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Judi Lynn

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 106,272

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Hallucinatory ‘voices’ shaped by local culture

Hallucinatory ‘voices’ shaped by local culture

Jul 25, 2016 | Brain & Behavior

People suffering from schizophrenia may hear “voices” – auditory hallucinations – differently depending on their cultural context, according to new Stanford research.

In the United States, the voices are harsher, and in Africa and India, more benign, said Tanya Luhrmann, a Stanford professor of anthropology and first author of the article in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

The experience of hearing voices is complex and varies from person to person, according to Luhrmann. The new research suggests that the voice-hearing experiences are influenced by one’s particular social and cultural environment – and this may have consequences for treatment.

In an interview, Luhrmann said that American clinicians “sometimes treat the voices heard by people with psychosis as if they are the uninteresting neurological byproducts of disease which should be ignored. Our work found that people with serious psychotic disorder in different cultures have different voice-hearing experiences. That suggests that the way people pay attention to their voices alters what they hear their voices say. That may have clinical implications.”


Katara photography exhibition captures Peruvian grandeur

Katara photography exhibition captures Peruvian grandeur

July 20, 2016 - 4:58:18 pm

The Ambassador of Peru to Qatar, Julio Florian, with Deputy General Manager of Katara Cultural Village, Ahmed Al Sayed, touring the ‘Qhapac Nan-Peru Photography Exhition at Katara yesterday. (Photo: Salim Matramkot)

By Raynald C Rivera

DOHA: Thirty-three photos of stunning Peruvian landscape taken along the 30,000km Qhapaq رan road network in the Andes mountains are featured in a photography exhibition which opened in Katara yesterday marking the second year anniversary of Qhapaq رan’s inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage Site List.

“This exhibition is about road network our ancestors-the Incas-built more than 500 years ago, which was the backbone of the Inca Empire. What is outstanding about it is that it was built between 5,000 to 6,000 meters above sea level in the highest peak of the Andes covering six South American countries namely Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile,”Peru’s Ambassador to Qatar Julio Florian told The Peninsula.

The road system was the outcome of a political project carried out by the Incas to link towns and centers of production and worship together under an economic, social and cultural programme.

“Every 30km to 50km in the road, they built places where they could worship, store their products, sleep and exchange views. It covers more than 30,000km and is actually in use,” explained Ambassador Florian.


Mexico finds water tunnels under Mayan tomb in Palenque

Source: Associated Press

Mexico finds water tunnels under Mayan tomb in Palenque

Mark Stevenson, The Associated Press
Published Monday, July 25, 2016 5:09PM EDT

MEXICO CITY -- Archaeologists at the Mayan ruin site of Palenque said Monday they have discovered an underground water tunnel built under the Temple of Inscriptions, which houses the tomb of an ancient ruler named Pakal.

Archaeologist Arnoldo Gonzalez says researchers believe the tomb and pyramid were purposely built atop a spring between 683 and 702 AD. The tunnels led water from under the funeral chamber out into the broad esplanade in front of the temple, thus giving Pakal's spirit a path to the underworld.

Attention has focused on the heavily carved stone sarcophagus in which Pakal was buried, and which some erroneously believe depict the Maya ruler seated at the controls of a spaceship.

But Gonzalez said Monday that carvings on a pair of stone ear plugs found in the grave say a god "will guide the dead toward the underworld, by submerging (them) into the water so they will be received there."

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/sci-tech/mexico-finds-water-tunnels-under-mayan-tomb-in-palenque-1.3001693

New artificial reef is sunk off Florida's Pompano Beach

New artificial reef is sunk off Florida's Pompano Beach

Nicole Ashley, Associated Press

Updated 7:50 pm, Saturday, July 23, 2016

POMPANO BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Cheering and whistle blowing filled the coast of Pompano Beach on Saturday as approximately 300 boats watched Lady Luck sink on Saturday afternoon.

"I think it went down just the way that we wanted," said Dennis MacDonald, the artist of the underwater casino. "It was incredibly beautiful."

The underwater attraction sank about two hours later than expected. South Florida Divers sent a team of 12 divers into the water immediately after the sinking to verify the former tanker's location.

Tom DiGiorgio, the chairman of the Economic Development Council of Pompano Beach, said that the divers plan to signal Broward County officials and coast guards that will allow more than 250 divers to go down and see Lady Luck.


Brazilian Prosecutor Finds No Crime Committed by Dilma: Will the Law Count for Anything in Brazil?

Shared by a greatly admired DU poster:

Brazilian Prosecutor Finds No Crime Committed by Dilma: Will the Law Count for Anything in Brazil?
Written by Mark Weisbrot Published: 19 July 2016

An immense effort was made to remove Bill Clinton from the presidency in the late 1990s, culminating in the first impeachment trial of a US president in 131 years. Intimate details of his affair with Monica Lewinsky, about which Clinton was accused of lying under oath, were probed and published by the far-right prosecutor Ken Starr. This let loose a flood of jokes and salacious fodder for the tabloids. At one point it seemed as if the question of perjury might hinge on what constitutes “sexual relations”; whereupon the editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association decided to publish an article based on survey data showing that 59 percent of college students did not consider oral sex as having “had sex.” He was promptly fired, after 17 years at the helm of the prestigious medical journal — although some maintained that his overseers were taking advantage of the political situation to get rid of someone who had also published articles favoring universal, single payer health care and other things not dear to the hearts of the AMA.

