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All or nothing

Small Faces:

Burn down the mission

This is how Elton looked when I first saw him — I think in 1970?

River of love

T-Bone Burnett:

Panhandle Slim… Art for Folk…

Charlie WattsPanhandle Slim…

Nightmare on Graham street

Jon Stewart really let Goober Graham have it last night over his ISIS pantswetting:

Why Bernie will run

I’d love to see him get America talking about real issues again:

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) indicated on Meet the Press today that he would seriously consider running for president in 2016, even if that required him to switch his party affiliation to Democrat.

“The truth is, profound anger at both political parties, more and more people are becoming independent,” he began.

However, “the issue of whether you run as an independent, with the necessity of setting up a fifty-state infrastructure, running as a Democrat, that’s something that I’m looking at,” he continued.

Host Chuck Todd asked whether his running would necessarily be a criticism of Hillary Clinton’s record or policies.

“I don’t know that Hillary is running,” Sanders replied. “I don’t know what she’s running on. I know that the middle class in this country is collapsing. I know that the gap between the very, very rich and everybody else is growing wider. There’s profound anger at the greed on Wall Street, anger at the media establishment. The American people want real change. I have been taking on the big money and special interests all of my political life.”

Well, this is cheery news!

We just live here, folks. We’re just fleas on an elephant’s ass:

No one should be surprised if a magnitude-9 megaquake erupts off America’s West Coast — or anywhere else around the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire,” for that matter.

That’s the upshot of a study in October’s issue of the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America: Researchers say that computer models of future seismic activity, plus a check of past activity going back thousand of years, suggest most of the Pacific’s earthquake zones are capable of generating shocks at least as strong as magnitude 9 every 10,000 years on average.

Seismologists were surprised in 2004 when a magnitude-9.3 quake and tsunami devastated Sumatra and caused more than 200,000 deaths around the Pacific Rim. They were surprised again in 2011 by Japan’s 9.0 quake and tsunami, which killed more 15,000 people and touched off a nuclear catastrophe that continues to this day.

In each case, experts didn’t think the area where one geological plate is diving beneath another — known as a subduction zone — was capable of generating a quake that strong.

Via Alternet. This is exactly why I believe people are capable of understanding and weighing complex political issues — as long as you have commentary that actually explains those factors, and not just the horse race, as our media always does:

The following is a short excerpt from a classic from Noam Chomsky’s many published works, The Chomsky Reader, which offers a unique insight on a question worth asking — how is it that we as a people can be so knowledgable about the intricacies of various sports teams, yet be colossally ignorant about our various undertakings abroad?

QUESTION: You’ve written about the way that professional ideologists and the mandarins obfuscate reality. And you have spoken — in some places you call it a “Cartesian common sense” — of the commonsense capacities of people. Indeed, you place a significant emphasis on this common sense when you reveal the ideological aspects of arguments, especially in contemporary social science. What do you mean by common sense? What does it mean in a society like ours? For example, you’ve written that within a highly competitive, fragmented society, it’s very difficult for people to become aware of what their interests are. If you are not able to participate in the political system in meaningful ways, if you are reduced to the role of a passive spectator, then what kind of knowledge do you have? How can common sense emerge in this context?

CHOMSKY: Well, let me give an example. When I’m driving, I sometimes turn on the radio and I find very often that what I’m listening to is a discussion of sports. These are telephone conversations. People call in and have long and intricate discussions, and it’s plain that quite a high degree of thought and analysis is going into that. People know a tremendous amount. They know all sorts of complicated details and enter into far-reaching discussion about whether the coach made the right decision yesterday and so on. These are ordinary people, not professionals, who are applying their intelligence and analytic skills in these areas and accumulating quite a lot of knowledge and, for all I know, understanding. On the other hand, when I hear people talk about, say, international affairs or domestic problems, it’s at a level of superficiality that’s beyond belief.

In part, this reaction may be due to my own areas of interest, but I think it’s quite accurate, basically. And I think that this concentration on such topics as sports makes a certain degree of sense. The way the system is set up, there is virtually nothing people can do anyway, without a degree of organization that’s far beyond anything that exists now, to influence the real world. They might as well live in a fantasy world, and that’s in fact what they do. I’m sure they are using their common sense and intellectual skills, but in an area which has no meaning and probably thrives because it has no meaning, as a displacement from the serious problems which one cannot influence and affect because the power happens to lie elsewhere.

Now it seems to me that the same intellectual skill and capacity for understanding and for accumulating evidence and gaining information and thinking through problems could be used — would be used — under different systems of governance which involve popular participation in important decision-making, in areas that really matter to human life.

Progress

I have a relation who was diagnosed in her twenties with schizophrenia (and she was full-blown psychotic), but it seems to have just disappeared. She’s been fine for decades and has a full-time, demanding job. So this news may help explain why:

Schizophrenia is classified as a psychotic disorder, one characterized by an inability to discern what is real and not real, to think clearly, have normal emotional responses, and act normally in social situations. As Elyn Saks told us last year, “it’s a waking nightmare, where you have all the bizarre images, the terrible things happening, and the utter terror — only with a nightmare you open your eyes and it goes away. No such luck with a psychotic episode.”

Scientists aren’t entirely sure what causes it, nor does it manifest identically in all people who have it (leading to the broader diagnosis of being on the ‘schizophrenia spectrum’). But links have been made to genetics, social factors (including early development), and neurobiology. The heritability link looks to be particularly promising, however; about 80% of the risk for schizophrenia is genetic. Yet scientists have struggled to identify which genes are responsible for the condition.

But a novel approach to analyzing genetic influences on more than 4,000 people with schizophrenia has finally allowed researchers to identify distinct gene clusters that contribute to eight different classes of schizophrenia.

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