Tag Archives | Psychology

the nAiL

There’s a nail in the wall.
Well, no. Actually, it’s in a beam.
Across the alley on my neighbor’s roof.

I always liked that nail.
Sticks out about three inches.
It’s just so straight. So carefully hammered. With Love.

Sometimes, you can see its shadow on the beam, as the sun creeps across the sky over our roofs.
A jealous sundial.

Except, it’s not jealous.
It’s a nail.

www.AlexSacK.com

Check out Alex’s book San Francisco TAXI: A 1st Week in the ZEN Life…
And Follow me on Facebook and Twitter for your non-practicing Buddhist one-offs. 

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First They Ignore You: The APA and Torture

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. — Mahatma Gandhi

Ten years ago this month, the American Psychological Association (APA) announced to its members that it supported psychologists assisting detainee interrogations in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and CIA black sites. APA officials asserted — against all evidence — that “operational” psychologists helped keep the interrogations “safe, ethical and effective.” Rank and file psychologists criticized the policy as providing legal cover for the Bush administration and began to organize petitions and withhold their APA dues in protest. Hundreds have spent years researching and writing papers, holding conferences, and fighting for legislation to reverse the policy. Thousands of members formally voted against it to no avail as the referendum was buried in an “implementation” committee.

Most critics were ignored by APA officials, while particularly effective dissidents were dismissed with snide comments about their mental health.… Read the rest

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The Future of Work: We Have Been Here Before

Nana B Agyei (CC BY 2.0)

Nana B Agyei (CC BY 2.0)

Paul Saffo via Pacific Standard:

The latest entry in a special project in which business and labor leaders, social scientists, technology visionaries, activists, and journalists weigh in on the most consequential changes in the workplace.

This is not the first time society has fretted over the impact of ever-smarter machines on jobs and work—and not the first time we have overreacted. In the Depression-beset 1930s, labor Jeremiahs warned that robots would decimate American factory jobs. Three decades later, mid-1960s prognosticators offered a hopeful silver lining to an otherwise apocalyptic assessment of automation’s dark cloud: the displacement of work and workers would usher in a new “leisure society.”

Reality stubbornly ignored 1930s and 1960s expectations. The robots of extravagant imagination never arrived. There was ample job turbulence but as Keynes forecast in 1930, machines created more jobs than they destroyed. Boosted by a World War, unemployment dropped from a high of 25 percent in 1933 to under two percent in 1944.

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Trust Me: Research Sheds Light on Why People Trust

Adrian Ruiz (CC BY 2.0)

Adrian Ruiz (CC BY 2.0)

Dartmouth College Via ScienceDaily:

Trust matters whether it’s love, money or another part of our everyday lives that requires risk, and a new study by a Dartmouth brain researcher and his collaborators sheds light on what motivates people to make that leap of faith.

The findings appear in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Collaboration is essential to human life, fostering interpersonal relationships that are intrinsically rewarding, fulfill a basic social need to belong and promote positive physical and mental health. One critical aspect of collaboration is trust, or assuming mutual risk with a partner.

In the new study, participants thought they were playing an economic investment game with a close friend, a stranger or a slot machine. In reality, they were playing with a simple algorithm that reciprocated trust 50 percent of the time. The researchers developed a computational model that predicted each player’s decision for each round given their previous experiences in the game.

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Poverty’s Most Insidious Damage Is to a Child’s Brain

Low-income children have irregular brain development and lower standardized test scores, with as much as an estimated 20 percent gap in achievement explained by developmental lags in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.  Brian Chua (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Low-income children have irregular brain development and lower standardized test scores, with as much as an estimated 20 percent gap in achievement explained by developmental lags in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.
Brian Chua (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Washington University in St. Louis Via ScienceDaily:

An alarming 22 percent of U.S. children live in poverty, which can have long-lasting negative consequences on brain development, emotional health and academic achievement. A new study, published July 20 in JAMA Pediatrics, provides even more compelling evidence that growing up in poverty has detrimental effects on the brain.

In an accompanying editorial, child psychiatrist Joan L. Luby, MD, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, writes that “early childhood interventions to support a nurturing environment for these children must now become our top public health priority for the good of all.”

In her own research in young children living in poverty, Luby and her colleagues have identified changes in the brain’s architecture that can lead to lifelong problems with depression, learning difficulties and limitations in the ability to cope with stress.

