Monday, October 31, 2016

"Psychopharmacology is in crisis"

Image result for new drugs of psychiatry
When are all the new drugs for psychiatric disorders coming along? Probably not in your lifetime.

Schizophrenia Bulletin, Fibiger (2012)
"Psychopharmacology is in crisis. The data are in, and it is clear that a massive experiment has failed: despite decades of research and billions of dollars invested, not a single mechanistically novel drug has reached the psychiatric market in more than 30 years. Indeed, despite enormous effort, the field has not been able to escape the “me too/me (questionably) better” straightjacket. In recent years, the appreciation of this reality has had profound consequences for innovation in psychopharmacology because nearly every major pharmaceutical company has either reduced greatly or abandoned research and development of mechanistically novel psychiatric drugs. This decision is understandable because pharmaceutical and biotechnology executives see less risky opportunities in other therapeutic areas, cancer and immunology being the current pipeline favorites. Indeed, in retrospect, one can wonder why it took so long for industry to abandon psychiatry therapeutics. So how did we get here and more importantly, what do we need to do to find a way forward?            
The discovery of all three major classes of psychiatric drugs, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anxiolytics, came about on the basis of serendipitous clinical observation. [Also known as dumb luck.] At the time of their discoveries, the mechanisms by which these molecules produce their effects were unknown, and it was only later that antipsychotics were shown to be D2 receptor antagonists, antidepressants monoamine reuptake inhibitors, and anxiolytics GABA receptor modulators. It is interesting and perhaps instructive to consider whether any of these classes of drugs could have been discovered by current drug discovery strategies. For example, what genetic or preclinical data exist that point to the D2 dopamine receptor as a likely target for antipsychotic activity? Presently there are no genetic data that suggest that this receptor is expressed or functions abnormally in psychotic disorders. And without the benefit of the prior clinical validation, it is difficult to see how preclinical data alone would point to the D2 receptor as an interesting potential target for the treatment of psychotic disorders. The same can be said for monoamine transporters with respect to depression where, like psychosis, there are no animal models based on disease pathophysiology and no compelling preclinical data pointing to these as potential targets for antidepressant drugs. This raises a troubling question: if in retrospect the three major classes of currently prescribed psychiatric drugs would likely never have been discovered using current drug discovery strategies, why should we believe that such strategies are likely to bear fruit now or in the future?               
In order to recapture industry’s investment in psychiatric drug development, major changes in psychiatry will need to take place. These changes are necessary along the entire value chain, including both preclinical and clinical domains. What the field lacks is sufficient basic knowledge about normal brain function and how its disturbance underlies the pathophysiology of psychiatric disease. Because of this, as the record now clearly shows, it remains too early to attempt rational drug design for psychiatric diseases as currently conceived. The most obvious solution here is expanded investment in neuroscience. By necessity, this will be driven primarily by the efforts of clinical and basic scientists in academic settings because industry no longer has the appetite or the resources to engage in such activities. It is worth emphasizing that industry is in the business of making drugs, knowledge sometimes being a fortuitous byproduct. Academia is in the business of generating knowledge, and knowledge is what is needed at present. If we are successful in making the necessary changes, given the enormous level of unmet need left by existing psychiatric drugs, there is no doubt that industry will return and reinvest.                 
A major barrier to progress is the current state of nosology in psychiatry. A new taxonomy is a prerequisite for meaningful progress. Today, few would argue that syndromes such as schizophrenia and depression are single, homogeneous diseases. And yet when it comes to clinical research, including clinical trials, both are still almost always treated as such. For example, studies continue to be published on the genetics of both of these syndromes despite the fact that there never will be a robust genetics of either condition as the nature and severity of specific symptoms are too heterogeneous across individuals to have any consistent genetic correlates. Similarly, while DSM conceptualizations of psychiatric disease may have utility in current clinical practice, when it comes to research, they too are a barrier to progress. A different approach would be to break these syndromes down into their component subsyndromes or symptoms and investigate the neurobiological substrates of these more precisely defined components. As an example, although there will never be a coherent biology of schizophrenia (any more than there ever could have been be a meaningful biology of cancer as it was understood 30 years ago), the chances seem better that there will be a biology of subsyndromes such as negative symptoms, delusions, or hallucinations (just as it is now understood that there are distinct biologies underlying different cancers). Advances in knowledge about the biological mechanisms underlying different cancers are were a prerequisite for the huge current investment in developing novel cancer therapeutics. Psychiatry should learn from this example.                 
Given that there cannot be a coherent biology for syndromes as heterogeneous as schizophrenia, it is not surprising that the field has failed to validate distinct molecular targets for the purpose of developing mechanistically novel therapeutics."

Sunday, October 30, 2016

You tell me this is God? -- Stephen Crane

Image result for ancient text and candle

You tell me this is God?
I tell you this is a printed list,
A burning candle and an ass.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Lady Hyacinth Abroad -- A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder (2013)

Image result for gentleman's guide to love and murder playbill

If I’m ever to show my face in society again,
I’ve got to find a new cause of my own and quickly. Come, come, any ideas?

