Monday, September 22, 2014

if that vote goes her way nov. 4 she stacks a $1Million and her name becomes legend...,

rawstory |  In Alaska television reporter revealed herself as the owner of a medical marijuana business and told viewers she was quitting her job to focus on the legalization of pot.

Charlo Greene reported on the Alaska Cannabis Club during KTVA-TV’s Sunday night broadcast but did not disclose her connection to the business until a live shot at the end of the packaged report.
Then she surprised viewers and her colleagues by quitting in dramatic fashion, reported the Alaska Dispatch News.

“Now everything you’ve heard is why I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalizing marijuana here in Alaska,” Greene said. “And as for this job, well — not that I have a choice but, f*ck it, I quit.”

The she walked off camera as her stunned anchor apologized to viewers.

Greene said KTVA had no idea that she planned to quit or that she was connected to the Alaska Cannabis Club.

overseers in seattle using common sense and protecting and serving for a change...,

HuffPo |  In 1971, Richard Nixon declared drug abuse “America’s public enemy number one.” Over the next three decades, the federal government and most states toughened their drug laws and began spending ever more to put offenders in prison and keep them there. Today, there are neighborhoods where nearly everyone knows people who have been behind bars, and the enforcement of the drug laws across racial lines is so uneven that the United States locks up a higher percentage of black men than South Africa did at the height of apartheid. Drugs are purer and cheaper than they were in the '90s, and the demand for them is overwhelming authorities’ ability to combat the problem. Prison wardens are filling gyms and television rooms with bunk beds. Officials in both parties and at every level of the government complain about the cost of keeping so many people locked up. 

In recent years, some states have saved money on prisons by investing more heavily in “drug courts” where judges can order defendants to enroll in treatment programs. Every state in the country has at least a few drug courts; Washington alone has dozens. In the simplest sense, these courts offer people an opportunity to avoid prison, provided they agree to stop using all illegal drugs and go into a treatment program ordered by a judge. Studies suggest that they can help addicted people break their habits. But people with the toughest addictions often drop out or fail to qualify in the first place, and even those who manage to get "clean" still have to live with the permanent stain of a criminal record.
In Seattle’s West Precinct, where Bradford lives, the approach is different. People who get arrested for the sale and possession of crack, heroin and other illegal drugs are no longer automatically thrown in jail and prosecuted. Instead, officers with the Seattle Police Department now have the option of giving these offenders a choice: leave the precinct the old-fashioned way, in handcuffs, or meet with a counselor at a social-service agency and avoid the court system altogether. 

Those who choose the second path are no longer offenders, but “clients.” Depending on their needs, they may receive free apartments, clean clothes, college tuition, books for school or even yoga classes. Counselors lead them through a bureaucratic maze, helping them apply for jobs, food stamps, health insurance and other essentials. Private foundations shoulder most of the costs, though the city has begun to chip in, too. All the clients have to do to get into the program is agree to see a counselor at least twice in the first month of signing up. They don’t have to promise to stop using drugs. No one hands them a cup and points them to the bathroom.

The underlying philosophy is known as “harm reduction.” Proponents believe in trying to rein in the secondary effects of drug addiction -- social ills like poverty and homelessness and physical diseases like HIV -- by supporting people who are either unwilling or unable to stop using drugs. The idea has always been controversial, particularly in the United States, with critics arguing that the best way to address addiction is to insist on total abstinence from drugs at every stage of the recovery process. Nevertheless, government-backed programs that practice the principles of harm reduction are spreading throughout the country and the world, in part because the unimpeded growth of the drug trade has made it increasingly difficult for governments to justify the traditional ways of dealing with addiction. 

In Canada, Australia, and many European cities, addicts can now get their fixes in legally sanctioned injection rooms under the supervision of nurses who have been trained to protect against overdoses. Syringe exchanges, where people can trade dirty needles for clean ones, have sprung up in most American states and in more than 70 countries. Since 2001, the government of Portugal has treated the possession of a personal supply of drugs as a minor offense on par with a parking violation. When the Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank, looked into the effects of this policy in 2009, it found that fewer kids were using drugs in their teens and that the HIV infection rate among drug users had dropped substantially. 

In the United States, police departments in some cities have taken small steps toward reconciling the old-school approach with one that prioritizes the health and safety of drug users. In Washington, D.C., for example, the police chief has ordered officers to comply with a new law that bars them from arresting people who call 911 to report an overdose.

Yet Seattle may be the only city in America where the police have departed so sharply from the status quo. Judith Greene, the director of Justice Strategies, a nonprofit research group that studies criminal justice reform, said she couldn’t think of another example of police arresting people for the purpose of “giving them a pathway to a new life.”

