The ones about people saying “Just grow some spine,” and similar ignorant bullshit really spoke to me.
Fascinating stuff—this book is already on my Amazon wish list. I’m sure all you animal lovers out there will enjoy reading about it.
In the 17th century, Descartes described animals as automatons, a view that held sway for centuries. Today, however, a large and growing body of research makes it clear that animals have never been unthinking machines.
We now know that species from magpies to elephants can recognize themselves in the mirror, which some scientists consider a sign of self-awareness. Rats emit a form of laughter when they’re tickled. And dolphins, parrots and dogs show clear signs of distress when their companions die. Together, these and many other findings demonstrate what any devoted pet owner has probably already concluded: that animals have complex minds and rich emotional lives.
Unfortunately, as Dr. Braitman notes, “every animal with a mind has the capacity to lose hold of it from time to time.” […]
Apparently our ability to fool ourselves about who and what we are keeps us from going insane.
This is pretty much what happened to me. All my illusions about myself and our world were murdered. It left me completely adrift for many years, almost like being in a sensory deprivation chamber. It’s hard to remain sane in such an environment.
We are all familiar with the saying, “laughter is the best medicine.” And this motto may ring true when it comes to tackling age-related memory loss; a new study from Loma Linda University in California finds that humor may reduce brain damage caused by the “stress hormone” cortisol, which in turn, improves memory.
The research team, led by Dr. Gurinder Singh Bains, recently presented their findings at the Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego.
It is well known that too much stress can negatively affect health. Medical News Today recently reported on a study suggesting that stress may worsen allergies, while other research indicates that it makes the brain more susceptible to mental illness.
You know how you can look back at people living 150 years ago and chuckle at how they thought leeches could cure colds and drills could fix headaches? Well, a hundred years from now, that’s how they’ll see our treatment of mental illness (assuming they can be so smug living in a nightmarish dystopia). The truth is, we’re just barely figuring out why human brains go wrong the way they do, and the most interesting theories suggest that many times what we now call a disorder used to be an awesome advantage.
I really enjoy Cracked. They’ve come a long way from being Mad’s also-ran.
For those not in Southern California, yesterday a jury acquitted two Fullerton, CA police officers of beating a mentally ill homeless man named Kelly Thomas to death in July 2011. It is a verdict that makes you wonder if the jury channeled that which acquitted George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin killing last year.
Here is the video mentioned below. It is disturbing, to say the least:
What do you see when you watch the video? I see an obviously ill man whose illness precludes him from having a rational interaction with the police. And I see officers who clearly lose whatever patience they may have had toward this ill man at the outset of the encounter. And when they lose their patience, I see them become unhinged and then unremitting in their use of force, even as Thomas can be heard begging for them to stop, pleading with them that he cannot breathe. It is painful to watch it unfold knowing how it all ends.
To me, this horrible video is the epitome of the use of “excessive force”—at a minimum. So what did those jurors see that I missed in the video? What in turn did I see that they did not? How could it be that not a single member of that jury was willing to stand up for Thomas for even a single night following the lone full day of deliberations? They have not commented publicly since Monday evening but it’s reasonable to assume a few things: 1) They were open to persuasion from defense attorneys offering context about the video, 2) they were willing to give the officers the benefit of the doubt about the reasonable of their fears that Thomas could hurt them, and 3) they accepted the broad swath of California law designed to protect cops from culpability for these sorts of avoidable deaths.
That’s why the defense said, over and over again at trial, that these policemen were, their lawyer said in court, “peace officers … doing what they were trained to do.” And perhaps that is the most frightening component of all of this—one that transforms this local tragedy into a national question. By this verdict jurors told us they believe these officers were merely following their training. So how many police officers in America today are out on patrol and similarly untrained (or emotionally ill-equipped) to handle the mentally ill? How many other police forces have trained their officers to use their weapons in this fashion against homeless people screaming for help?
Immediately after the verdict, the “dad” whose son cried out for help that night was predictably shaken by the acquittals. “I just don’t get it,” said Ron Thomas. He doesn’t but I do. The law protects the police more than it protects the mentally ill in America. If you need more proof then consider the abuse and neglect the mentally ill endure in the nation’s prisons all over the country. So why should we have expected jurors in this case to have honored Thomas’ legacy by holding responsible the men who so savagely beat him? We’ve dehumanized the poor, and the homeless, and the mentally ill, and this is what we get.
Last spring, my half-sister Michele called me concerned about her 21-year-old daughter’s mental health, as she’d had several bouts of depression and it appeared another one was coming on. This time, Michele was eager to get in touch with her daughter’s therapist before their next meeting. She had some new—and potentially treatment-altering—information.
“Her tests came back,” Michele told me. “Turns out she’s got a MTHFR-gene mutation. We’re waiting to find out which kind.” This was not a conversation anyone would have had 10 years ago, and it’s not one that many are having now. But if personalized, gene-based medicine keeps expanding into the brain sciences, it might be.
