Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Lili's thought of the (Christmas) day

'Tis the season to drive for miles to visit a slummy suburb and pretend to be happy to eat off filthy cutlery and dirty plates. I'd rather stay home. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Lili's opinion of the day

All this claptrap about halal food; it's just not kosher!

Lili's thought for the day

I pride myself in being the type of person who does not make a life out of observing the personal lives of other people. Human nature is an ugly thing, and I don't enjoy watching it in action. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Lili's thought for the day

When the medical profession, Medicare and drug companies are a tight team, effective and safe non-drug medical interventions might as well not even exist at all. 

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Val Lewton movie coming up on the box

It's time to delete some old episodes of QI to clear memory on your television-recording thingmujig. The Ghost Ship (1943) produced by Val Lewton is scheduled for broadcast on ABC1 on Wednesday November 5th 2014 at 2.15am, or one might say very late Tuesday night.

I've read that Lewton was in real life an edgy yachstman, and there are certainly autobiographical elements in some of the movies he produced and co-wrote. Nevertheless, this movie was lost to the viewing public for 50 years due to a plagiarism lawsuit. Another interesting thing about this film was the fact that the most memorable line of the movie is delivered by the mute character. 

Saturday, November 01, 2014

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lili's utopian reverie of the day

One of the things that I find interesting about this online discussion about job recruitment practices is the level of polarization of the views some of the participants. I would categorize these two groups as "thinkers", of which there are only a few, and "w***ers" who seem to be better represented in numbers, but certainly not in the quality of their arguments. 

If people like MSchemist80 (see page 2 and later pages) ran our nation I believe we would now be living in some kind of utopia. Just imagine what might be possible in a society in which the leaders in government, education, business and industry were fully and directly in touch with reality, with the knowledge and intelligence to understand what it all means, and the ability to recognize ability. I bet we wouldn't have sloppy, useless medicos and bureaucrats allowing Ebola to spread in the United States. I bet we wouldn't have a climate denier imbecile blighting the office of Prime Minister of Australia. I bet we wouldn't have an alcoholic underclass being granted greater entitlement to accommodation and financial support than our best and brightest citizens who aspire to achieving a higher education. Things would be more meritocracy or technocracy than idiocracy. What would happen if there was an sudden outbreak of rationality? Can we even attempt to imagine what a rational and evidence-based world would be like, while so many of us continue to live within the mass delusion that this is already the way things operate? 

Lili's anti-neurosexist thoughts for the day

Neurosexist pseudoscience by Prof. Simon Baron-Cohen is still doing the rounds and has apparently had another airing recently courtesy of the BBC. It's a good thing we have commentators like Caryl Rivers and Rosalind C. Barnett to bring us into touch with reality on the question of sex difference and the brain and behaviour:

It is indeed a worry that a person as influential as British broadcaster and doctor Michael Mosley has been "most strongly influenced" by Baron-Cohen: 

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Five awkward questions which will not be asked of Professor Patrick McGorry tonight on Q&A

Why did you fail to report any competing interests in many journal papers in which you are a co-author which were published before or after August 2008, even though you listed a number of competing interests in a journal paper written by you that was published in the British Medical Journal in August 2008? 

Why was your NEURAPRO-Q study closed down in 2011? 

Did you learn anything from that episode? 

Did you make a false statement or grossly exaggerate on Lateline in 2010 when you stated that "The evidence is very, very strong now that, not only does it improve outcomes, as you say - the early detection and comprehensive care in the first few years after diagnosis - but also it saves money." in relation to your early intervention model of care for psychosis, even though your EPPIC study was considered but excluded from a systematic review of early intervention for psychosis that was conducted by the highly respected Cochrane Collaboration international medical literature reviewing organization, and that review found some support for early intervention but a need for more research and questions about long-term outcomes, and inconclusive evidence regarding intervention for those deemed at risk of developing psychosis.

Why would an organization that is a provider of public psychiatric services, headed by yourself, need to have a "campaign manager"? Is it a medical service or a political organization? 

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Lili's outraged thought of the day

F*** you, Carnegie Science Center and f*** you too, Scouting Movement! Only one lame science workshop offered for Girl Scouts, while Boy Scouts have many choices of real science to study and experience. That is plain sexism. That is plain sex discrimination. It is indefensible, but the Carnegie Science Center offered a response, and the blogger who wrote about the issue seems happy enough with the response, even though all over the internet comments can be found from outraged people offering the simple and effective remedy of simply not segregating children by gender. If you don't even go that step of labeling kids by gender, gender stereotypes are not evoked. Why invite gender stereotyping to the party? Just don't apply the idea and then you wont have to manage the negative consequences of your imposition of gender as a category. I'm amazed that an organization that is supposed to be all about education and science has bought into this utter nonsense of gender segregation and gender stereotypes!