Although it's still too soon to tell whether Seattle's strategy will pay off in the long run, the program, called Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD, is already attracting interest from police departments and prosecutors’ offices around the country. San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta and Houston have all sent representatives to Seattle to take notes, according to the program’s administrators. Santa Fe recently adopted the model for people arrested for heroin and prescription opiates, and Albany, New York, is expected to launch a similar program this year. In Seattle, the effort has already helped dozens of people like Bradford get access to services that can temper the effects of addiction. In a society that still insists on treating drug addicts as criminals, the city is trying to use that criminalization to direct addicted people to services that might actually help them.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

chasing a rolling snowball...,

economist |  Ebola is now growing exponentially, with the number of new cases roughly doubling every three weeks or so. In Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, it is thought to be doubling every two weeks. Previous outbreaks were usually in rural villages where it was easier to contain. At this rate of progress, small numbers quickly become big ones, and there is a real risk of the disease spreading to cities such as Lagos, which is home to more than 10m people. The longer Ebola is allowed to replicate in humans, the greater the risk that it will become more contagious. Some virologists fret that it might even acquire the ability to be transmitted through the air by coughs and sneezes. 

Although this seems unlikely, nobody wants to find out just how quickly Ebola can adapt to humans.
America’s response is the first by a government on a large scale. Until now the burden has been carried by charities such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), which has 2,000 staff in the affected countries. Yet even America’s large commitment may not be enough to get ahead of this epidemic in Liberia, the country most affected. By the time the troops actually get there, the situation in Liberia could be far worse.

Gloves and masks needed
Elsewhere, the response falls far short of what is needed. Sierra Leone, the second-worst-affected country, has received far less help from governments: China is sending 174 people and mobile laboratory teams, Cuba is sending a similar number and Britain will set up a hospital with 62 beds. France is sending 20 people to the region (though it is expected to announce that it will build a hospital).

Two things are urgently needed. The first is the rapid provision of basic (and, frankly, cheap) protective gear such as gloves, gowns, surgical masks and disinfectant. Domestic health systems in affected countries have crumbled as nurses and doctors have fallen ill or died for lack of basic gear.
The second need is for trained staff to run the treatment centres and work in them. Poorly run ones with weak infection controls may hasten the spread of the disease. Both are needed soon, as the cost of halting Ebola’s spread is also rising exponentially. In August the World Health Organisation estimated that it would take nine months and cost $490m to contain Ebola. Now it reckons the cost has risen to over $1 billion. The longer the world prevaricates, the harder and costlier it will be to contain this outbreak.

contagious laughter

rltz |  The mode of spread of this disease would seem to be from person to person. In most instances it was possible to trace recent contact with someone exhibiting the same symptoms. This might suggest a virus disease spread by droplet infection. The results of the laboratory examination, the lack of abnormal signs on the physical examination and the fact that the majority of the patients had more than one attack of the disease are against an infectious aetiology.

Contamination of food by toxic substances is possible explanation. Seeds of Datura Stramonium contaminating wheat and maize flour have been responsible for epidemics of food poisoning in East Africa (Anderson et al, 1944; Raymond 1944). This disease begins soon after eating posho made from the flour contaminated with the seeds and bears a superficial resemblance to the present syndrome. However, the dry mouth, fixed and dilated pupils and the muscular inco-ordination found in datura poisoning were not seen in Bukoba. Also symptoms only last a few hours as opposed to the average of seven days with the illness under discussion. No food factor which was peculiar to the people attacked has been found. No foreign seeds were found in the maize samples taken. A toxic food factor could not explain the spread of the disease from one person to another.

The third possibility of mass hysteria seems the most likely explanation. We are at a loss to explain why the disease first started. Close questioning f the girls involved has failed to produce any reasons for the initial attack. Once started, this mass hysteria could spread without the original precipitating factors being present.

The middle ages in Europe produced several epidemics of mass hysteria, of which the dancing manias of Germany and Italy are the best known (Major, 1954.) These followed on the Black Death and are assumed to be a product of the dislocation of normal life caused by the plague.

Hecker (1844) describes the following example of how the tendency to sympathy and imitation increases under excitement: “In a Lancashire cotton shop in 1787 a woman worker put a mouse down the neck of a companion who had a dread of mice; the fit which she immediately threw continued with violent convulsions for 24 hours. On the next day three other women had fits and by the fourth no less than 24 people had been affected; among these was a male factory worker so exhausted by restraining the hysterical women that he had caught the illness himself. The disease spread to neighbouring factories because of the fear aroused by a theory that the illness was due to some sort of cotton poisoning.”

In Tanganyika, in the village of Kanyangereka, where most of one family were attacked, a man of 52 years of age living nearby saw these people during their attacks. He was very upset at the sight of their suffering, and soon after returning to his hut, where he lived along, he felt something telling him to laugh and cry and shout. This he continued to do for most of the night.

The type of mental disorder that affects a community is influenced by the culture of this particular community. Examples of this are Amok and Latah in Malaya, Koro in China and Arctic Hysteria in Siberia (Leighton and Hughes, 1961). These authors describe a religious revival in Kentucky, U.S.A. in 1800 where the population became so fearful of their future after death that many began to exhibit jerky movements and to fall down in an apparent state of unconsciousness. Others took to barking like dogs, and this spread from person to person.

This epidemic in Tanganyika of laughing and crying requires further study. In order to interpret this behavior as normal or pathological, a study of the culture context should be made. The Kentucky outbreak followed a pattern similar to the emotional release of the New England revival a few years before. We can find no written or verbal record of this present epidemic having occurred in the Bukoba district previously.

