Monday, June 29, 2009

Purposes of depression

At the time, this struck me as beyond wrong. As a young girl alone in a big city, away from her family for the first time, it was only natural for her to feel a little home sick and down. Add a lousy relationship with a love rat into the mix and any sane person would have been depressed in her situation. It seemed to me that giving her happy pills to make her life more bearable was counterproductive. She needed to feel depressed. She needed to feel bad enough to be driven to make positive change in her life. In short, she needed to ditch the cheating dude, and learn to cope with life alone, rather than popping a pill to make life with him more livable.

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Just because everyone knows it's true doesn't mean it's true

Alas, as I do enjoy the grape.

Some researchers say they are haunted by the mistakes made in studies about hormone replacement therapy, which was widely prescribed for years on the basis of observational studies similar to the kind done on alcohol. Questions have also been raised about the financial relationships that have sprung up between the alcoholic beverage industry and many academic centers, which have accepted industry money to pay for research, train students and promote their findings.

“The bottom line is there has not been a single study done on moderate alcohol consumption and mortality outcomes that is a ‘gold standard’ kind of study — the kind of randomized controlled clinical trial that we would be required to have in order to approve a new pharmaceutical agent in this country,” said Dr. Tim Naimi, an epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

I guess a little skepticism is a healthy thing in these matters.


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The wage of sin

Exodus 12

Then Moses cried to the LORD, "Please, not this! Pray, heal her!"

But the LORD answered Moses, "Suppose her father had spit in her face, would she not hide in shame for seven days? Let her be confined outside the camp for seven days; only then may she be brought back."

Sometimes charity demands punishment, it seems.

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Monday, June 15, 2009

Word of the day - enthymeme

A by and large statement, a maxim, a less-than-100% argument.

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Everyday extravagance

To take a parallel case:—a physician may tell you, that if you are to preserve your health, you must give up your employment and retire to the country. He distinctly says "if;" that is all in which he is concerned, he is no judge whether there are objects dearer to you, more urgent upon you, than the preservation of your health; he does not enter into your circumstances, your duties, your liabilities, the persons dependent on you; he knows nothing about what is advisable or what is not; he only says, "I speak as a physician; if you would be well, give up your profession, your trade, your office, whatever it is." However he may wish it, it would be impertinent in him to say more, unless indeed he spoke, not as a physician but as a friend; and it would be extravagant, if he asserted that bodily health was the summum bonum, and that no one could be virtuous whose animal system was not in good order.

John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University, 4th Discourse


Monday, June 08, 2009

Awesome logic

The Times has a great editorial about how the Tiller killing shows how federal agents have not been providing enough protection for abortion clincs. The only problem is, of course, that he was shot at a church. I don't think any number of FBI agents outside of his office would have had much effect on a shooting that occurred somewhere else. Unless I'm missing something, of course.

Ooh and it looks like the Curt Jester has noticed some of the same.

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Monday, June 01, 2009

Reducing flow of programming articles

If you have noticed a reduced flow of programming-related articles, and I know you haven't, all but the most interesting have been moved to another blog linked to from my profile. I realized that this blog was supposed to be about religion and public life and such, and those articles had little to do with such things. Horray for trying to stay on topic.


Information flow in the age of whatever age we're in

Two articles I ran across about disturbing patterns/trends/etc in how people are processing information.

The first is an LGF piece which links to an article about the whole vaccine/autism conspiracy thing and how vaccination is getting low enough in some communities that "eradicated" diseases are coming back into style. And by coming back into style I mean that young kids are dying from things that they didn't die from when I was a young kid.

The second is an interesting bit about how whole neighborhoods can be banned from Wikipedia edits if the powers that be don't like the n/POV of a person in that neighborhood. I believe I owe Hacker News a hat tip on this one, but the origin of the link has become obscure in the past day or two.

I'm not sure if I have a solid point to make here. But I suppose it worries me that people are quick to make their main source of knowledge the Internet and treat anything that shows up on a search as truth. Most people tend to trust Wikipedia because they think the editing process forces NPOV to the top, but I certainly didn't realize that Wikipedia could ban edits in this manner.

It is important to be able to think on one's own, but that presupposes that you're making a solid effort to understand a topic rather than gain a cursory understanding after a few minutes of Googling, or should I say Binging. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing indeed.

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