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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 01:08 PM
Number of posts: 45,720

About Me

Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Sunday's Doonesbury- Where to Cut?

Successful and Schizophrenic

Published: January 25, 2013

THIRTY years ago, I was given a diagnosis of schizophrenia. My prognosis was “grave”: I would never live independently, hold a job, find a loving partner, get married. My home would be a board-and-care facility, my days spent watching TV in a day room with other people debilitated by mental illness. I would work at menial jobs when my symptoms were quiet. Following my last psychiatric hospitalization at the age of 28, I was encouraged by a doctor to work as a cashier making change. If I could handle that, I was told, we would reassess my ability to hold a more demanding position, perhaps even something full-time.

Then I made a decision. I would write the narrative of my life. Today I am a chaired professor at the University of Southern California Gould School of Law. I have an adjunct appointment in the department of psychiatry at the medical school of the University of California, San Diego, and am on the faculty of the New Center for Psychoanalysis. The MacArthur Foundation gave me a genius grant.

Although I fought my diagnosis for many years, I came to accept that I have schizophrenia and will be in treatment the rest of my life. Indeed, excellent psychoanalytic treatment and medication have been critical to my success. What I refused to accept was my prognosis.

Conventional psychiatric thinking and its diagnostic categories say that people like me don’t exist. Either I don’t have schizophrenia (please tell that to the delusions crowding my mind), or I couldn’t have accomplished what I have (please tell that to U.S.C.’s committee on faculty affairs). But I do, and I have. And I have undertaken research with colleagues at U.S.C. and U.C.L.A. to show that I am not alone. There are others with schizophrenia and such active symptoms as delusions and hallucinations who have significant academic and professional achievements.



Mind-Warping Animated GIF Art

Digital artist Paolo Čerić is currently studying information processing at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing in Croatia where his experiments with processing and digital art have resulted in a steady stream of fascinating animations which he publishes on his blog Patakk. Čerić tells me that he began about two years ago knowing very little about digital art or animation, but was fascinated watching other coders create art with code. For a while he simply tried to mimic other animations he’d seen, but lately has truly developed his own personal style that varies from pulsating geometric patterns to glitch art and everything in between.


Toon: The Rich and Poor Victims of Climate Change

Cool Japanese stop-motion music video

Heck of a lot of work went into that.

Chicago's Freezing Fire

On Tuesday night, a huge vacant warehouse on Chicago's South Side went up in flames. Fire department officials said it was the biggest blaze the department has had to battle in years and one-third of all Chicago firefighters were on the scene at one point or another trying to put out the flames. Complicating the scene was the weather -- temperatures were well below freezing and the spray from the fire hoses encased everything below in ice, including buildings, vehicles, and some firefighting gear. The warehouse was gutted, but the fire was contained. Fire crews remain on the scene as some smaller flare-ups continue to need attention.



Science Up in Smoke: The Catch-22 of Marijuana Research


Marijuana has "high abuse potential" and no "currently accepted medical use." That is how marijuana is classified by federal bureaucrats, even though that view is very much out of sync with the opinions of many doctors and scientists. This designation is the legacy of the forty year old Controlled Substances Act, and this designation will not change any time soon, thanks to a ruling this week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

The appeals court ruled in favor of the Drug Enforcement Administration, which had chosen not to review scientific evidence in support of the reclassification of marijuana, which is currently a Schedule 1 agent, the most restrictive category for a controlled substance.

This discrepancy between public policy and the scientific community is a well-documented public health predicament as an estimated one million patients use marijuana as a treatment every year. This discrepancy has also muddled public policy because 18 states have made medical marijuana legal. So what are law enforcement officials to do? How can the medical community be expected to make progress?

When confusion reigns, you cannot expect good outcomes. So the question to answer is this: why does such confusion regin? As Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance tells Big Think, marijuana occupies a special status in American culture and our legal system. This status is based on the belief that this substance is far more dangerous than any scientific evidence has borne out.



Dolphins form life raft to help dying friend

Everybody's favourite cetacean just got a little more lovable. For the first time, dolphins have been spotted teaming up to try to rescue an injured group member. The act does not necessarily mean dolphins are selfless or can empathise with the pain of their kin, however.

Kyum Park of the Cetacean Research Institute in Ulsan, South Korea, and colleagues were surveying cetaceans in the Sea of Japan in June 2008. They spent a day following a group of about 400 long-beaked common dolphins (Delphinus capensis).

In the late morning they noticed that about 12 dolphins were swimming very close together. One female was in difficulties: it was wriggling and tipping from side to side, sometimes turning upside-down. Its pectoral flippers seemed to be paralysed.

Life raft

The other dolphins crowded around it, often diving beneath it and supporting it from below. After about 30 minutes, the dolphins formed into an impromptu raft: they swam side by side with the injured female on their backs. By keeping the injured female above water, they may have helped it to breathe, avoiding drowning.

more with video


Arizona bill would compel hospitals to check immigration status

By Cindy Carcamo
January 26, 2013, 6:00 a.m.
Under a bill introduced this week in Arizona, hospital staffs would be compelled to check whether uninsured patients are in the country illegally.

If the patients can't provide proof that they are in the country legally, hospital staff would have to call federal immigration officials or local law enforcement. The bill by state Rep. Steve Smith also would require hospital officials to file annual reports of how many people they treated who were in the country illegally.

Smith, a Republican from Maricopa, was not available for comment, but has said that H.B. 2293 is designed to track how many people who are in the country illegally receive free medical care in the state. The aim, he has said, is not to withhold care but to collect information.

Immigrant rights organizations say the bill is misguided, targets immigrants and essentially requires hospital workers to police immigration.


Which state can win the "race to the bottom?"

Toon: Republican Outreach

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