SUMMARYAn epidemic of laughing, crying and restlessness in the Bukoba district of Northern Tanganyika is described. The disease commenced in a girls’ school and has since spread to other schools and to villages in the area. No significant abnormal physical signs were found and all laboratory tests were normal. There have been no fatalities. No toxic factor in the food supply was found. It is suggested that this is mass hysteria in a susceptible population. This is probably a culturally determined disease.

venezuela on alert over mysterious deadly disease

local10 |  The deaths of 10 people in the past week of a mysterious disease in several cities in Venezuela, including the capital of Caracas, have caused panic within the population and has prompted doctors to sound the alarm. 

A government spokesman minimized the warnings and described efforts to notify the public of a disease that has killed four adults and four children as a "campaign of disinformation and terrorism."

Despite the government's indifference, the country's doctors insist there is plenty of reason for concern about a highly dangerous and contagious disease of unknown origin. 

"We do not know what it is," admitted Duglas León Natera, president of the Venezuelan Medical Federation. 

In its initial stages, the disease presents symptoms of fever and spots on the skin, and then produces large blisters and internal and external bleeding, according to data provided week stop by the College of Physicians of the state of Aragua, where the first cases were reported. 

Then, very quickly, patients suffer from respiratory failure, liver failure and kidney failure. Venezuelan doctors have not been able to determine what the disease is, much less how to fight it.
The government has denied the existence of "a mysterious disease" and described the information provided by the doctors as a "media campaign against Venezuela." 

The governor of the state of Aragua, Tarek El-Aissami and Communications Minister Delcy Rodriguez, refer to the warnings as a "defamatory" strategy to "distress to the population." 

Some theories being examined include the possibility that the disease could be a new type of very aggressive and severe dengue, an atypical version of the Chikunguña fever or an Ebola virus appearance in Venezuela.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

about that broken trust issue: the west ignores the stories of africans in the middle of the outbreak...,

WaPo |  It wasn’t surprising that Western journalists would react with doom-and-gloom when the Ebola outbreak began in West Africa. Or that the crisis would not be treated as a problem confronting all humanity — a force majeure — but as one of “those diseases” that afflict “those people” over there in Africa. Most Western media immediately fell into fear-mongering. Rarely did they tell the stories of Africans who survived Ebola, or meaningfully explore what it means to see your child or parent or other family member or friend be stricken with the disease. Where are the stories of the wrenching decisions of families forced to abandon loved ones or the bravery required to simply live as a human in conditions where everyone walks on the edge of suspicion?

Instead, we have been given news from “the frontlines of Ebola” and “the war on Ebola,” video clips with somber narrators and eerie soundtracks and photographs that capture only sadness and hopelessness, all without the necessary human context. We have seen endless images of Westerners, covered head to toe, amid crowds of healthy-seeming onlookers; given such presentations, it is no surprise that people would begin to think that Ebola is an airborne contagion that might get on a plane and travel around the world, infecting people on its own. Or that all Africans are potential carriers.

Once again, sensationalism and generalization seem to be the only ways that Africa can be presented in the West. Once again, my country, Sierra Leone, along with Liberia, Guinea and, as far as some are concerned, the entire African continent, makes news because of a crisis. Is this the only time we are relevant? Why is it that, once again, even those who have never set foot on our continent seem to think they know all about us?

Given our interconnected world, it’s no longer possible to excuse such treatment as a lack of access to the facts. So what is the explanation? To borrow the words of Ni­ger­ian novelist Chinua Achebe, “Quite simply it is the desire — one might indeed say the need — in Western psychology to set Africa up as a foil to Europe, as a place of negations at once remote and vaguely familiar, in comparison with which Europe’s own state of spiritual grace will be manifest.” 

This thinking is so deeply entrenched in the minds of people in the West that it has become a reflex. Still, the ways in which Africans are portrayed as less human have not lost the power to shock. Each new crisis, it seems, offers a platform for some to exercise their prejudices.

the preparation, propagation and propagandization of this horrible weapon have permanently destroyed trust

cidrap |  Healthcare workers play a very important role in the successful containment of outbreaks of infectious diseases like Ebola. The correct type and level of personal protective equipment (PPE) ensures that healthcare workers remain healthy throughout an outbreak—and with the current rapidly expanding Ebola outbreak in West Africa, it's imperative to favor more conservative measures.
The precautionary principle—that any action designed to reduce risk should not await scientific certainty—compels the use of respiratory protection for a pathogen like Ebola virus that has:
  • No proven pre- or post-exposure treatment modalities
  • A high case-fatality rate
  • Unclear modes of transmission
We believe there is scientific and epidemiologic evidence that Ebola virus has the potential to be transmitted via infectious aerosol particles both near and at a distance from infected patients, which means that healthcare workers should be wearing respirators, not facemasks.

The minimum level of protection in high-risk settings should be a respirator with an assigned protection factor greater than 10. A powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR) with a hood or helmet offers many advantages over an N95 filtering facepiece or similar respirator, being more protective, comfortable, and cost-effective in the long run.