Daisy Greville has the old. Lady Sitwell has the blind

And the fund for sailor’s widows?

That’s the two of them combined

Nightschool for the nervous?

Lady Beach and Margaret Guest

Crutches for the crippled?

That was Elsie Ponds’ bequest

Wayward women

Daisy Greville

Who’s behind disfigured men?

Daisy Greville

And the deaf… don’t tell me it’s Greville yet again.
Everyone’s got something can’t you see why I’m bereft.
I want to do some good but what the devil’s left?

What the devil’s left?

If I may your Ladyship, one hears about such terrible poverty in Egypt these days…

Egypt. Land of the pharaohs and of Moses the Israelite.
Home to the great pyramids and the sphinx.

That’s it! We’ll populate an orphanage in Cairo, with foundlings from the reeds along the Nile.
To watch a creature grow, to swaddle it and know the joy of its pathetic little smile

It’s little smile

The news will travel soon enough to London

To London

Our selflessness will meet with great acclaim


The sniping will be stilled, and the empire will be filled, with homes for bastard children in my name.
All aboard the Luxor express to Cairo.

And off she went, what I failed to tell her was that a violent uprising against the empire was imminent
and no british citizen was considered safe, so you can imagine my surprise when
Lady Hyacinth returned to London quite unharmed.

Oh where will my largesse be truly appreciated,
I need a place so low that hope itself has been abandoned

You’ve heard of course of the untouchables in India.

India. Land of Hindus and Muslims, of tamarind and saffron. Exotic and unknowable.

That’s it! We’ll find ourselves some lepers in the Punjab.
The hopeless and the wretched and the cursed. Forgotten and Unblessed


I’ll take them to my breast

Your Breast

If Daisy Greville doesn’t get there first. When we arrive, they’ll hobble out to greet us

Hello there

Their toothless grins would melt a heart of stone


And every dilettante, will envy me and want a colony of lepers of her own,
now not a word to even your mothers til we leave although,
come to think of it what is the point of helping others unless you let the whole world know,
call the Times of London.

And off she went,
I neglected to mention the malaria pandemic in the Punjab
a bit of insurance in case leprosy itself failed to prove contagious,
so you can imagine my shock when Lady Hyacinth returned to London in record time quite the picture of health.
I don’t suppose you’d be willing to penetrate the jungle of deepest darkest Africa…

Africa. From Zululand to Yoruba, home of proud warriors that naked torsos rippling in the firelight.
We’ll civilize a village in the jungle

The Jungle

It can’t take long to learn their mother tongue

Not long then

The words they have are six and five of them are clicks


And all of them are different words for dong.
And can’t you see their frightful painted faces

Their faces

They’ll teach us how to swing from vine to vine

From vine to vine to vine

It’s Daisy Greville’s loss, she’ll never come across, a tribe of backward natives worse than mine.

Their may appall us...But even they are part of God’s design


We bid you all goodbye


Let all of London try, to find a tribe of natives worse than mine. Charity towards others is divine.

Divine, Divine, Divine, Divine, Charity is Divine.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Some of the Better Schizophrenia Clips on Youtube

Image result for schizophrenia heather
Hard to say how many of her symptoms are side effects of her medications.


Heather – Schizophrenia




Four Patients with Schizophrenia




Gerald (ex-cop) – Schizophrenia (start at 3:39)




Bob (disorganized speech) –Schizophrenia




Swan (homeless, former news reporter) – Schizophrenia




Jani (child) – Schizophrenia




Thursday, October 27, 2016

Helmet of Miltiades

Image result for helmet of miltiades
"The helmet Miltiades dedicated to Zeus at the sanctuary after he led the Athenians in victory at Marathon. The act is inscribed on the helmet itself "ΜΙΛΤΙΑΔΕΣ ΑΝΕΘΕΚΕΝ ΤΟΙ ΔΙΙ" (the name Miltiades is clearly visible in the lower left part of the helmet). 490 BCE."

Olympia Museum, Greece

"By the time Theodosius I banned the Olympics and ordered the destruction of the temples, the sanctuary had amassed an incredible amount of buildings, fountains, baths, statues, trophies, and votive offerings of every kind. Even though Olympia was plundered several times in antiquity, archaeologists have unearthed a wealth of objects during excavations that started in 1875 and continue to our day. The Museum at Olympia shelters and exhibits the most striking of these finds, some of which are worth traveling around the world to experience in person."

