You are browsing the archive for 2014 October 18.

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Indecision Is Essential: Why We’re Looking at Our Tough Choices All Wrong

October 18, 2014 in Blogs

By Susan Ewing, Salon.com

An exciting new theory posits that our trouble making choices is actually essential to learning who we are.


“To see decisions as the point of decision-making is to see orgasms as the point of love-making.”

So writes social scientist Daniel Newark in the November 2014 issue of Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. Decisions, Newark is quick to add, should happen eventually. But we might not suffer so much—and could even benefit from—indecision if our ultimate choice, which often does come with a flood of relief, is not the entire focus of the exercise.

The field of social science has long considered indecision as a problem to be treated or remedied. But what if indecision had a silver lining? What if it plays an important role in shaping who we are? Swimming upstream against the tradition of indecision-as-pathology, Newark’s tables-turning paper suggests just that.

First, some caveats: We’re not talking about chronic or clinical indecisiveness here. And we’re not necessarily talking about deciding if you want fries with that — although even small decisions can be crippling when the choice triggers deeper uncertainties. In the main, Newark’s beautifully subversive theory on indecision considers the kinds of choices that can mire normally functional people in the quicksand of stuck-ness.

Do I stay in this relationship or leave? Should I let the vet amputate my dog’s leg? Shall I have a baby? Move to a new city? Take chemo?

These are the kinds of questions that burrow into the heart and soul of who we are as individuals, and can reveal what we truly value. And indecision, Newark proposes, if we let it, can inspire significant personal insight and growth.

All that makes sense to psychotherapist Timothy J. Tate, who was not part of the study, but whose work often enters the realm of identity-related issues. During periods of indecision, he agrees, it’s likely that “the old idea of persona has run out of gas, which can pave the way for a fresh sense of character to gain traction.”

When Newark told people he studied decision-making, he says, “they would often groan and say things like, ‘Oh, I …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Big Pharma Has An Interest in Rich People Being Sick

October 18, 2014 in Blogs

By Giles Fraser, The Guardian

What profit is there in a healthy population?


The giant pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline said yesterday that its work on a vaccine for Ebola will “come too late” to do anything about the current situation. Even now it is trying to compress trials that would normally take a decade into a year. The impression it gives is that it is working flat out, no holds barred. But hang on a moment. Ebola was discovered back in 1976. What has GlaxoSmithKline been doing since then? Answer: not much.

A small clue to why can be found by looking at the stock price of Tekmira Pharmaceuticals, the Canadian-based drugs firm that some investors seem to think is leading the pack on Ebola research. Tekmira shares rose a massive 180% from mid-July to October, with most of the share-price action coming when the virus jumped to Europe and the US.

Ebola has been killing people in central and western Africa for at least 38 years – but it’s only when the virus becomes a threat to the developed world that there is seen to be a profit in it. I know it sounds cynical to say it flat out like that – but it sounds cynical because it is. What business case is there for developing drugs to save the lives of poor Africans when they don’t have the money to pay for them? Especially when there is so much more profit to be had in – for instance – giving rich white men erections. As a study in last year’s Lancet showed, of the 336 new drugs developed in the first decade of this century, only four of them were for what are known in jargon as neglected tropical diseases – three for malaria and one for diarrhoea.

The point being this: the business model of market-driven big (or even medium-sized) pharma does not work well to address the challenges posed by a virus that ultimately has no respect for geography or bank balance. Some of the developed world’s early interest in Ebola was in whether it could be weaponised. It was …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Ancient Siberian Mummy Had Breast Cancer and Self-Medicated with Marijuana

October 18, 2014 in Blogs

By Scott Kaufman, Raw Story

Russian scientists make an important discovery.


A team of Russian scientists has determined that the Siberian “ice maiden” likely died of breast cancer and used marijuana to treat the pain, The Siberian Timesreports.

An investigation of the mummified, 2,400 year old remains of the young woman indicates that the young woman died of breast cancer, and the researchers speculate that the marijuana found in her burial chamber was used to mitigate the pain it caused.

“During the imaging of mammary glands, we paid attention to their asymmetric structure and the varying asymmetry of the MR signal,” Andrey Letyagin, a physiology professor from the Russian Academy of Medical Science, told the Times. “We are dealing with a primary tumour in the right breast and right axial lymph nodes with metastases.”