We strongly urge the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to seek funds for the purchase and transport of PAPRs to all healthcare workers currently fighting the battle against Ebola throughout Africa—and beyond.

There has been a lot of on-line and published controversy about whether Ebola virus can be transmitted via aerosols. Most scientific and medical personnel, along with public health organizations, have been unequivocal in their statements that Ebola can be transmitted only by direct contact with virus-laden fluids2,3 and that the only modes of transmission we should be concerned with are those termed "droplet" and "contact."

These statements are based on two lines of reasoning. The first is that no one located at a distance from an infected individual has contracted the disease, or the converse, every person infected has had (or must have had) "direct" contact with the body fluids of an infected person.

This reflects an incorrect and outmoded understanding of infectious aerosols, which has been institutionalized in policies, language, culture, and approaches to infection control. We will address this below. Briefly, however, the important points are that virus-laden bodily fluids may be aerosolized and inhaled while a person is in proximity to an infectious person and that a wide range of particle sizes can be inhaled and deposited throughout the respiratory tract.

The second line of reasoning is that respirators or other control measures for infectious aerosols cannot be recommended in developing countries because the resources, time, and/or understanding for such measures are lacking.

Ft. Detrick aerobiological warfare sciences data on airborne ebola jeopardizes trust

potr |  According to the Center for Aerobiological Sciences, U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Maryland:

(1) Ebola has an aerosol stability that is comparable to Influenza-A

(2) Much like Flu, Airborne Ebola transmissions need Winter type conditions to maximize Aerosol infection
"Filoviruses, which are classified as Category A Bioterrorism Agents by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta, GA), have stability in aerosol form comparable to other lipid containing viruses such as influenza A virus, a low infectious dose by the aerosol route (less than 10 PFU) in NHPs, and case fatality rates as high as ~90% ."
"The mode of acquisition of viral infection in index cases is usually unknown. Secondary transmission of filovirus infection is typically thought to occur by direct contact with infected persons or infected blood or tissues. There is no strong evidence of secondary transmission by the aerosol route in African filovirus outbreaks. However, aerosol transmission is thought to be possible and may occur in conditions of lower temperature and humidity which may not have been factors in outbreaks in warmer climates [13]. At the very least, the potential exists for aerosol transmission, given that virus is detected in bodily secretions, the pulmonary alveolar interstitial cells, and within lung spaces"
Analysis:  Its clear that when Ebola is in the air it is at least as hardy as Influenza. Its also clear that coughing and sneezing is what makes Influenza airborne; the same should be expected of Ebola.

Moreover, just as sun, heat, and humidity along the Earths' Equatorial regions serve to 'burn' Influenza out of the air, the same should be expected of Ebola. The difference with Ebola is that physical contact with even the tiniest amounts of infected bodily fluid can cause infection, hence unlike flu it also readily spreads in equatorial regions. When Ebola spreads to the regions of the Earth which experience Fall and Winter Flu seasons, airborne Ebola infectious routes are to be expected in conjunction with direct contact infection.

Ebola has the capability to infect pretty much every cell in the entire human respiratory tract. Similarly, our skin offers little resistance to even the smallest amounts of Ebola. How much airborne transmission will occur will be a function of how well Ebola induces coughing and sneezing in its victims in cold weather climates. Coughing and nasal bleeding are both reported symptoms in Africa, so the worst should be expected. In that regard, co-infections with Flu, Cold, or even seasonal Allergies will readily transform Ebola victims into  biowarefare factories.

Unlike Flu, a person need not inhale airborne Ebola to be infected via airborne transmission. Merely walking through an airspace (or touching the objects therein) where an Ebola victim has coughed or sneezed is potentially enough for a cold weather infection to occur. As such, all indicators are that Ebola's potential rate of infectious spread in cold weather climates is EXPLOSIVELY  greater than what is occurring in Equatorial Africa

In that regard, the government's Filovirus Animal Nonclinical Group [FANG] is standardizing on a Airborne Ebola Infectious "challenge" of 1000 PFU that all proposed medical countermeasures must defeat in order to gain acceptance.

machete and club killings of outbreak teams jeopardize trust

bbc |  Eight members of a team trying to raise awareness about Ebola have been killed by villagers using machetes and clubs in Guinea, officials say.

Some of the bodies - of health workers, local officials and journalists - were found in a septic tank in a village school near the city of Nzerekore.

Correspondents say many villagers are suspicious of official attempts to combat the disease.
More than 2,600 people have now died from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

It is the world's worst outbreak of Ebola, with officials warning that more than 20,000 people could ultimately be infected.

Neighbouring Sierra Leone has begun a controversial three-day curfew to try to stop the spread of the disease.

The team disappeared after being pelted with stones by residents when they arrived in the village of Wome - in southern Guinea, where the Ebola outbreak was first recorded. 

A journalist who managed to escape told reporters that she could hear villagers looking for them while she was hiding. 

A government delegation, led by the health minister, had been dispatched to the region but they were unable to reach the village by road because a main bridge had been blocked.
'Killed in cold blood'
On Thursday night, government spokesman Albert Damantang Camara said the victims had been "killed in cold blood by the villagers".