The current attempt to remove President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil bears many resemblances to the Clinton impeachment episode. It is led by a group of politicians who seek to overturn the results of national elections and steer the nation in a different, right-wing direction; and the elected president has not committed an impeachable offense. Missing, of course, is the sex scandal — and the charges are so unsexy that most people don’t even know what the president is being impeached for, and it’s not that easy to figure it out.

Most importantly, a crime is missing; even Bill Clinton’s enemies could at least come up with the alleged crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice. But Dilma Rousseff’s impeachers have no such criminal violation to even allege. This was the conclusion last week of the federal prosecutor, Ivan Claudio Marx, who was assigned to investigate the offenses for which Dilma is about to stand trial in Brazil’s Senate. He determined that Dilma did not break the law in her handling of the public budget. The impeachment centers around her decision to delay payments to the state banks, which allowed the government to maintain the appearance of staying within a targeted fiscal balance in its accounts. Marx determined that this was not a crime, because it was not a “credit transaction” that would require congressional approval.

In a society where the rule of law is in effect, that would spell the end of the effort to remove the elected president. But press reports — inasmuch as they even bothered to report on the prosecutor’s conclusion — seem to indicate that pro-impeachment forces are acting as though the law, and the prosecutor’s statement, are irrelevant. They are pressing full steam ahead for the Senate to reverse the results of the October 2014 presidential elections. And as we now know from leaked transcripts of phone conversations, some of the leaders are doing it to prevent further investigation of their own alleged corruption.


Power and the Bomb: Conducting International Relations with the Threat of Mass

July 22, 2016
Power and the Bomb: Conducting International Relations with the Threat of Mass Murder

by Colin Todhunter

“Some fell to the ground and their stomachs already expanded full, burst and organs fell out. Others had skin falling off them and others still were carrying limbs. And one in particular was carrying their eyeballs in their hand.”

The above is an account by a Hiroshima survivor talking about the fate of her schoolmates. It was recently read out in the British parliament by Scottish National Party MP Chris Law during a debate about Britain’s nuclear arsenal.

In response to a question from another Scottish National Party MP, George Kereven, British PM Theresa May said without hesitation that, if necessary, she would authorise the use of a nuclear weapon that would kill hundreds of thousands of innocent men, women and children. Previous PMs have been unwilling to give a direct answer to such a question.

But let’s be clear: a single modern nuclear weapon would most likely end up killing many millions, whether immediately or slowly, and is designed to be much more devastating than those dropped by the US on Japan.


Confidence and the Degradation of Brazil

July 22, 2016
Confidence and the Degradation of Brazil

by Mark Weisbrot

For the first time in more than two decades, since the dictatorship, Brazil has a government that is widely seen as illegitimate. It is seen this way, not only by its citizens, but in much of the world. Its image is sullied, deteriorating by the week, with mounting scandals engulfing the highest levels of government. In June, the third minister of the interim government resigned amid charges of corruption. Inconveniently, it was the minister of tourism, as the country faced calls by international public health experts for moving the Olympics due to the Zika virus.

And then there is the interim president, Michel Temer (the vice president who is serving during President Dilma Rousseff‘s impeachment trial), who had the “unifying” political acumen to appoint a cabinet of all rich white men (in a country where half the population identifies as Afro-Brazilian or mixed race). Fifteen out of 23 of these officials are reportedly under investigation. Last month, he was himself directly implicated in a corruption scandal. He had previously been barred from running for office for eight years because of violations of campaign financing laws. These are the people who are trying to depose the elected president, not for corruption, but for an accounting mechanism that previous governments also used.It’s true that all major political parties have been implicated in corruption. But President Rousseff, for the first time in Brazil’s history, gave prosecutors that authority to go after corrupt officials, letting the chips fall where they may. It has now become clear that her opposition’s main purpose in impeaching her is to impede the investigations and prosecutions of themselves and their allies.

Brazil now also has the ugly distinction of being the country with the most killings of environmental activists. It is unlikely that the new right-wing cabinet, tightly tied to agribusiness interests, will do much to prevent these murders.

Ironically, this government’s announced purpose was to restore “confidence,” primarily to investors and especially those of the international variety. But the opposite has happened: The recession is deepening, the government is much more enmeshed in scandal, and its international reputation is falling off a cliff. The New York Times editorial board, no fan of any Latin American left government, has written two editorials recently, titled “Brazil’s Gold Medal for Corruption” and “Making Brazil’s Political Crisis Worse.”