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Lord Ribblesdale -- John Singer Sargent (1902)

 Image result for lord ribblesdale

The World of Portrait Painting
"Thomas Lister, fourth Baron Ribblesdale (1854-1925), the eldest son of the third Baron Ribblesdale of Gisburne Park, near Skipton in Yorkshire, was born in Fontainebleau and spent much of his childhood in France. His father's extravagance and gambling debts had injured the family's finances, compelling him to mortgage the Gisburne estate and let the house itself to tenants. The young Thomas Lister returned to England to be educated at Harrow, joining the army (64th Foot) in 1873, transferring to the Rifle Brigade in 1874, and retiring as major in 1886. He succeeded to the title as fourth Baron Ribblesdale on the suicide of his father in 1876 and took his seat in the House of Lords in 1877, where he sat as a Liberal. That same year, he married Charlotte ('Charty') Monckton Tennant, daughter of the industrialist and collector Sir Charles Tennant (see no. 406) and a leading figure in the aristocratic coterie known as 'the Souls'; it was the Tennant fortune that paid off the Gisburne mortgage and bought the Ribblesdales' Mayfair home, 32 Green Street. Charlotte suffered from consumption and died in 1911, and their sons, Thomas and Charles, were killed in Somaliland (1904) and in the First World War (1914), respectively."

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Veterans Forced to Pay Back Re-enlistment Bonuses

Image result for Soldiers Struggling to Repay Enlistment Bonuses Issued in Error
So the California Army National Guard mistakenly overpaid these guys 10 years ago and now they have to pay it all back, plus penalties and interest. Not sure why they don't form a Bonus Army and occupy the state capital in Sacramento. As a means of peaceful protest, of course.

"After 21 years in the military, three deployments, and a roadside bomb blast that left him bleeding and unconscious, Christopher Van Meter got a letter from the Pentagon saying he improperly received enlistment bonuses and now owed the government $46,000. 
“I was having to choose between buying diapers and food for my children and paying this debt,” said Mr. Van Meter, 42, a former Army captain who now teaches high school near Modesto, Calif. “I spent years of my life deployed, missed out on birthdays and deaths in the family, got blown up. It’s hard to hear after that that they say I haven’t fulfilled my contract.” 
Mr. Van Meter is one of nearly 10,000 National Guard troops in California who have been ordered to repay re-enlistment bonuses and other incentives doled out during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan after an audit in 2011 uncovered widespread fraud, mismanagement and overpayment by the Guard in the state.
Some of the troops have been trying unsuccessfully for years to get out from under the debt and many are struggling to repay it. The Los Angeles Times, which first reported on the impact on troops, found years of appeals had not brought relief. Requests for help from Congress by the Guard’s command went unanswered. Mr. Van Meter had to roll the debt into his mortgage to make ends meet. Others have ruined credit and face stiff penalties for missing payments."

Monday, October 24, 2016

Desmond Doss -- Medal of Honor citation

Image result for desmond doss
No mention of him in my 7th grader's Commonwealth of Virginia-approved Civics textbook. Shameful.

Rank and organization: Private First Class, United States Army, Medical Detachment, 307th Infantry, 77th Infantry Division.
Place and date: Near Urasoe Mura, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands, April 29, 1945 – May 21, 1945.
Entered service at: Lynchburg, Virginia
Birth: Lynchburg, Virginia
G.O. No.: 97, November 1, 1945.

"The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Private First Class Desmond Thomas Doss, United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action above and beyond the call of duty from April 29 - 21 May 1945, while serving with the Medical Detachment, 307th Infantry Regiment, 77th Infantry Division, in action at Urasoe Mura, Okinawa, Ryukyu Islands. Private First Class Doss was a company aid man when the 1st Battalion assaulted a jagged escarpment 400 feet high. As our troops gained the summit, a heavy concentration of artillery, mortar and machine gun fire crashed into them, inflicting approximately 75 casualties and driving the others back. Pfc. Doss refused to seek cover and remained in the fire-swept area with the many stricken, carrying all 75 casualties one-by-one to the edge of the escarpment and there lowering them on a rope-supported litter down the face of a cliff to friendly hands. On May 2, he exposed himself to heavy rifle and mortar fire in rescuing a wounded man 200 yards forward of the lines on the same escarpment; and 2 days later he treated 4 men who had been cut down while assaulting a strongly defended cave, advancing through a shower of grenades to within eight yards of enemy forces in a cave's mouth, where he dressed his comrades' wounds before making 4 separate trips under fire to evacuate them to safety. On May 5, he unhesitatingly braved enemy shelling and small arms fire to assist an artillery officer. He applied bandages, moved his patient to a spot that offered protection from small arms fire and, while artillery and mortar shells fell close by, painstakingly administered plasma. Later that day, when an American was severely wounded by fire from a cave, Pfc. Doss crawled to him where he had fallen 25 feet from the enemy position, rendered aid, and carried him 100 yards to safety while continually exposed to enemy fire. On May 21, in a night attack on high ground near Shuri, he remained in exposed territory while the rest of his company took cover, fearlessly risking the chance that he would be mistaken for an infiltrating Japanese and giving aid to the injured until he was himself seriously wounded in the legs by the explosion of a grenade. Rather than call another aid man from cover, he cared for his own injuries and waited 5 hours before litter bearers reached him and started carrying him to cover. The trio was caught in an enemy tank attack and Pfc. Doss, seeing a more critically wounded man nearby, crawled off the litter; and directed the bearers to give their first attention to the other man. Awaiting the litter bearers' return, he was again struck, by a sniper bullet while being carried off the field by a comrade, this time suffering a compound fracture of one arm. With magnificent fortitude he bound a rifle stock to his shattered arm as a splint and then crawled 300 yards over rough terrain to the aid station. Through his outstanding bravery and unflinching determination in the face of desperately dangerous conditions Pfc. Doss saved the lives of many soldiers. His name became a symbol throughout the 77th Infantry Division for outstanding gallantry far above and beyond the call of duty."

