Author Archive | Good German

Brain’s ‘Gender’ May Be Quite Flexible: Mechanism That Plays Key Role in Sexual Differentiation of Brain Described

Cory Doctorow (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Cory Doctorow (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Via ScienceDaily:

During prenatal development, the brains of most animals, including humans, develop specifically male or female characteristics. In most species, some portions of male and female brains are a different size, and often have a different number of neurons and synapses. However, scientists have known little about how this differentiation occurs. Now, a new study by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) has illuminated details about this process.

Margaret McCarthy, PhD, professor and chairman of the Department of Pharmacology, studied brain development in newborn rats. She found that giving estradiol, a testosterone derivative, triggers a mechanism by which certain genes in the brain are “unsilenced,” allowing them to initiate the process of masculinization. This process involves a group of enzymes known as DNA methyltransferases, or Dnmts, which modify DNA to repress gene expression.

The paper was published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience.

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Treating Child Refugees as National Security Threats

Takver (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Takver (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Laura Carlsen writes at CounterPunch:

Mexico City.

When the crisis of unaccompanied minors migrating to the United States burst onto the front pages last summer, it seemed at last the U.S. government would come to grips with its legacy of disaster amid the current havoc in Central America.

The United Nations documented that most of the children were fleeing violence — violence caused in part by the failure to restore constitutional order following the Honduran coup of 2009 and the unfinished peace processes after the dirty wars in El Salvador and Guatemala, where Washington propped up right-wing dictatorships for years.

The governments of those three countries — known as the Northern Triangle — certainly share some of the blame for the mass exodus, which is not as new or unprecedented as the press made out when it sounded the alarm.

But in the end, the problem isn’t one of assigning blame, but rather helping children in conditions of extreme vulnerability, right?

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Hawks Fume as World Celebrates ‘Victory for Diplomacy over War’

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

Though a final deal won’t be sealed until later this year, the framework agreement announced in Lausanne, Switzerland on Thursday between Iran and the P5+1 nations is having reverberations across the world—offering hope of rapprochement, peace, and better days ahead for those who support it and heckles and frowns from those who appear to think that a continued stalemate and endless sanctions, or possibly war, are the better path.

As Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council, writes in an op-ed at The National Interest on Friday morning: “Peace won. War lost. It’s as simple as that.”

“Make no mistake,” Parsie continued, “the framework agreement that was announced yesterday is nothing short of historic. A cycle of escalation has been broken – for the first time, Iran’s nuclear program will roll back, as will the sanctions Iran has been subjected too.”

As regular Iranians were reportedly celebrating in the streets and in their homes and President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the foreign ministers of the other nations were receiving widespread praise for the diplomatic accomplishment, hawkish forces were quickly—and unsurprisingly—making public their objections to the deal.

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Guilty of Being Poor: When a Community Issues Arrest Warrants for More Offenses than It Has Residents, Something’s Deeply Wrong

ann harkness (CC BY 2.0)

ann harkness (CC BY 2.0)

Karen Dolan writes at OtherWords:

Here’s something you might not know about Ferguson, Missouri: In this city of 21,000 people, 16,000 have outstanding arrest warrants. In fact, in 2013 alone, authorities issued 9,000 warrants for over 32,000 offenses.

That’s one-and-a-half offenses for every resident of Ferguson in just one year.

Most of the warrants are for minor offenses such as traffic or parking violations. And they’re part of a structural pattern of abuse, according to a recent Department of Justice investigation.

The damning report found that the city prioritized aggressive revenue collection over public safety. It documented unconstitutional policing, violations of due process, and racial bias against the majority black population.

One woman’s story illustrates what’s happening to more and more people as municipal revenues become the focus of police departments all over the country.

It began with a parking ticket back in 2007, which saddled a low-income black woman with a $151 fine and extra fees.

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Internalized Oppression and its Impact on Social Change

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Allison Jones writes:

I just finished reading Grassroots and Nonprofit Leadership: A Guide for Organizations in Changing Times. This is the best book I have read on activism and leadership and is now a staple in my social change library. The book is full of tangible leadership techniques and pushes activist to consider how their leadership and the structure of their organizations hinders or furthers their cause. You can download the book for free.