The bodies showed signs of being attacked with machetes and clubs, officials say.

Six people have been arrested and the village is now reportedly deserted.

The motive for the killings has not been confirmed, but the BBC's Makeme Bamba in Guinea's capital, Conakry, says many villagers accuse the health workers of spreading the disease.
Others still do not believe that the disease exists.

Last month, riots erupted in Nzerekore, 50 km (30 miles) from Wome, after rumours that medics who were disinfecting a market were contaminating people.

forced quarantines and lockdowns jeopardize trust

slate |  The Ebola crisis continues to ravage West Africa as the outbreak shows signs of accelerating. So far, more than 2,600 people have died from the worst outbreak of the virus in history. “The upward epidemic trend continues in the three countries that have widespread and intense transmission—Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone,” the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

Unable to find, contain, and treat those infected, increasingly desperate Sierra Leone came up with a dramatic solution: Shut down the entire country. The government ordered the country’s population of 6 million people to remain in their homes starting Thursday at midnight through the weekend. “During the lockdown … volunteers will try to identify sick people reluctant or unable to seek treatment,” the Associated Press reports. “Authorities have said they expect to discover hundreds of new cases during the shutdown. Many of those infected have not sought treatment out of fear that hospitals are merely places people go to die. Others have been turned away by centers overwhelmed with patients.”

The international aid group Doctors Without Borders says the nationwide lockdown is counterproductive. “Large-scale coercive measures like forced quarantines and lockdowns are driving people underground and jeopardizing the trust between people and health providers,” Doctors Without Borders said in a statement to ABC News. “This is leading to the concealment of cases and is pushing the sick away from health systems.”

Friday, September 19, 2014

humanzee essentials: what it do...,

*Abbot:* I’m neither irritated nor upset. I’m simply surprised and a little disappointed. Somewhere along the way, you have learned or were taught that a discussion must involve anger, ranting, suspicion, and dirty tricks. You treat dialogue and discussion like some kind of sword fight or some sort of violent contest, where directness and bluntness and the disparaging of the other person are weapons to be used to win something. Don’t you find cynicism tiresome? I was taught that dialogue and discussion is the coming together of people to gain understanding, insight, sympathy, and an education or experience of a new or different perspective. It’s not a sword fight or some other violent contest. There’s no need for strategies. And, the idea of winning something is a non sequitur. It comes from a place of genuine interest in the other person or group. And, the goal isn’t division but the forming of a better understanding and hopefully, a closer bond.

*Ethologist:* Hello Abbot. I enjoy reading your posts to the group. Thank you for your vocation. There are certain advantages for a Roman Catholic religious male to be celibate. You have just demonstrated one of them: a peacemaker among other reproductive-age males. Among reproductive age non-celibate males, interactions with other reproductive age males also have a component related to one's social status in a sex-specific, male dominance hierarchy.

When two non-celibate heterosexual males interact there are always two agendas: (1) an exchange of information and (2) a sizing up of the other male's social status. Once (2) is obtained and it the status differences between the two interacting males appear to be close enough to be challenged, the agenda for each male becomes increasing the relative social status of self above the social status of the other male with whom you are interacting.

This increasing one's relative social status is done in two ways: (a) displaying linguistic symbols of one's resources, including intellectual resources, or (b) saying things that attempt to lower the status of the male with whom you are interacting. You are commenting about (b). The reason why one's rank in a male social hierarchy is important for a heterosexual male is because higher rank gives a male preferential access to high value females both as marriage partners and as extra-pair-bonded opportunistic "matings." High value human females are sexually attracted to high social status males like ducks are attracted to water. They are wired that way.

One would think that after a certain age heterosexual males would stop acting this way. However, natural selection has wired us such that this propensity lasts as long as we breath. High status older males are still "attractive" from a reproductive perspective to reproductive age women. Henry Kissinger, the now 90 some year old former Secretary of State in the Nixon administration in the USA, once captured this phenomenon well several decades ago when he said "power is the ultimate aphrodisiac." When asked, he said that this statement referred to how women found him attractive when he was Secretary of State and appeared to be "running the world."

killing comes naturally to these humanzees because the females prefer high-status aggressive males as mates..,

npr |  Although he adheres to the chimps-as-natural-born-killers theory in the book Demonic Males — finds cause for optimism when it comes to the ability of humans to change their own violent tendencies.

In observing bonobos (the closely related but less-violent cousins of chimpanzees), Wrangham observed peaceful communities based on a power-sharing arrangement between males and females. Chimps, by contrast, live in patriarchal groups where dominant males run roughshod over compliant females.

The reason for the difference, he concludes, is sex selection. Female chimps select aggressive males as mates; female bonobos don't.

"The example of the bonobos reminds us that females and males can be equally important players in a society," Wrangham is quoted in Harvard Magazine as saying. "And by giving us a model in which female action works in suppressing the excesses of male aggression, the bonobos show us that in democracies like our own, women's voices should be heard more than they are."

bare essentials of the society for creative anachronism flourishing...,

NYTimes | A hotel ballroom in Ellicott City, Md., seemed an unlikely setting for a four-day competition involving ancient martial arts, Longpoint 2014.