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane -- Etheridge Knight (1931-1991)

Image result for lobotomized negro

Hard Rock / was / “known not to take no shit
From nobody," and he had the scars to prove it:
Split purple lips, lumbed ears, welts above
His yellow eyes, and one long scar that cut
Across his temple and plowed through a thick
Canopy of kinky hair.

The WORD / was / that Hard Rock wasn’t a mean nigger
Anymore, that the doctors had bored a hole in his head,
Cut out part of his brain, and shot electricity
Through the rest. When they brought Hard Rock back,
Handcuffed and chained, he was turned loose,
Like a freshly gelded stallion, to try his new status.
And we all waited and watched, like a herd of sheep,
To see if the WORD was true.

As we waited we wrapped ourselves in the cloak
Of his exploits: “Man, the last time, it took eight
Screws to put him in the Hole.” “Yeah, remember when he
Smacked the captain with his dinner tray?” “He set
The record for time in the Hole—67 straight days!”
“Ol Hard Rock! man, that’s one crazy nigger.”
And then the jewel of a myth that Hard Rock had once bit
A screw on the thumb and poisoned him with syphilitic spit.

The testing came, to see if Hard Rock was really tame.
A hillbilly called him a black son of a bitch
And didn’t lose his teeth, a screw who knew Hard Rock
From before shook him down and barked in his face.
And Hard Rock did nothing. Just grinned and looked silly,
His eyes empty like knot holes in a fence.

And even after we discovered that it took Hard Rock
Exactly 3 minutes to tell you his first name,
We told ourselves that he had just wised up,
Was being cool; but we could not fool ourselves for long,
And we turned away, our eyes on the ground. Crushed.
He had been our Destroyer, the doer of things
We dreamed of doing but could not bring ourselves to do,
The fears of years, like a biting whip,
Had cut deep bloody grooves
Across our backs.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive -- Johnny Mercer (1944)

Image result for johnny mercer lyrics acc

You've got to accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom down to the minimum
Have faith or pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene

To illustrate his last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they do
Just when everything looked so dark

Man, they said we better, accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
No, do not mess with Mister In-Between

Do you hear me?
Oh, listen to me children and-a you will hear
About the elininatin' of the negative
And the accent on the positive
And gather 'round me children if you're willin'
And sit tight while I start reviewin'
The attitude of doin' right

You've gotta accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between

You've got to spread joy up to the maximum
Bring gloom, down to the minimum
Otherwise pandemonium
Liable to walk upon the scene

To illustrate my last remark
Jonah in the whale, Noah in the ark
What did they say
Say when everything looked so dark

Man, they said we better accentuate the positive
Eliminate the negative
Latch on to the affirmative
Don't mess with Mister In-Between
No, don't mess with Mister In-Between


Friday, October 21, 2016

Attacks on "Publicly Intimate Figures," 1995 to 2015

Another addition to my Forensic Psych required reading list, thanks again to Dr. Reid Meloy.


An archival descriptive study of public figure attackers in the United States between

1995 and 2015 was undertaken. Fifty-six incidents were identified, primarily through

exhaustive internet searches, composed of 58 attackers and 58 victims. A code book
was developed which focused upon victims, offenders, pre-attack behaviors including

direct threats, attack characteristics, post-offense and other outcomes, motivations

and psychological abstracts. The average interrater agreement for coding of bivariate
variables was 0.835 (intraclass correlation coefficient). The three most likely victim

categories were politicians, judges, and athletes. Attackers were males, many with a

psychiatric disorder, most were grandiose, and most had both a violent and nonviolent

criminal history. The known motivations for the attacks were often angry and personal,

the most common being dissatisfaction with a judicial or other governmental process

(23%). In only one case was the primary motivation to achieve notoriety. Lethality risk

during an attack was 55%. Collateral injury or death occurred in 29% of the incidents.
Only 5% communicated a direct threat to the target beforehand. The term publicly

intimate figureis introduced to describe the sociocultural blurring of public and

private lives among the targets, and its possible role in some attackers' perceptions

and motivations.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The coordinated condemnation model of women's intrasexual competition

Image result for modesty panel versus cleavage
Guess which photo elicited more positive ratings from women? The woman wearing the "modesty panel" was thought to be more intelligent, less likely to cheat on tests, and less likely to cheat with someone else's boyfriend. Very interesting that it didn't matter if the female raters were older (and thus out of the sexual competition game) -- thus "coordinated condemnation." According to evolutionary psychologists, human females benefit when the "cost of sex is high," therefore, female-initiated "slut shaming" and other behaviors.