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Lili's thought for psychiatry week

Let's stop using the term "mental health" as a euphemism for "psychiatry", "mental disorder" or "mental illness". And who was it who decided that the word "sick" is off-limits, to be replaced with the euphemistic-sounding "unwell"? Australians are a race of people who love to call a spade a spade? My arse! We are actually a race of people who invent and embrace euphemisms.

Could we also please stop crapping on about the importance of "mental health"? When someone claims that "mental health" is an important issue, that could be taken two ways. Either is is nonsense, because an "issue" is supposed to mean a problem, and health cannot be a problem. Alternatively one could take that statement as a sloppily abbreviated claim that the maintenance of good mental health is an important thing to be aware of, but this interpretation implies that mental disorders can be avoided by practicing healthy habits and doing approved activities, and for many mental disorders this simply is not true. There's plenty of evidence indicating that the more serious psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, are caused by various factors, many of them beyond the control of the patient. We cannot choose our genes and we cannot choose the womb that gave host to our earliest development, but we can choose our lifestyle. If you feel dire are a result of unnatural sleeping habits, a diet of junk, alcohol usage or drug abuse, perhaps your problem isn't "mental health", more likely a quite ordinary problem of "physical health". To claim that we all need to take good care of our "mental health" is to trivialize the serious issues of a small minority of people, who are becoming lost among a sea of fools who aspire to play the victim one minute, the next playing the amateur psychiatrist. I can't wait for them to go find another hobby.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

La Vie En Rose by Grace Jones

I heard this on the radio yesterday morning and it gave me the most wonderful earworm all day long. If you would like to be exposed to a most inspiring cognitive contagion from the amazing 1970s just click on the "Go" button. 

From the point of view of a synaesthete and a person who studies synaesthesia I find two things about this music clip notable. The word "rose" in French might mean "pink" or "magenta", and the fashion worn by Jones in two appearances singing this song match that kind of colour, but the clothes certainly don't match the colour of the singing, which to my mind is saturated red, with the soaring parts of the music becoming yellow. The other thing I find interesting is the way Jones' arms go up as the pitch of her singing goes up, a definitely cross-modal or perhaps synaesthetic mode of artistic expression in which location equals musical pitch. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Of course, the best lies are the ones that reveal the truth

I guess it should come as no surprise to see Helen Dale becoming even more involved with Australian politics. I wrote about Dale as one of the fascinating Australians in one of my lists of famous people, lists which I no longer bother to keep up-to-date. She might never live down her fame in Australia from the 1990s as the literary hoaxer who made the Australian literary establishment look like the bunch of dicks that they always were, but I would argue that other Australians have also had a lend of the world of arts and letters, but those other fakers never got flayed alive in the town square. 

I've read that Paul Fenech, Australia's king of low-brow comedy television and film came in as the winner of the short film competition Tropfest one year, the film submitted under a name that would suggest that he was a lady of Jewish heritage rather than a Maltese-Indigenous Australian man with a subversive sense of humour. This stunt was reportedly pulled just a year or so after the "Demidenko Affair" but folks don't hate Fenech, in fact he's very popular in some parts. I put that down to sexism. Women aren't allowed to pull the wool or have a lend, because women are expected to occupy the moral high ground, in the most whiny and humorless manner possible.

And who would not agree that there is more than a passing resemblance between the deception pulled-off against Australia's literary crowd by the late author Elizabeth Jolley, and the curious incident of the platinum blonde in the embroidered peasant blouse? Jolley and husband were pillars of the world of books and the bookish in Perth in the 1980s. National Living Treasure Jolley was a mentor to the iconic Western Australian novelist Tim Winton. Jolley had such a lot to answer for, but in my mind it doesn't get too much lower than writing a letter impersonating the abandoned daughter of one's husband to keep alive a prolonged and odious deception among family. Anyone who would dream of such a trick is certainly a different breed of human being than the apologetic dill that was Jolley's persona, both as a writer and a public figure. Turns out Jolley was a Living National Lie but there was no big cuffuffle, because her real story didn't break while the herd still held her close to their hearts. Out of Jolley and Dale/Demidenko, who was the biggest liar, I ask you? A genuinely odd Aussie lass who wrote a novel from a politically unpopular POV while pretending to be an ethnic, or a first class creep, liar and home-wrecker in private affairs playing the part of a lovably unfashionable borderline-autistic creature of the keyboard to an audience of wine-pickled dickwits?