“Fight!” the referee called out.

Axel Pettersson, 29, raised his sword above his head and waited. When his opponent drew near, the two exchanged a rapid set of blows. At last, Pettersson landed a vicious cut across the torso of his opponent’s body armor, winning the open steel longsword competition and adding another championship to his collection.

Longpoint, held in July, is one of several annual tournaments around the world, manifestations of renewed interest in what enthusiasts call historical European martial arts, or HEMA. It includes events like grappling — similar to Greco-Roman wrestling — and several types of swordfighting. But the focus is on the most iconic medieval weapon, forged from cold, lustrous steel: the longsword.

 “The longsword specifically is just very accessible,” said Pettersson, a management consultant from Gothenburg, Sweden, “because that is what the old masters wrote about the most. It was called the ‘queen of weapons’ in the old days.”

Unlike re-enactors or role players, who don theatrical costumes and medieval-style armor, Longpoint competitors treat swordfighting as an organized sport. Matches have complex rules and use a scoring system based on ancient dueling regulations. Fighters wear modern if sometimes improvised protective equipment, which looks like a hybrid of fencing gear and body armor. They use steel swords with unsharpened blades and blunt tips to prevent bouts from turning into death matches.

Skill and technique, rather than size and strength, decide the outcomes. Fights are fast and sometimes brutal: Essential to the art is landing a blow while preventing an opponent’s counterstroke. Nevertheless, even the best swordfighters earn large bruises in the ring, which they display with flinty pride.

Longpoint began in 2011 with 60 participants; now the largest HEMA event in North America, it drew about 200 this year. The open steel longsword division had 55 entrants, eight of them women.

CLANG dead...,

eurogamer |  Remember when Snow Crash author Neal Stephenson raised over $526K on Kickstarter to make a motion-controller-based sword-fighting game called Clang? And remember when that project was put on hold indefinitely after Stephenson's company, Subutai Corporation, ran out of money and couldn't find a publisher to fund it further? Well now the worst has come to pass: Clang is cancelled.

The reason is quite simple: that additional funding never came. "Members of the team made large personal contributions of time and money to the project before, during, and after the Kickstarter phase. Some members, when all is said and done, absorbed significant financial losses. I am one of them; that has been my way of taking responsibility for this," Stephenson said in a Kickstarter post entitled Final Update.

"The team had considerable incentives - emotional and financial - to see Clang move on to the next round of funding. They showed intense dedication and dogged focus that I think most of our backers would find moving if the whole story were told. I will forever be grateful to them. In the end, however, additional fundraising efforts failed and forced the team to cut their losses and disband in search of steady work."

Stephenson admitted that much of the fault laid with him, as he focused too much on the wrong things. "I probably focused too much on historical accuracy and not enough on making it sufficiently fun to attract additional investment," the renowned sci-fi author lamented.

He also said that the project kept changing shape as new ideas were introduced during development. "As all this was happening, new ideas and opportunities presented themselves. These reflect a lot of experience that was gained and connections to the industry that were made during that project," he said. "Although these ideas and opportunities may ultimately wind up in some of the same places we wanted to take Clang, they will do so in non-obvious ways, by starting from a clean sheet of paper in each case, building new teams, and pursuing projects that in some cases have no obvious connection to historical swordfighting.

"I have delayed talking publicly about these projects for a long time because I kept thinking that at least one of them would reach a point where I could describe it in something other than generalities. I apologize for that delay. But now a year has passed since the last update and I've decided that it's cleaner and simpler to cut the cord, and announce the termination of Clang."

socioeconomic status and structural brain development..,

frontiersin |  Recent advances in neuroimaging methods have made accessible new ways of disentangling the complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors that influence structural brain development. In recent years, research investigating associations between socioeconomic status (SES) and brain development have found significant links between SES and changes in brain structure, especially in areas related to memory, executive control, and emotion. This review focuses on studies examining links between structural brain development and SES disparities of the magnitude typically found in developing countries. We highlight how highly correlated measures of SES are differentially related to structural changes within the brain.

Human development does not occur within a vacuum. The environmental contexts and social connections a person experiences throughout his or her lifetime significantly impact the development of both cognitive and social skills. The incorporation of neuroscience into topics more commonly associated with the social sciences, such as culture or socioeconomic status (SES), has led to an increased understanding of the mechanisms that underlie development across the lifespan. However, more research is necessary to disentangle the complexities surrounding early environmental variation and neural development. This review highlights studies examining links between structural brain development and SES disparities of the magnitude typically found in developing countries. We do not include studies examining children who have experienced extreme forms of early adversity, such as institutionalization or severe abuse. We also limit this review to findings concerning socioeconomic disparities in brain structure, as opposed to brain function.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

good order in public schools ended when corporal punishment was replaced by armed uniformed security guards...,

NYTimes | While 70 percent of Americans approve of corporal punishment, black Americans have a distinct history with the subject. Beating children has been a depressingly familiar habit in black families since our arrival in the New World. As the black psychiatrists William H. Grier and Price M. Cobbs wrote in “Black Rage,” their 1968 examination of psychological black life: “Beating in child-rearing actually has its psychological roots in slavery and even yet black parents will feel that, just as they have suffered beatings as children, so it is right that their children be so treated.”