One major challenge to effective leadership that they highlight is low morale brought about by internalized oppression. Internalized oppression (also called “self-hate”) is when a member of an oppressed group believes and acts out the stereotypes created about their group. This extends beyond race, gender, and class internalized oppression to how we see ourselves as activist (waiting to get a “real job” for example).  The authors outline four ways that internalized oppression negatively affects the function of a group (p.

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Am I A Psy-Op & Don’t Even Know It?

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JC Collins writes at philosophyofmetrics:

Since starting this site on New Years Eve, 2013, a mere 14 1/2 months ago, I’ve received some strange and bizarre messages in the comments section.  As I have chosen to moderate the comments, there are many that do not make it to the screen.  There are many reasons for this.

Some are racists, while others are outright criminal.  Occasionally messages from space aliens and planet gods from other dimensions make their way into the pending post section.  Sometimes it’s simply the same old tired rant against Jews.  Considering my wife is half Jewish (the other half is Egyptian, which made for confusing Passover celebrations when she was growing up), I could never take such comments seriously.

Other times people will send me links or copies of something written elsewhere.  Most of these things are derogatory comments about me or the site.  My three sons, who are all young men now, often stumble across things on the internet about me, things like I’m an Illuminati shill, and part of the Collins Illuminati family.  Jeez, I wish.  They call or text me while laughing their heads off at the ridiculousness of it all.

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Astounded by the Lack of Compassion for Men in Prison: Inside the Conversation at The Good Men Project

jmiller291 (CC BY 2.0)

jmiller291 (CC BY 2.0)

Via the Good Men Project:

Lisa Hickey: I’ve been thinking a lot about prison lately. It’s not something that, as a women, I am used to thinking about a lot, and the number of conversations I’ve had about the topic in my lifetime are far and few between. Perhaps men don’t think or talk about it much either, but we’ve been discussing it a lot on the The Good Men Project lately and I’d like to share with you the complexity of the issues and the insights I’ve seen unfolding.

One thing we’ve discussed recently in an article is the difference in sentencing between men and women for similar crimes. I think the sentencing disparity is part of a cultural narrative that goes like this: Men are assumed to be guilty more often, and they are also assumed to cause more harm when they do commit crimes.

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This Is Absolutely Terrifying: “There Are Really Only Two Big Patches of Intact Forest Left on Earth”

Alias 0591 (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Alias 0591 (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Lindsay Abrams writes at Salon:

Can a forest that exists only in the spaces between roads and patches cleared for human settlement and agricultural development truly be called a forest?

Not so much, say researchers studying the growing, global problem of forest fragmentation. And the “persistent, deleterious and often unpredicted” consequences of human activity, finds a new study conducted by a team off 24 international scientists, and funded by the National Science Foundation, may be ruinous for plant and animal life.

“There are really only two big patches of intact forest left on Earth — the Amazon and the Congo — and they shine out like eyes from the center of the map,” lead author Nick Haddad, a professor at North Carolina State University, told the New Yorker.

“Nearly 20 percent of the world’s remaining forests are the distance of a football field — or about 100 meters — away from forest edges,” he elaborated in a statement.

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How to Discipline Your Children without Rewards or Punishment

Discipline is necessary for children, but we need to teach them to self-discipline, not bribe them to be good. Emiliano, CC BY-SA

Discipline is necessary for children, but we need to teach them to self-discipline, not bribe them to be good. Emiliano, CC BY-SA

Might parenting be one of the reasons so many people grow up to be obedient worker/consumer/sheeple?  Rebecca English writes at the Conversation.

Rebecca English, Queensland University of Technology

Many parents are moving towards “gentle parenting”, where they choose not to use rewards (sticker charts, lollies, chocolates, TV time as “bribes”) and punishments (taking away “privileges”, time-out, smacking) to encourage good behaviour, but encourage good behaviour for the sake of doing the right thing.

Gentle parents argue that to offer rewards and punishments overrides a child’s natural inclination towards appropriate behaviour by teaching them to behave in certain ways purely to receive a reward, or to avoid punishment.

What is discipline?

For most people it would seem impossible to discipline without rewards and punishments. However, it depends on your understanding of “discipline”.

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