Monday, September 08, 2014

Lili's tip of the day

If you are reading this post in Sydney at the time of publication you only have to wait a half an hour to view a creepy old Val Lewton movie on ABC television. And what are you doing up at this hour? 

Lili's commonsense thought of the day

The very first question that they should ask in any career guidance questionnaire is "Do you fall to pieces at the sight of blood?". And question number two should probably be "Do you generally find people irritating?". 

Friday, September 05, 2014

Lili's older and wiser thought of the day

I volunteered for that crowd for months, and the communication I got from them was housekeeping stuff to do with shifts and asking extra favours. Then I parted with some money to pay online for someone else's ticket to one of their events, and now my inbox is regularly graced with chatty newsletters from the CEO, in which he wishes to convey how much management value their people above all else. 

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Lili's sad thought for the day

They've left another young asylum-seeker to die. Another man in his twenties, his whole life ahead of him, lost his life in an entirely preventable and foreseeable chain of events, the result of imprisonment at the infamous Manus Island detention centre. Both young men were in the custody of the Australian federal government/the Abbott Government/Team Australia, call it what you will. Neither had committed any crime. They sought refuge. Instead the worst possible thing happened, and Australia is to blame. If you don't do anything to change things, this shit is just going to keep on happening over and over again. Do you give a damn? 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A quote from an Aussie genius of rock

"I cope with it alright… It’s a strange thing because it’s really hard to know what [Aspergers] means and what it does and what it’s doing and what it’s done… so, yeah… I cope with it just by being a loner.” 

- Craig Nicholls in a recent interview article by Dominique Sisley for DIY magazine 

Doesn't Craig deserve some semblance of an adequate explanation to go along with his highly stigmatizing label? Doesn't Craig, along with all people labelled as autistic, deserve better? Is this the best that modern Australian psychology/psychiatry/disability advocacy can offer? Seems very lame to me. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

A link between these two concepts?

I was just reflecting on the heavy use of inflated hype words in the first couple of pages of the book Struck by Genius by Jason Padgett, in the collection of one-paragraph book reviews by big names in autism, savant and synaesthesia pop science writing. I refer to words like "remarkable", "extraordinary", "immense", "incredible", "unforgettable", "sudden genius", "medical marvel", "tremendous", "astonishing", "unfathomable", "unleashed", "irrefutable"..... and then I was mucking about in the internet and I came across this article in New Scientist, which explained that a team of researchers have found an association between the dodgier pieces of science writing by one particular scientist and his increased use of  words categorized as "amplifiers". 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lili's insensitive personal atttack for the day

Shut the f*** up with the gender stereotypes, Carrie Bickmore! No Australian is doing more than you are to help us to see humanity through the lens of expectations and interpretations based on cliched and evidence-free beliefs about psychological and behavioural sex differences. If there were degrees in this stuff, my word, you'd have one, and it would surely be printed in pink. You know it and you live it, you life-sized Barbie Doll.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Lili's declaration of war

All weeds must die! Get lost Gazania! F*** you Fumaria! Morning glory, you will never see the sun rise again. African Pelargonium, your harsh stink will soon be nothing more than an unpleasant memory. Castor oil plant, prepare to be cast into the darkest depths of the wheelie bin. Whatcha think you’re doing in my garden, Watsonia? Wild oats, you will not live to cast your seed. Onion weed, I shall dig you out completely and carefully, bulbs and all. Goodbye forever Lantana! You will soon be replaced by a local native species of plant that is every bit as pretty and attractive to butterflies. You will not be missed. Shitplant.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Lili's fashion tip for the day

Got nipples that can be seen through three layers of clothing? Got nipples that can be seen from space? Try headlight dimmers.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Lili's go get f***ed thought of the day

The Conversation has closed comments on this incomplete and biased article. This is political censorship and an affront to free speech in Australia, and pretty much what I'd expect from this tame and lame bit of light reading for the enjoyment of the chattering classes. 

