Monday, April 27, 2015

Lili's quote for the day


The trouble with practical jokes is that very often they get elected.
- Will Rogers

Lili's free and uncensored thought of the day (courtesy of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution)


Two news articles that say so much about the parlous state of free speech in Australia:

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/dont-rock-the-boat-on-the-anzac-tradition-20150427-1mtinw.html

"But the outcome makes it clear: only one version of the Anzac legend can be proclaimed in this brave, pluralistic nation of ours. Dissidents will simply not be tolerated."

http://www.smh.com.au/national/headspace-mcdonaldisation-of-youth-mental-healthcare-a-ticking-time-bomb-20150425-1mszey.html

"He said senior politicians in Canberra had told him they now regret how quickly the program has been expanded but they said headspace could not be challenged because it was like "questioning the Pope"."

Lili's suggestion of the day


Tonight SBS broadcast a documentary show from the UK that asked questions about supposed differences in the brains of men and women, boys and girls, questions like "Are women better than men at reading emotions?". I suggest reading this blog article of mine to get an idea of some of the evidence pertinent to that question, or even better, read Dr Cordelia Fine's book Delusions of Gender. 

Saturday, April 25, 2015

John Mendoza slams Headspace


Stark, Jill and Vedelago, Chris (2015) Headspace: 'McDonaldisation' of youth mental healthcare a ticking time bomb. Brisbane Times. April 26, 2015 - 9:27am.

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/national/headspace-mcdonaldisation-of-youth-mental-healthcare-a-ticking-time-bomb-20150425-1mszey.html

"John Mendoza, former chief executive of the Mental Health Council of Australia and a previous chair of a headspace centre in Queensland, said the original intent of the service had been "perverted" and the national head office had become "obsessed with brand and marketing"."

Nice work Jill Stark and Chris Vedelago!

See/hear also this radio story:
http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/is-headspace-effective-in-youth-mental-health/6425794


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Lili's list of "red flags" to look out for in the process of submitting a job application


Vacancies with that employer permanently open

Employer often advertising vacancies out of proportion with size of workforce and appears to have trouble keeping staff

Advertising a clutch of different jobs in the one application process

Employer still handling recruitment process through hardcopy formats while similar organizations have gone online

Online recruitment system or documents do not work properly

Basic recruitment documents such as position descriptions, application forms, questionnaires, selection criteria, resumes, covering letters and copies of certificates and qualifications apparently lost

Eccentric handling of basic recruitment documents such as position descriptions, application forms, questionnaires and selection criteria in a way that suggests a strategy to deal with loss of data in a faulty computer system

Spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors or eccentric use of capitalization in job advertisement

"Previous applicants need not apply" 

Long, detailed, pretentious or unrealistically demanding lists of selection criteria peppered with management mumbo-jumbo

A list of duties a mile long attached to the position

Failure to ask applicants questions with simple and verifiable answers as a pre-screening process at the very beginning of recruitment process

Unclear, contradictory or deficient information in the job advertisement and associated documents about the basic details of the job such as employer, location, hours or permanency

During contact with employer or HR person they get you mixed-up with another applicant

Lili's realistic thought for the day


What the hell do you think you look like attending an Anzac Day ceremony with a burst of grey-outlined stars all over the nape of your neck, or sporting an orange, yellow and greyish-black rooster's tail trailing up your arm? I don't care if your squiggles are permanent. I don't care if they are difficult to hide. If you aren't capable of turning up to an event looking appropriately dignified, don't turn up at all. 

Lili's thought for the day


Enjoying your climate change, Sydney?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Another quote from the book Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime by Prof. Peter C. Gotzsche


From page 197

"In 2000, an antidepressant trial was published in the New England Journal of Medicine where the authors had so many conflicts of interest that there wasn't room for them in the journal; instead, they were listed on a website.40" 

Monday, April 13, 2015

An unhelpful synergy between trashy neuroscience and mediocre science journalism


This is a pop science magazine article about acquired savant syndrome and Jason Padgett, a case who appears to be very much modelled on the story of Daniel Tammet:

Treffert, Darold (2014) Accidental genius. Scientific American. August 2014. P.42-47.

and this is a pop science magazine article about acquired savant syndrome and Derek Amato, a case who appears to be very much modelled on the story of Daniel Tammet:

Piore, Adam (2013) When Brain Damage Unlocks The Genius Within. Popular Science (website) February 19th 2013.
Piore, Adam (2013) The genius within. Popular Science. March 2013. Vol 282 Issue 3 p.46-53.

Both articles appear to describe this 2012 study by Alan Snyder and Richard Chi:

but it is disappointing that neither article gave a proper citation to the paper, so I can only guess.

It is worth noting that Snyder and Chi did a similar study that was published in 2011: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0016655 

That study and associated excitable press commentary inspired an interesting article in the Guardian newspaper criticising the media hype and the study itself: http://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2011/feb/16/thinking-caps-pseudoscience-neuroscience


Wednesday, April 08, 2015

A quote from the book Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime by Dr Peter C. Gotzsche


From page 229

"Antipsychotics are dangerous drugs that should only be used if there is a compelling reason, and preferably as short-term therapy at a low dose because the drugs produce severe and permanent brain damage. As explained above, even most patients with schizophrenia can avoid the drugs and it results in much better long-term outcomes than if they were treated and substantial savings as well.21"

There's a bombshell on every page of this book by Professor Gotzsche, a physician and co-founder of the highly respected Cochrane Collaboration and Director of the Nordic Cochrane Centre. The Cochrane Collaboration is an international organization of doctors who create systematic reviews of all of the scientific evidence pertinent to questions about drugs and medical practices and other types of interventions. I highly recommend Prof. Gotzsche's book.  

Friday, April 03, 2015

Lili's question of the day



I've got to wonder whether the three gutless dorks shown in this video shouting and waving flags with their faces concealed under a covering of flags, in a style that makes one think of the KKK in the USA, advocate for the banning of the burqa. 

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-04-04/reclaim-australia-extremism-rallies-face-tolerance-groups/6370672

Friday, March 27, 2015

Lili's thought for the day


I was watching one of those amusing characters played by the talented Australian Aboriginal comedy actor Steven Oliver in the Black Comedy Australian TV series, and a sense of deja-vu grew a grew. A campy fellow in the habit of bursting into scenes to make brief uninvited over-familiar comments about people, and then he's gone in a flash? I feel I've seen this behaviour before, but in a white presentation. Of course! He was my favourite character in the classic American comedy movie Flying High! (US title Airplane!). It seems a little bit strange that these roles that are so alike have been played by actors with such similar names. Rest in peace Stephen Stucker, you will never be forgotten by those who love a laugh, and Steven Oliver, you are the funniest man in Australia today.