The lash of the plantation overseer fell heavily on children to whip them into fear of white authority. Terror in the field often gave way to parents beating black children in the shack, or at times in the presence of the slave owner in forced cooperation to break a rebellious child’s spirit. Black parents beat their children to keep them from misbehaving in the eyes of whites who had the power to send black youth to their deaths for the slightest offense. Today, many black parents fear that a loose tongue or flash of temper could get their child killed by a trigger-happy cop. They would rather beat their offspring than bury them.

If beating children began, paradoxically, as a violent preventive of even greater violence, it was enthusiastically embraced in black culture, especially when God was recruited. As an ordained Baptist minister with a doctorate in religion, I have heard all sorts of religious excuses for whippings.

NYTimes |  According to reports about the Adrian Peterson felony abuse indictment, Peterson’s 4-year-old son pushed another of Peterson’s sons off a video game. Peterson then retrieved a tree branch — called a “switch” — stripped off its leaves, shoved leaves into the boy’s mouth and beat him with his pants down until he bled.

According to a CBS affiliate in Houston, Peterson texted the boy’s mother that she would be “mad at me about his legs. I got kinda good wit the tail end of the switch.”

He also reportedly texted that he “felt bad after the fact when I notice the switch was wrapping around hitting I (sic) thigh” and “Got him in nuts once I noticed. But I felt so bad, n I’m all tearing that butt up when needed! I start putting them in timeout. N save the whooping for needed memories!”
But the boy reportedly said, “Daddy Peterson hit me on my face,” that his father “likes belts and switches,” that “there are a lot of belts in Daddy’s closet,” and that he “has a whooping room.”
Spanking is not against the law in America — although some argue that it should be, as it is in Sweden and some other countries — but, as with most things in life, there are degrees beyond which even something that is generally acceptable, or at least legal, crosses a threshold and becomes not so.

sistah girl say "whoop them bad chirrens", predictable Cathedral whinery ensues...., REDUX (originally posted 2/19/14)

kctv5 |  A Kansas lawmaker wants to give school teachers and caregivers more power to spank children.

Representative Gail Finney
Kansas House member Gail Finney, D-Wichita, said the bill is designed to restore parental rights. It would expand the current law, which allows spanking without leaving marks. If Finney's bill passes, it would allow up to 10 strikes of the hand and smacks hard enough to leave redness and bruising.

The proposal has its detractors, who say it is antiquated. 

"Twenty, 30 years ago, we didn't sit in car seats, and we do now. So maybe they did spank or were spanked as a child, but now we have research that shows it is less effective than time out. It tends to lead to more aggressive behavior with a child," pediatric nurse practitioner Amy Terreros said. She is a child abuse expert at Children's Mercy Hospital. 

McPherson Deputy County Attorney Britt Colle introduced the idea to Finney.

The proposed bill suggests lightening the spanking laws, allowing parents or anyone given permission by a parent to spank hard enough to leave redness or bruising.

"This bill basically defines a spanking along with necessary reasonable physical restraint that goes with discipline, all of which has always been legal," Colle said. "This bill clarifies what parents can and cannot do. By defining what is legal, it also defines what is not."

Colle said the bill makes it clear that hitting a child with fists, hitting a child in the head or body or hitting a child with a belt or switch is not legal discipline and may be considered battery or abuse.
Deidre Sexton said she would never spank her granddaughter. She enjoys being "Nana" with the
responsibilities of a guardian by day.

But Sexton said she has limits with how she disciplines her 2-year-old granddaughter, and she draws the line at spanking. "Even if the parent tells you. Even if my own children told me you can discipline the grandkids, I wouldn't do it. I would find other ways of doing it," Sexton said.

Kansas proponents of the bill say children are losing respect for authority and that parents need to be able to discipline without fear. But 30 other states disagree, and they've banned corporal punishment altogether.

The "Crazy" Rev. Wright - REDUX (originally posted 3/26/08)

I've been meaning to do a quick and dirty exegesis of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's most "controversial" sermonic utterances, i.e., those suggesting an organized effort to damage Black folks with drugs, disease, and incarceration. Thankfully one of my literary icons, the great Ishmael Reed, has written the response that I would've liked to write - and then some. It's lengthy and well worth reading in its entirety.
Martin Luther King. Jr. had a dream. Here's mine. What would happen if all of the whites holding forth in Op-eds and on cable about race- both in the progressive and corporate media- the middle persons who interpret black America for whites( when they are capable of speaking for themselves), the screenwriters and TV writers who make millions from presenting blacks as scum, and the authors of the fake ghetto books would just shut the fuck up for a few months and listen. Just listen. Listen to blacks, browns, reds and yellows, people whose views are ignored by the segregated media. Listen, not just to their meek colored mind doubles like an Obama critic, Rev. Rivers, who nobody's ever heard of, but people who will level with them.

In 1957, Doubleday released Richard Wright's White Man Listen. In it, he wrote "...the greatest aid that any white Westerner can give Africa is by becoming a missionary right in the heart of the Western world, explaining to his own people what they have done to Africa."

