring out that window, of that SUV
Complaining, saying I can't wait to turn 18
She said I'll make my own money, and I'll make my own rules
Mamma put the car in park out there in front of the school
Then she kissed her head and said I was just like you

[Chorus]
You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These Are Some Good Times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

Before she knows it she's a brand new bride
In a one-bedroom apartment, and her daddy stops by
He tells her It's a nice place
She says It'll do for now
Starts talking about babies and buying a house
Daddy shakes his head and says Baby, just slow down

[Chorus]
You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These Are Some Good Times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this

Five years later there's a plumber workin' on the water heater
Dog's barkin', phone's ringin'
One kid's cryin', one kid's screamin'
She keeps apologizin'
He says They don't bother me.
I've got 2 babies of my own.
One's 36, one's 23.
Huh, it's hard to believe, but ...

[Chorus]
You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days hadn't gone by so fast
These Are Some Good Times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this
You're gonna miss this
Yeah, you're gonna miss this




Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Medical Marijuana for Heroin Addiction? Sure, what the hell.

Image result for cannabis doctor
"Dude, I'm so baked right now -- I can't even write this prescription for medical marijuana."






"A new drug treatment program says it has a cure for heroin addiction: marijuana.
The claim has attracted national attention, but the history of analogous miracle cures is as long as it is discouraging. 
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, some American physicians were persuaded that the best treatment for what was then called "alcoholism" or "inebriety" was morphine, an opiate. Even as late as the 1960s, researchers documented that a number of then-living morphine-addicted patients had been introduced to the drug by physicians as a treatment for their problem drinking.
At the turn of the 20th century, Bayer Corp., best known today for aspirin, rolled out what it marketed as a "safe, nonaddictive" alternative to morphine: heroin. Initially proposed as a pain killer and cough suppressant, it briefly gained a following among doctors who thought it a cure for morphine addiction and alcoholism.
William White, a historian of the addiction field, notes that a well-meaning philanthropic organization known as the Saint James Society actually "started a campaign to provide free samples of heroin to any morphine addict who wanted to take the cure."
Meanwhile, other physicians — most famously Sigmund Freud — touted yet another new wonder drug that would supposedly cure addiction to morphine, alcohol, heroin and tobacco too. It was cocaine, which claimed new victims of addiction, including William Halsted, a medical doctor, the founder of modern surgical practice.
In each case, initial enthusiasm for the "miracle treatment" waned when the new drug more often compounded than relieved the problems of addicted patients. Like an invasive species introduced intentionally into an environment to combat other invasive species, each new cure eventually became a problem in itself.
What accounts for these cycles of enthusiasm and disappointment? Historian David Courtwright of the University of North Florida emphasizes that medicine is surprisingly prone to fads.
"Physicians like new drugs. When one becomes available it often gets overused. In the 1970s, for example, physicians prescribed Valium for a wide range of conditions, from anxiety to insomnia to muscle spasms. Quite a few patients became dependent." Not incidentally, Valium was a benzodiazepine, a class of drugs that had been marketed as safer alternatives to barbiturates, a previous wonder drug that also proved to be addictive and dangerous."





Monday, April 17, 2017

Women abused in childhood prefer mates with autistic traits

Image result for autistic traits
This is a pretty crazy-cool study. Women who were abused as children (perhaps in part because they displayed autistic traits) were more likely to select mates with autistic traits. Which might be why autism risk has been associated with maternal child victimization.



2017 Apr 9. doi: 10.1007/s10803-017-3115-3. [Epub ahead of print]

Maternal Exposure to Childhood Abuse is Associated with Mate Selection: Implications for Autism in Offspring.

 

Abstract

Maternal experience of childhood abuse has been associated with offspring autism. To explore whether familial tendency towards autistic traits-presumably related to genetic predisposition-accounts for this association, we examined whether women who experienced childhood abuse were more likely to select mates with high levels of autistic traits, and whether parental autistic traits accounted for the association of maternal abuse and offspring autism in 209 autism cases and 833 controls. Maternal childhood abuse was strongly associated with high paternal autistic traits (severe abuse, OR = 3.98, 95% CI = 1.26, 8.31). Maternal and paternal autistic traits accounted for 21% of the association between maternal abuse and offspring autism. These results provide evidence that childhood abuse affects mate selection, with implications for offspring health.