Wildlife Dying En Masse as South American River Runs Dry

Wildlife Dying En Masse as South American River Runs Dry

The Pilcomayo River in Paraguay is littered with dead caiman and fish carcasses as the government scrambles to find a solution.

Aaron Sidder

PUBLISHED July 22, 2016

Vultures rest in the tree’s upper branches, their black bodies in stark contrast to the blanched wood beneath their feet. Below them, caimans and capybaras crawl in sucking mud through the Agropil lagoon, seeking water that is unlikely to arrive for many months. The river has dried up, and there is nowhere for them to go.

The lagoon, located in the western Paraguayan province of Boquerón, is just one of many stretches of the Pilcomayo River suffering an extensive die-off of caiman, fish, and other river creatures. There have not been any official estimates from the Ministry of the Environment, but Roque González Vera, a journalist for ABC Color in Paraguay, reports utter devastation in some places: Up to 98 percent of caimans (Caiman yacare) are suspected dead, and 80 percent of the capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) population has died.

Paraguay is in the midst of an ecological crisis.

The crisis stems from a combination of drought and mismanagement that has left the Pilcomayo River dry for nearly 435 miles (700 kilometers), according to Vera. On June 24, Paraguay declared an environmental emergency, but little has been done, or can be done, to provide relief for the imperiled animals until the wet season returns. The dry season typically lasts through October, and the annual recharge does not generally occur until January.


Brazil's Dual Legacy of Slavery and the Monarchy

Brazil's Dual Legacy of Slavery and the Monarchy

Norman Berdichevsky 17 July 2016

What do most Americans know of Brazil? Hardly more than the samba, the homeland of rich strong coffee, the bossa nova, soccer great Pelé and the recent turmoil of the 2014 World Cup when favorite Brazil was defeated in an embarrassing final match 7-1 against Germany, the dangers of the Zika virus, the recent scandal of an impeached president and worries over the stability of the country and its ability to stage the 2016 Olympic Games.

Perhaps a very few older American military veterans may recall gaudy singer actress Carmen Miranda and that Brazil was the only Latin American nation to actually send combat troops to Europe to participate in World War II.

There is also the still popular notion among many Americans that Brazil has been the most successful multi-racial society with none of the problems associated with the heritage of slavery as the United States is. The truth however, lies far from this popular misconception.

As an instructor in English at a language school in Orlando, home to one of the largest Brazilian communities in the United States (signs in Portuguese abound at the airport, Disney Parks and all major shopping centers), I can testify to the profound frustration of most Brazilians over how little most Americans know regarding the history, geography, and social conditions of Latin America's largest nation (205 million, twice as many as Mexico), and historically, our strongest ally.


War Crimes Central: the Ramstein Air Base

War Crimes Central: the Ramstein Air Base
July 15, 2016
by Norman Solomon

The overseas hub for America’s “war on terror” is the massive Ramstein Air Base in southwest Germany. Nearly ignored by US media, Ramstein serves crucial functions for drone warfare and much more. It’s the most important Air Force base abroad, operating as a kind of grand central station for airborne war—whether relaying video images of drone targets in Afghanistan to remote pilots with trigger fingers in Nevada, or airlifting special-ops units on missions to Africa, or transporting munitions for airstrikes in Syria and Iraq. Soaking up billions of taxpayer dollars, Ramstein has scarcely lacked for anything from the home country, other than scrutiny.

Known as “Little America” in this mainly rural corner of Germany, the area now includes 57,000 US citizens clustered around Ramstein and a dozen smaller bases. The Defense Department calls it “the largest American community outside of the United States.” Ramstein serves as the biggest Air Force cargo port beyond US borders, providing “full spectrum airfield operations” along with “world-class airlift and expeditionary combat support.” The base also touts “superior” services and “exceptional quality of life.” To look at Ramstein and environs is to peer into a faraway mirror for the United States; what’s inside the frame is normality for endless war.

Ramstein’s gigantic Exchange store (largest in the US military) is the centerpiece for an oversize shopping mall, just like back home. A greeting from the Holy Family Catholic Community at Ramstein tells newcomers: “We know that being in the military means having to endure frequent moves to different assignments. This is part of the price we pay by serving our country.” Five American colleges have campuses on the base. Ellenmarie Zwank Brown, who identifies herself as “an Air Force wife and a physician,” is reassuring in a cheerful guidebook that she wrote for new arrivals: “If you are scared of giving up your American traditions, don’t worry! The military goes out of its way to give military members an American way of life while living in Germany.”

That way of life is contoured around nonstop war. Ramstein is the headquarters for the US Air Force in Europe, and the base is now pivotal for using air power on other continents. “We touch a good chunk of the world right from Ramstein,” a public-affairs officer, Maj. Tony Wickman, told me during a recent tour of the base. “We think of it as a power-projection platform.” The scope of that projection is vast, with “areas of responsibility” that include Europe, Russia, and Africa—104 countries in all. And Ramstein is well-staffed to meet the challenge, with over 7,500 “active duty Airmen”—more than any other US military base in the world except the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

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