Women’s intrasexual competition became a salient topic of investigation after a paper detailing the different evolutionary pressures ancestral women would have faced as primary care givers of dependent offspring was published. Since then, the majority of research on this topic has come from a “direct threat” perspective, focusing on how women gain and maintain access to mates when a sexual rival poses a direct threat to a current or future romantic relationship. However, the most understudied area of competition centers on women’s competition when mating-related outcomes (i.e., increased mating opportunities, necessary mate guarding) are not immediately present. In this study, I propose a model of women’s competition that combines dynamic cooperation and sexual economics theory to explain competition when mating related consequences are not readily present. To test the “coordinated condemnation” model of women’s same-sex competition, I manipulated the amount of cleavage shown in an image across two conditions and asked women to rate her on various characteristics. Using a large and diverse sample of women (N = 732), I documented that participants shown the target image with visible cleavage perceived her more negatively than participants shown the target image with a modesty panel, even in domains seemingly unrelated to physical attractiveness and mating. The participant’s physical attractiveness, intrasexual competitiveness, social comparison orientation, and ovulatory cycle phase did not moderate this effect, and their relationship status did not mediate this effect.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The end of liberal education heralded a new Dark Age

Image result for TS Eliot
“We can assert with some confidence that our own period is one of decline; that the standards of culture are lower than they were fifty years ago; and that the evidences of this decline are visible in every department of human activity. I see no reason why the decay of culture should not proceed much further, and why we may not even anticipate a period, of some duration, of which it is possible to say that it will have no culture.” -- T.S. Eliot

Bradley J. Birzer
"Anyone who has studied the larger history of the West finds it hard to forget that the defining aspect of a “dark age” is the loss of liberal education. T.S. Eliot dated the beginning of our current dark age to roughly 1898.
It would be hard to argue with Eliot’s claim. At the turn of the last century, America began to embrace a public education that emphasized the nation as a whole (soon to be called 100% Americanism) over the world at large and over any subgroup or culture. Grant, perhaps more than any president before him, pushed for nationalism uber alles: in his economic policies, his savage warfare against the Indians, and in his near maniacal dislike of parochial schooling. In Europe, the German model of higher education walked tall, and America adopted the Germanic system rather than the Oxbridge model. As with almost everything, modernity dissected education into subject and professional categories, thus diminishing the whole picture of the human person. In more direct words, much of the western world embraced illiberalism, professionalization, and bureaucratization.
Irving Babbitt, Paul Elmer More, Albert Jay Nock, B.I. Bell, Christopher Dawson, C.S. Lewis, Russell Kirk, and almost every important and great figure of the last century lamented the loss of liberal education. One could legitimately claim that the entire movement of the “right” in interwar America and in much of Europe centered not only on the growth of the state, but also on the decline of liberal education.
These two things, of course, are related. For a nation-state to thrive, it needs at least three components, all in good working order, allowing the political sphere to predict with some certainty the stability of the years to come: a bureaucracy to collect taxes on a regular schedule, a police/military to collect such taxes, and an education system to convince the population that it should support the first two things.
For five hundred years, nation-states have done exceedingly well at collecting taxes and waging wars. They have, in relative terms, only very, very slowly learned how to homogenize populations with educational systems.
[B]y almost any measure, it is stunning that the liberal arts have survived in America as long as they have. No nation-state would ever defend liberal education, as liberal education liberates one from the concerns of this world. A liberal education would be the exact thing a nation-state and a nationalist (neocon or liberal) would hate. Liberal education connects us to the past, the present, and the future, and it asks us to join a Country (or, best, a republic of letters) that transcends the ephemeral nation and moment. Those truly liberal love what is always and everywhere true, not what is particularly true. They love love [i.e., God], not power."

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"Every human being, whose mind is not debauched, will be willing to give all that he has to get knowledge." -- Samuel Johnson

Image result for samuel johnson and boswell


From Boswell’s Life of Samuel Johnson: 
On Saturday, July 30, Dr. Johnson and I took a sculler at the Temple-stairs, and set out for Greenwich. I asked him if he really thought a knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages an essential requisite to a good education.
JOHNSON. ‘Most certainly, Sir; for those who know them have a very great advantage over those who do not. Nay, Sir, it is wonderful what a difference learning makes upon people even in the common intercourse of life, which does not appear to be much connected with it.’
‘And yet, (said I) people go through the world very well, and carry on the business of life to good advantage, without learning.’
JOHNSON. ‘Why, Sir, that may be true in cases where learning cannot possibly be of any use; for instance, this boy rows us as well without learning, as if he could sing the song of Orpheus to the Argonauts, who were the first sailors.’ He then called to the boy, ‘What would you give, my lad, to know about the Argonauts?’ ‘Sir, (said the boy,) I would give what I have.’ Johnson was much pleased with his answer, and we gave him a double fare.
Dr. Johnson then turning to me, ‘Sir, (said he) a desire of knowledge is the natural feeling of mankind; and every human being, whose mind is not debauched, will be willing to give all that he has to get knowledge.’