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TAXI Driver 2: San Francisco (VIDEO)

We take a break from our regularly-scheduled ride to bring you Taxi Driver 2: San Francisco
With cool narration and music by Alex SacK…

* Visit Paris
* See Christian
* Don’t get shot in bed

Sit back, relax & enjoy the ride!

I know a shortcut…

Tuesday

3:45am:
“I know that I know, and that I don’t know.”

My Ram Dass alarm-tone wakes me early. I’m on the schedule today, but with no assigned medallion. So, I call-in to Citizen’s to let ‘em know to hold a cab.

But Barn-the-Stoner’s working the office and my alarm-tone has proven all too apt.  At the lot, Barney looks at me and bloodshot-eyes go wide as he turns to stare blankly at the peg-board of keys and medallions, then drawls,

“Uhh. Shit… I for-got yu were co-ming.”

 

4:25am:
I’m out in the lot sterilizing an Escape spare Barn dug up when I get a dispatch to the bowels of the Mission.… Read the rest

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What the nose knows

cranberries (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

cranberries (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Losing your sense of smell takes away more than scents and flavours – it can fundamentally change the way you relate to other people, writes Emma Young.

Nick Johnson skims the lunch menu at the White Dog Cafe, a warren of little rooms and ante-rooms in Philadelphia’s university district. “Beef empanadas… I would have loved those. But all that braised beef would just get lost on me. Fish and chips I avoid: all fried foods taste the same. I’m looking at the fish tacos. I know I’ll get the spicy heat and a little bit of pineapple flavour, and with the peppers and the guacamole, there’ll be some mouthfeel there.”

He orders the tacos, and we get a beer that’s on tap. It’s called Nugget Nectar, and it’s produced by the local craft brewery that Nick’s worked at for the past ten years. Nugget Nectar used to be his favourite beer.… Read the rest

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Graffiti, Gags, and Gallows Humor in the era of Perpetual War

In the era of perpetual war, it is a must to have a working funny bone. If not, surely you will be driven mad with boredom and fear.

“The ego refuses to be distressed by the provocations of reality, to let itself be compelled to suffer. It insists that it cannot be affected by the traumas of the external world; it shows, in fact, that such traumas are no more than occasions for it to gain pleasure.” — Sigmund Freud

Bleak yet hilarious.

Bleak yet hilarious.

The military blog, We Are the Mighty explains it thusly:

It’s not unusual for troops to have a nonchalant or comical attitude about the worst of humanity. Sometimes comedy is all they have to make it through hardships that are unimaginable to most, and those who have deployed to remote locations and hot zones know this all too well.

It’s a mechanism to keep their sanity in the midst of snipers, ambushes, and IEDs, according to an article in Esquire.

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Clavis Artis — Over A Skin Of Dragon

ClavisArtis.MS.Verginelli-Rota.V3.118

Clavis Artis is the title of an alchemy manuscript created in Germany in the late seventeenth or early eighteenth century, attributed to the Persian Zoroaster (Zarathustra). The work is in three volumes of medium format, two of which are illustrated here. The text is in German Gothic script cursive and is accompanied by numerous illustrations in watercolor depicting alchemical images. There are also some pen drawings depicting laboratory instruments.

There are 3 copies of the manuscript, of which only two are illustrated. The most well-known is the Biblioteca dell’Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in Rome. Another copy is kept in Trieste at the Public Library Attilio Hortis. A different version, in a single volume and without illustrations, is located at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, of Monaco of Bavaria.

A copy of the manuscript was also present at the Duchess Anna Amalia Bibliothek, of Weimar, but was destroyed in the 2004 fire that hit the German library.… Read the rest

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What psychology says about how you should respond to racist behaviour

Goodes did the right thing when he confronted a 13-year-old girl who called him an ape at a 2013 AFL game in Melbourne. Twitter/Channel 7

Goodes did the right thing when he confronted a 13-year-old girl who called him an ape at a 2013 AFL game in Melbourne. Twitter/Channel 7

The recent controversy around certain football fans incessantly booing Adam Goodes has sparked collective soul-searching as we struggle to distinguish the line between racism and benign on-field antics. Regardless of what we might call it, there are things that you can do when you witness behaviour such as this.

Goodes being booed while playing football is a very public case of “everyday racism”. Everyday racism is more normalised and less recognised than other more blatant forms of racism, such as calling Goodes an “ape” as a 13-year-old girl did during a 2013 game in Melbourne.

Any one of us can do something about such instances, but before we go on, here are some provisos. We’re not saying that everybody who booed Goodes was racist.… Read the rest

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