KEYWORDS:

Autism; Childhood abuse; Genetics; Mate selection; Maternal factors; Paternal factors






 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Be Completely Honest with Everyone for the Next 3 Days

Image result for truth telling
Cool study by Levine and Cohen: Participants randomized to either be kind, be completely honest, or just be self-observant (control) for 3 days. The honesty group significantly underestimated how enjoyable the experience will be. We always tell people to be kind but we rarely encourage them to be completely honest. Maybe that's one reason people find psychotherapy rewarding -- because it's a place where they can be completely honest.
 



Source

Appendix A. Verbal Instructions for Three-Day Communication Intervention in Study 1a
All conditions:
 
 
 
In this study, you will be asked to reflect upon your social communication. Often, speaking with others requires balancing honesty and kindness. Being completely open and honest about our thoughts, feelings, and opinions, can sometimes upset others and be unkind. Alternatively, being kind, considerate, and helpful towards others sometimes means not being 100% honest.
 
Control:
 
Throughout the next three days – that means today, tomorrow, and the following day - please be conscious of the way you communicate with others. Please act as you normally would throughout the length of this study. You should not change your behavior, but you should be conscious of it. You should act as you normally would with your closest relational partners. However, you should NOT tell them, or anyone else, any specific information about this study. They can only know that you were asked to pay special attention to your interpersonal communication. After the study has ended, you can share any information you’d like about this study.

Please think about what it means to be conscious of your communication. Feel free to raise your hand if you have questions. [field questions, wait for a moment] Is everyone ready to continue? If so, you can complete the next link on your computer.
 
Honesty:
 
Throughout the next three days – that means today, tomorrow, and the following day - be honest in every conversation you have with every person you talk to. Really try to be completely candid and open when you are sharing your thoughts, feelings, and opinions with others. You should be honest in every conversation you have, in every interaction, with every person in your life. Even though this may be difficult, try your best to be honest.

Being authentic, honest, and true to oneself are important virtues. Embrace these virtues every day for the next three days. When someone asks you how you feel, tell them the truth. That means saying you feel happy only when you feel happy and saying you feel sad when you feel sad. When you are giving your opinion, be completely honest. You should provide positive opinions only when you truly feel positive, and you should provide negative opinions when you feel negative. You should be particularly honest with your closest relational partners. However, you should NOT tell them, or anyone else, any specific information about these instructions. They can only know that you were asked to pay special attention to your interpersonal communication. After the study has ended, you can share any information you’d like about this study.
Please think about what it means to be completely honest. Feel free to raise your hand if you have questions. [field questions, wait for a moment] Is everyone ready to continue? If so, you can complete the next link on your computer.
 
Kindness:
 
Throughout the next three days – that means today, tomorrow, and the following day - please strive to be kind in every conversation you have with every person you talk to. Really try to be caring and considerate when you are sharing your thoughts, feelings, and opinions. You should be kind in every conversation you have, in every interaction, with every person in your life. Even though this may be difficult, you should do your absolute best to be kind. Being kind and helpful, and avoiding harming others are important virtues. Embrace these virtues every day for the next three days. When someone asks you how you feel, give a kind answer. That means taking their feelings and state of mind into consideration. When you are giving your opinion, be kind. You should provide opinions kindly and focus on the needs and feelings of those around you.

You should be particularly honest with your closest relational partners. However, you should NOT tell them, or anyone else, any specific information about these instructions. They can only know that you were asked to pay special attention to your interpersonal communication. After the study has ended, you can share any information you’d like about this study.

Please think about what it means to be kind. Feel free to raise your hand if you have questions. [field questions, wait for a moment] Is everyone ready to continue? If so, you can complete the next link on your computer.