Monday, October 17, 2016

Perceived Masculinity Predicts U.S. Supreme Court Outcomes

Image result for macho lawyer
They might be adopting a losing strategy. By the way, the correlation between the perceived masculinity of the male attorney's voice and whether or not he won the case was a measly -0.02 (p=.008; n= 634). I wouldn't bank on this one replicating, especially since there is absolutely no reason to think that effeminate sounding men have any kind of advantage in competitive situations.

Original article

"Previous studies suggest a significant role of language in the court room, yet none has identified a definitive correlation between vocal characteristics and court outcomes. This paper demonstrates that voice-based snap judgments based solely on the introductory sentence of lawyers arguing in front of the Supreme Court of the United States predict outcomes in the Court. In this study, participants rated the opening statement of male advocates arguing before the Supreme Court between 1998 and 2012 in terms of masculinity, attractiveness, confidence, intelligence, trustworthiness, and aggressiveness. We found significant correlation between vocal characteristics and court outcomes and the correlation is specific to perceived masculinity even when judgment of masculinity is based only on less than three seconds of exposure to a lawyer's speech sample. Specifically, male advocates are more likely to win when they are perceived as less masculine. No other personality dimension predicts court outcomes. While this study does not aim to establish any causal connections, our findings suggest that vocal characteristics may be relevant in even as solemn a setting as the Supreme Court of the United States."

Sunday, October 16, 2016

On A Seven-Day Diary -- Alan Dugan

Image result for alan dugan

Oh I got up and went to work
and worked and came back home
and ate and talked and went to sleep.
Then I got up and went to work
and worked and came back home
from work and ate and slept.
Then I got up and went to work
and worked and came back home
and ate and watched a show and slept.
Then I got up and went to work
and worked and came back home
and ate steak and went to sleep.
Then I got up and went to work
and worked and came back home
and ate and fucked and went to sleep.
Then it was Saturday, Saturday, Saturday!
Love must be the reason for the week!
We went shopping! I saw clouds!
The children explained everything!
I could talk about the main thing!
What did I drink on Saturday night
that lost the first, best half of Sunday?
The last half wasn't worth this 'word.'
Then I got up and went to work
and worked and came back home
from work and ate and went to sleep,
refreshed but tired by the weekend. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good) - Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington

The poets say that all who love are blind
But I'm in love and I know what time it is
The good book says, "Go seek and ye shall find"
Well, I have sought and my, what a climb it is

My life is just like the weather
It changes with the hours
When he's near, I'm fair and warmer
When he's gone, I'm cloudy with showers

An emotion like the ocean
It's either sink or swim
When a woman loves a man
Like I love him

Never treats me sweet and gentle, the way he should
I got it bad and that ain't good
My poor heart is sentimental, not made of wood
I got it bad and that ain't good

But when the weekend's over and Monday rolls around
I end up like I started out: just cryin' my lil' heart out
He don't love me like I love him
No, nobody could; I got it bad and that ain't good

So bad, so bad
I got on it so bad, so bad, though folks with good intentions
Tell me to save my tears
I'm glad; I'm mad about you; I can't live without you

Lord above me, make him love me the way he should
Like a lonely weeping willow lost in the wood
The things I tell my pillow
No woman should

I got it bad, bad, so bad and that ain't good


Friday, October 14, 2016

Army using Chapter 14 to kick out disabled soldiers

Disabled in Iraq or Afghanistan? Good luck finishing your active duty military career. The military needs to jettison 80,000 troops by 2017 -- and guess who they are getting rid of? Medical discharges take a long time, and require paying medicals benefits for the veteran's lifetime. Kicking them out under Chapter 14 (Pattern of Misconduct) is a lot faster and cheaper.