Even if the cancer is what took her life, however, Letyagin also discovered that the young woman had osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone marrow that could have caused arthritic symptoms in the joints and left her prone to fractures, like the ones she suffered shortly before dying.“I am quite sure of the diagnosis,” he concluded. “She was extremely emaciated. Only cancer could have such an impact.”

“We see the traces of traumas she got not so long before her death, serious traumas – dislocations of joints, fractures of the skull,” he said. “These injuries look like she got them falling from a height.”

Natalia Polosmak, the archaeologist who discovered the young woman’s remains, said that the Pazyryks were familiar with marijuana and its analgesic effects. “Probably for this sick woman,” she speculated, “sniffing cannabis was a forced necessity.”

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Source: ALTERNET

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I'm a Hazmat-Trained Hospital Worker: Here's What No One Is Telling You About Ebola

October 18, 2014 in Blogs

By Abby Norman, Huffington Post

Here's what everyone is failing to report.


Ebola is brilliant.

It is a superior virus that has evolved and fine-tuned its mechanism of transmission to be near-perfect. That's why we're all so terrified. We know we can't destroy it. All we can do is try to divert it, outrun it. 

I've worked in health care for a few years now. One of the first things I took advantage of was training to become FEMA-certified for hazmat ops in a hospital setting. My rationale for this was that, in my home state of Maine, natural disasters are almost a given. We're also, though you may not know it, a state that has many major ports that receive hazardous liquids from ships and transport them inland. In the back of my mind, of course, I was aware that any hospital in the world could potentially find itself at the epicenter of a scene from The Hot Zone. That was several years ago. Today I'm thinking, by God, I might actually have to use this training. Mostly, though, I'm aware of just that — that I did receive training. Lots of it. Because you can't just expect any nurse or any doctor or any health care worker or layperson to understand the deconning procedures by way of some kind of pamphlet or 10-minute training video. Not only is it mentally rigorous, but it's physically exhausting. 

PPE, or, personal protective equipment, is sort of a catch-all phrase for the suits, booties, gloves, hoods and in many cases respirators worn by individuals who are entering a hot zone. These suits are incredibly difficult to move in. You are wearing several layers of gloves, which limits your dexterity to basically nil, the hoods limit the scope of your vision — especially your peripheral vision, which all but disappears. The suits are hot – almost unbearably so. The respirator gives you clean air, but not cool air. These suits are for protection, not comfort. Before you even suit up, your vitals need to be taken. You can't perform in the suit for more than about a half hour at a …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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6 Dumbest Right-Wing Moments This Week: Ebola Stupidity Rages On

October 18, 2014 in Blogs

By Janet Allon, AlterNet

Trump ups the ante with an insane tweet about the president.


1. Fox Newsian (Shep Smith) breaks rank, says something sensible. Rush Limbaugh promptly mocks him for it.

There was a strange outbreak of sanity this week on Fox News. Well, not an outbreak. One case. Shep Smith made an impassioned statement about how Ebola hysteria is counterproductive, and Americans should not be swept up in it. “Do not listen to the hysterical voices on the radio and the television or read the fear-provoking words online,” he urged his viewers. “The people who say and write hysterical things are being very irresponsible.”

Whoa, Shep. What are you saying? Sowing fear and panic is your network’s bread and butter. This is heresy.

One day we may really have something to panic about, Smith continued. And we’re not going to ready for it. We’ll have spent all our panic chips. “We're not gonna panic when we're supposed to and we're certainly not gonna panic now,” Smith urged. “We have to stop it.”

Fortunately, this outbreak of somewhat inarticulate reasonableness was contained. The rest of the Fox News team donned their Hazmat suits and ratcheted up the crazy, irresponsible fearmongering and Obama-blaming. Good ole Rush Limbaugh sagely did the manly thing and mocked Shep Smith, by calling him a sissy. “Shep Smith was crying so much during his reporting from New Orleans in Hurricane Katrina his mascara was running,” Limbaugh said. “But we need to dial it all back here.”

All is right once again in the right-wing conservoverse, where sanity proved to be an isolated case.

2. Dr. Keith Ablow: Obama has it in for us; that’s why he’s trying to give us Ebola.

Reality seldom impinges on the world that Dr. Keith Ablow, a member of Fox’s “medical A-team,” is creating in his own head. In this world, President Obama hates America and that’s why he isn’t protecting Americans from the Ebola virus by closing the border. Ablow explained this week on Fox radio that Obama thinks of himself as a “citizen and a leader of the world” who has no affinity for any particular country …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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FURY film review

October 18, 2014 in Blogs

By Political Zach Foster