Nobody expects the media to educate the public about Africa. The current coverage is consistent with the images found in the Tarzan movies. It's not going to change. I'll settle for missionary work among the American public. Free them from entrapment by the corporate media, which are causing their brain cells to atrophy. Teach them the other points of views that are smothered by the noise, and trivialized on You Tube. Then maybe they'll understand where the crazy Rev. Wright is coming from.
Of course, this is NOT going to happen. Not even an Obama presidency would suffice to initiate the profound and encompassing evolutionary surge that would be required to adjust the collective American psyche enough to stop its insane self-talk long enough to listen to a different point of view.

The Gurdjieffian Appeal - REDUX (originally posted 12/26/07)

Gurdjieff was engaged in the practical study of hypnotism between 1900 and 1908. He worked at it in connection with curing people of alcoholism and opium addiction, and with various other influences that increase suggestibility and diminish the power of personal initiative. During those years, Gurdjieff was trying to see whether he could establish a practical means for helping people with this grave condition.

Suggestibility is one of the central causes of contemporary malaise. It is a derivative weakness that is more serious than most people nowadays are prepared to admit. We are all familiar with the concept of political and advertising propaganda, but erroneously believe ourselves personally and individually immune from the same. The overwhelming majority of people have no idea about the history and practical exploitation of suggestibility as a primary instrumentality of governance.

Contemporary with the rise of the exploitation of suggestibility as a governance methodology, i.e., he saw and responded to the problem while it was yet in its infancy - Gurdjieff undertook to discover the means by which people could be delivered from this psychic weakness. Gurdjieff was decades ahead of his time - concerned as he was with something critically important to us all - long before anyone else gained a retrospective understanding of what was being done, by whom it was being done, and how it was being done. In addition to taking on the symptom of suggestibility, and its exploitation by elites as a primary governance methodology, Gurdjieff also endeavored to provide a means by which individuals could train and condition their psychic machinery to realize its full possible range of functioning.

Behind the general condition of suggestibility lurks a generalized and woeful ignorance of human nature. This is one of the most awkward aspects of our general situation. People believe that they know themselves, know their own internal nature, but nothing could be further from the truth. Where precisely does one come upon a deep and sound education concerning the nature of his/her psychic apparatus? Home and family? School? Church? Place of employment? The fact of the matter is that it simply never happens. Education in the methods of self-knowledge are infinitely more fragmentary and sporadic than simple sex education. We're neither provided with a user manual for basic operation of our organism, and, the institutions which shape and control our lives' attention don't trouble themselves to provide such a manual.

Why should they?

Knowing so much about the external nature of the world and of ourselves, and knowing so very little about our own internal nature makes us very easy and very cost effective to govern. As long as people can be made to work very effectively on the outside, while kept weak, ignorant, and ineffectual on the inside, we are as lambs under the care of wolves.

The basic illusion by which we are kept docile and governable is rooted in the nature of consciousness cultivated and permitted within our embedding culture. What we ordinarily call consciousness is only a reflection of true consciousness. True consciousness is the reverse of what men ordinarily call consciousness. To the extent that we learn this fact, and go beyond knowledge to practice, and effect a reversal of the ordinary waking state, i.e., make what is in our subconsciousness the agent and center of what we call our consciousness

super-rich losing the war against nature

telegraph |  In a desperate bid to save their manicured lawns and towering topiary, some of Montecito's multi-millionaires have since been trying to out-spend nature by buying water in from outside. 

Each morning at the crack of dawn, trucks laden with precious H₂O trundle down lanes towards parched estates.

The buyers are paying up to $80 (£49) a unit – a unit is 748 gallons – for water that normally costs a maximum of $6.86 (£4.23) a unit from the water district. 

The trucks are now a common sight in Montecito, passing by Sotheby's International Realty and an haute couture clothes store. But the origin of the water is something of a mystery. 

"I see the trucks every day. They're like big gas trucks with a water sign on," said Tori Delgado, who works in the Montecito wine and cheese shop. "But nobody knows where they're getting it from."
The water is likely being sold by private individuals elsewhere in California who have wells on their properties. 

But wherever it comes from the buyers appear to be staving off the inevitable only temporarily, and many millionaires are turning to conservation instead. Miss Winfrey is prominent among them.
"Two months ago she just said, 'Turn off the water', and now there's not a green blade of grass on that lawn," a resident who has seen her parched garden told the Telegraph. 

At Miss Winfrey's second and larger Montecito estate – an $85 million affair called Promised Land – the grass is still green but the water bill has also fallen dramatically. 

The Montecito Water District has so far banned the watering of gardens in the middle of the day, filling swimming pools at any time, and the building of new homes. 

Meanwhile scores of angry residents have lodged appeals for more water. One asked for a supply to save 300 specimen trees – but was told the trees would have to die. 

Tom Mosby, general manager of Montecito Water District, said: "People come to us and say 'We want to build a swimming pool' and we say 'No'. If it doesn't rain next year the state's going to go dry. We are talking about a disaster movie in the making."