Colorado Springs Gazette
"Staff Sgt. Coulter, another decorated three-tour soldier at Fort Carson, had a spotless record until he transferred to the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment. The regiment began writing him up for minor infractions, sometimes several times a day, including showing up without gloves and being late to formation. 
The unit used the list of infractions to charge Coulter with "a pattern of misconduct" and moved to kick him out of the Army.
Coulter walks with a limp from injuries related to three combat tours, and has been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and has PTSD flashbacks that can make it hard for him to drive. But this spring when his battalion announced it would kick him out for his list of misconduct write-ups, medical records show that doctors said his injuries were not longer an issue and he did not have PTSD. 
"It's a miracle. They say I have all these problems," Coulter said. "Then as soon as they want me out, there is nothing wrong." 
When the battalion slated Coulter for discharge, it stopped him from seeing his civilian psychologist, then said it was not the Army but the civilian psychologist who canceled his treatment. 
Contacted by The Gazette, the civilian psychologist, Judith Ray, said the statement was "absolutely untrue."  
"I would never do such a thing," she said. "It goes against the ethics of our profession." 
Asked why she thought Fort Carson officials stopped Coulter's treatment, she said, "Everybody knows they don't like to diagnose PTSD." 
In May, after meeting with Coulter once for less than an hour, his Army psychologist, Kelly Moss, said the sergeant did not have PTSD or a TBI, he had "adjustment disorder,"a diagnosis with symptoms similar to PSTD that does not require the Army to provide benefits upon discharge — and he was cleared for discharge. 
"It's just crazy, man," Coulter said. "But if they want you out, they're gonna get you out."

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Did Feras Freitekh intentionally crash that plane in Connecticut?

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The wreckage of the twin-engine Piper that crashed in East Hartford, CT on October 11, 2016. Can't believe one of the people aboard survived. People really do kill themselves by means of airplanes; it's not just a terrorist thing.


"The Federal Bureau of Investigation has taken over the investigation into the crash of a small plane in Connecticut on Tuesday afternoon, looking into the possibility that the aircraft was deliberately downed by one of the two people on board, according to the authorities.
Lt. John Litwin of the East Hartford Police told reporters on Wednesday morning that he would not comment on specific details of the investigation, but confirmed that the F.B.I. was leading the inquiry.
“Although you can see the investigation is extremely active, it is still in its infancy,” Lieutenant Litwin said. “Nothing has been ruled out, including an accident.”
He said two people were on board the Piper PA-34 Seneca twin-engine plane at the time of the crash, although it is unclear who was at the controls.
The plane is equipped with two set of controls, so at any given point, either person could have been piloting the aircraft, Lieutenant Litwin said.
One person aboard was killed in the crash; he was identified as Feras M. Freitekh, 28, a Jordanian national. The other person escaped from the burning wreckage and is now at a hospital in Bridgeport being treated for his wounds, which were described as serious but not life-threatening. 
Lieutenant Litwin said that the survivor had been able to speak to investigators but would not comment on what he might have told them.
Four law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation told The New York Times on Tuesday that the survivor had said that the crash was not an accident."

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Bruce Alexander's Rat Park: Addiction occurs in a Social Context

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Bruce Alexander found that caged rats learned to prefer heroin to water, but rats living in a healthier environment did not.

Rat Park
"We ran several experiments comparing the drug consumption of rats in Rat Park with rats in solitary confinement in regular laboratory cages. In virtually every experiment, the rats in solitary confinement consumed more drug solution, by every measure we could devise. And not just a little more. A lot more.
Here are the results of one of our first experiments.
Image result for rat park data 
You will see at a glance that the rats in Rat Park, called the “Social Females” and “Social Males” in this graph, are consuming hardly any morphine solution, but the “Caged Females” and “Caged Males” are consuming a lot.
When I talk to addicted people, whether they are addicted to alcohol, drugs, gambling, Internet use, sex, or anything else, I encounter human beings who really do not have a viable social or cultural life. They use their addictions as a way of coping with their dislocation: as an escape, a pain killer, or a kind of substitute for a full life. More and more psychologists and psychiatrists are reporting similar observations. Maybe our fragmented, mobile, ever-changing modern society has produced social and cultural isolation in very large numbers of people, even though their cages are invisible! 
The view of addiction from Rat Park is that today’s flood of addiction is occurring because our hyperindividualistic, hypercompetitive, frantic, crisis-ridden society makes most people feel social and culturally isolated. Chronic isolation causes people to look for relief. They find temporary relief in addiction to drugs or any of a thousand other habits and pursuits because addiction allows them to escape from their feelings, to deaden their senses, and to experience an addictive lifestyle as a substitute for a full life."

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Jail Suicide Attributed to Paxil, to the tune of $11.9 million

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Can't say I'm as anti-biological psychiatry as Peter Breggin, but I'm glad he's writing his books.

Ithaca, NY (PRWEB)
"A jury has awarded $11.9 million in a suicide case involving the antidepressant Paxil (paroxetine). The patient killed himself in jail after a psychiatrist restarted him on the SSRI antidepressant.
The $11.9 million award was one of the largest jury awards of its kind in an antidepressant-related suicide case which concluded September 15, 2016.
The defendant was PrimeCare and several of its practitioners and staff who provided services at the jail. The jury determined that the company and most of the defendants acted with deliberate indifference to the patient’s medical needs.
Psychiatrist Peter R. Breggin MD testified, according to court documents, about the negligence and callous indifference of the psychiatrist and the psychologist who treated the 46 year old patient, Mr. Mumun Barbaros. In addition, Dr. Breggin testified about causation in respect to the actions of the psychologist and psychiatrist, as well as the nursing staff and administration.
According to court documents Dr. Breggin testified that restarting the patient on his regular dose of the SSRI antidepressant Paxil 30 mg, despite a hiatus of least four days without the medication, was a direct cause of the suicide later on the same day. He explained further that the patient had difficulty several years earlier when starting the medication, even though the initial dose was only 10 mg. Restarting him on Paxil 30 mg, when most of the drug was out of his system caused akathisia (agitation with hyperactivity) and suicide. He also found that the doctor and the psychologist were negligent in several other ways, including their failure to evaluate the patient and to order careful monitoring."