Michele, who works as a medical researcher in Australia, may know more than the average parent about the potential of genetics in treating psychiatric conditions. She had read studies that a mutation in the MTHFR gene may increase the risk of psychiatric disorders. Depending on the variation of the mutation, it could also signify which medications are most useful—with some studies recommending folate supplements instead of, or in addition to, antidepressants.
Despite the constant whining by people like Glenn Greenwald & the Tea Party about the intolerably oppressive government we Americans supposedly live under, all it takes is one article like this to remind me of how extremely fortunate we are to have been born in a place where situations like the ones in this story are so far from anything we’ve ever experienced as to make them nearly incomprehensible.
Dr Hab’s advert runs up to three times a day on Mogadishu’s radio stations.
“He’s gone crazy! He’s running away!” screams the actor. “Chain him down!”
The scenario is familiar in Somalia. A man has become possessed by spirits and the only option for his family is to restrain him and call the sheikh. But as the young man protests, a voice that challenges Somali tradition booms out. […]
There were only three practising psychiatrists in the whole of Somalia at the last count, and Hab - despite his lack of advanced qualifications - is head of what has become the country’s leading provider of mental health services.Dr Hab is not actually a real psychiatrist. Rather it’s the persona of Abdirahman Ali Awale, a nurse who after three months of specialist training from the World Health Organization (WHO), has made it his mission to rescue Somalia’s mentally ill. He claims he is able to treat everything from post-natal depression to schizophrenia.
But the alternative to a trip to Hab could be a visit to one of Somalia’s popular herbalists or sheikhs who still advocate traditional - and sometimes barbaric - cures.
“There is a belief in my country that hyenas can see everything including the evil spirits people think cause mental illness,” says Hab. “So in Mogadishu, you will find hyenas that have been brought from the bush and families will pay £350 ($560) to have their loved one locked in the room overnight with the animal.” […]
There were only three practising psychiatrists in the whole of Somalia at the last count, and Hab - despite his lack of advanced qualifications - is head of what has become the country’s leading provider of mental health services. He even carries a letter from the minister of health that says so. […]
Just days after a YouTube video of an airplane passenger losing her shit ranting in fundiespeak went viral, it happened again. Only this time it was on the House floor, by a well-known (however unnamed at this time) stenographer.
“Do not be deceived. God shall not be mocked. A House divided cannot stand,” she said, according to a House GOP aide. After a few seconds, she was escorted out by the Sergeant-at-Arms, but an audio recording by Todd Zwillich of Public Radio International captured the rest of her rant.
“He will not be mocked, He will not be mocked, (don’t touch me) He will not be mocked. The greatest deception here, is that this is not one nation under God. It never was. Had it been… it would not have been… No. it would not have been… the Constitution would not have been written by Free Masons… and go against God. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God, Lord Jesus Christ.”
And for those that missed it, here’s the original YouTube video of the airplane passenger:
The “don’t touch me” seems to be a common theme with the stenographer and the passenger.
I’d bet money both the stenographer and the airplane passenger sound virtually identical. From now on, this is the voice I’ll hear when any woman speaks on behalf of the GOP, Values Voters, or I’m reading the next edition of Palin’s word salad.
It’s their language. It’s how they communicate.
These are becoming more and more regular, it’s only a matter of time before one of these extremists succeeds before they get caught.
Authorities in Ohio say they aren’t sure what motivated a 42-year-old man to jump out of his car during a traffic stop in March and suddenly fire 37 rounds at two police officers. What seems clear, however, is the case is yet another example of the danger posed to unsuspecting officers who confront individuals steeped in extremist antigovernment ideas.
James L. Gilkerson had a library of antigovernment, homemade munitions and firearms books in his vehicle — along with an AK-47 assault rifle, five loaded 40-round magazines for the weapon, knives, five pounds of gunpowder and a black mask and gloves, authorities say. He was unemployed, spent his time caring for his ill mother, and apparently had no history of mental illness.
One of his books, Resistance to Tyranny, espouses a lone-wolf “underground movement of secret freedom fighters, each acting individually and independently to ignore, evade, resist and thwart the increasingly heavy hand of government power.”
When his car was stopped after running a stop sign on March 10 — a quiet Sunday in Middlefield, Ohio — Gilkerson exited through his driver’s side door and began firing his assault rifle before officers could even get out of their police cruiser.
Gilkerson fired 37 shots at officers Erin Thomas and Brandon Savage, who both returned fire, shooting 54 rounds at Gilkerson as he shouted, “Kill me.” He died at the scene. The unnerving gunfight, captured on a dash cam in the officers’ bullet-riddled patrol car, is now a high-hit posting on YouTube.
“He was a scumbag, and a terrorist, and he’s dead,” Middlefield Police Chief Arnold Stanko said at a news conference last week, according to The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer.
“I don’t know what he had planned or where he was going,” the chief said. “I just know he got out of his car intending to kill my officers. The AK-47 rounds he was firing would go right through a policeman’s bulletproof vest.”