The jury award included $2.8 million for negligence, $1.06 million for federal deliberate indifference and $8 million for punitive damages.

The attorney for the plaintiff was Brian Chacker of Philadelphia. The case is Ponzini et al. v. Monroe County et al., case number 3:11-cv-00413, in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in Scranton.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Body Integrity Identity Disorder

Otherwise mentally competent people with a strong desire to amputate their own limbs. The diagnosis did not make it into DSM-5. 

The Atlantic, December 2000
"In January of this year British newspapers began running articles about Robert Smith, a surgeon at Falkirk and District Royal Infirmary, in Scotland. Smith had amputated the legs of two patients at their request, and he was planning to carry out a third amputation when the trust that runs his hospital stopped him. These patients were not physically sick. Their legs did not need to be amputated for any medical reason. Nor were they incompetent, according to the psychiatrists who examined them. They simply wanted to have their legs cut off. In fact, both the men whose limbs Smith amputated have declared in public interviews how much happier they are, now that they have finally had their legs removed.
Healthy people seeking amputations are nowhere near as rare as one might think. In May of 1998 a seventy-nine-year-old man from New York traveled to Mexico and paid $10,000 for a black-market leg amputation; he died of gangrene in a motel. In October of 1999 a mentally competent man in Milwaukee severed his arm with a homemade guillotine, and then threatened to sever it again if surgeons reattached it. That same month a legal investigator for the California state bar, after being refused a hospital amputation, tied off her legs with tourniquets and began to pack them in ice, hoping that gangrene would set in, necessitating an amputation. She passed out and ultimately gave up. Now she says she will probably have to lie under a train, or shoot her legs off with a shotgun."


Sunday, October 9, 2016

In the Waiting Room -- Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)

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In Worcester, Massachusetts,
I went with Aunt Consuelo
to keep her dentist’s appointment
and sat and waited for her
in the dentist’s waiting room.
It was winter. It got dark
early. The waiting room
was full of grown-up people,
arctics and overcoats,
lamps and magazines.
My aunt was inside
what seemed like a long time
and while I waited I read
the National Geographic 
(I could read) and carefully 
studied the photographs:
the inside of a volcano,
black, and full of ashes;
then it was spilling over
in rivulets of fire.
Osa and Martin Johnson 
dressed in riding breeches,
laced boots, and pith helmets.
A dead man slung on a pole
--“Long Pig," the caption said.
Babies with pointed heads
wound round and round with string;
black, naked women with necks
wound round and round with wire
like the necks of light bulbs.
Their breasts were horrifying.
I read it right straight through.
I was too shy to stop.
And then I looked at the cover:
the yellow margins, the date.
Suddenly, from inside,
came an oh! of pain
--Aunt Consuelo’s voice--
not very loud or long.
I wasn’t at all surprised;
even then I knew she was 
a foolish, timid woman.
I might have been embarrassed,
but wasn’t.  What took me
completely by surprise
was that it was me:
my voice, in my mouth.
Without thinking at all
I was my foolish aunt,
I--we--were falling, falling,
our eyes glued to the cover
of the National Geographic,
February, 1918.

I said to myself: three days
and you’ll be seven years old.
I was saying it to stop
the sensation of falling off
the round, turning world.
into cold, blue-black space.
But I felt: you are an I,
you are an Elizabeth,
you are one of them.
Why should you be one, too?
I scarcely dared to look
to see what it was I was.
I gave a sidelong glance
--I couldn’t look any higher--
at shadowy gray knees,
trousers and skirts and boots
and different pairs of hands
lying under the lamps.
I knew that nothing stranger
had ever happened, that nothing
stranger could ever happen.

Why should I be my aunt,
or me, or anyone?
What similarities--
boots, hands, the family voice
I felt in my throat, or even
the National Geographic
and those awful hanging breasts--
held us all together
or made us all just one?
How--I didn’t know any
word for it--how “unlikely”. . .
How had I come to be here,
like them, and overhear
a cry of pain that could have
got loud and worse but hadn’t?

The waiting room was bright
and too hot. It was sliding
beneath a big black wave,
another, and another.

Then I was back in it.
The War was on. Outside,
in Worcester, Massachusetts,
were night and slush and cold,
and it was still the fifth 
of February, 1918.