Lili's next thought of the day

Leunig's controversial cartoon about Zionism, Palestine and the strong forces against free speech in Australia:

Lili's wildly contrasting thought of the day

When it comes to the job of telling the world the truth about the war crimes that are currently happening in Gaza, Mike Carlton looks like a martyred hero in my eyes, while the UN's General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon looks like a complete arsehole. 

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with cured patients, or a safe and secure career in medicine in Western Australia? Choose one.

Below is an excerpt from a New Scientist interview with Australian Nobel Laureate Dr Barry Marshall who was at one time a Registrar at Royal Perth Hospital. I don't think Australian medicine has changed enough since the time described, in fact I'm convinced that psychiatric labels are still used liberally as a way of illegitimately dealing with unsolved or uninvestigated medical and genetic problems. 

If the H. pylori story isn't endlessly fascinating to philosophers of science, then it damn well should be. 

You famously experimented on yourself with H. pylori. Was that a risk for your career?

At that point my colleagues were treating ulcer patients as psychosomatic cases – using antidepressants, tranquilisers, psychotherapy, all that kind of thing. My career was already very shaky because I was ignoring the mental state of the patient and giving them antibiotics. Then my boss's patients started secretly coming to my clinic for treatment. The politics have always been difficult in medicine. There is some truth in the way medical practice is portrayed in TV dramas.

Hey Dr Marshall, you are my hero. 

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Lili's rather amazed in a bad way thought of the day

Todd Sampson talks science for National Science Week? Really? I thought he's an ad company executive. Is he a scientist? Sure thing, the ABC television series that he was the host of, Redesign My Brain, "was a ratings winner", but was it good science or junk science? I have argued the latter in a post at this blog posted in October of last year. 

Once again, National Science Week is more of a concern to me than a positive thing, and that is saying a lot for a person whose interest in science is a driving force. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Free Palestine by Ambassador

Lili's thought for the day

Philip Nitschke is/was a very dangerous doctor. In stark contrast with his professional colleagues he gives the suffering and the right to autonomy of his patients proper consideration and proper respect. His colleagues would like us to believe that human suffering is a curable mental illness caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, and they would also like us to believe that a qualified and registered medical doctor is the only person who has the right to make a decision to end a human life. Bullshit on both counts. 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

New from The Vines

Lili's thought for the day

Give your immune system a mid-winter boost the natural way! Clear out the leaves and brown sludge from your garden pond, de-clog the bathroom hand-basin drain with a plunger and eat a bag of Imperial mandarins. 

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Lili's thought for the day

Impressed by Jason Padgett's art that is supposed to depict mathematical concepts? You should check out the real thing at Discover magazine:

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Lili's completely disillusioned thought of the day

So, it turns out that plenty of media people knew (some from first-hand experience) that Rolf Harris is a sex offender (yes, groping strangers of any age without consent is sexual assault), but they all chose to not report this to their readers, listeners or viewers. Maybe these media people didn't think of themselves as journalists, or maybe they decided that the possible personal costs of speaking out was greater than their loyalty to journalistic principles. Maybe some had no idea what journalistic principles are.  Either way, the Harris scandal and the other disgusting sex scandals involving male celebrities serve as a massive warning to us all about the mass media and journalists. These people make a living based on the idea that they serve the public interest and will expose the truth without fear or favour. We now know for sure this is crap. 

Does anyone out there besides me remember the interview story that Australian 60 Minutes did on Jimmy Savile? It must have been recorded before October 2011 because that is when Savile died. Clearly the reporter wanted quite desperately to ask Savile about some serious thing, but in the end Savile admitted nothing of any importance and the only question posed on camera was something to the effect of "Is Jimmy Savile too eccentric?" I wondered what the point of the whole thing was. I only know by hindsight. 

I was so pissed-off to notice that in Rolf Harris's mugshot he has far fewer worry-lines on his forehead than I do, despite the fact that he is a generation older than me. I hope he catches up fast. 

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Lili's fed up thought for the day

Australian toy retailers - you've got to stop selling gender stereotypes to our children!

Lili's rational thought for the day

How are you going to celebrate World Humanist Day? Aussies could mark the day by reading RSA Daily or by letting the Abbott Government know what you think of their aspiration to cut funds to just about everything except religious chaplains in government schools. What humanist, rationalist or atheist organizations operate in your neck of the woods? 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Lili's bright idea for the day

If I played Mozart night and day outside my house, would the bogans in the neighbourhood up and leave? How about the Elizabethan Serenade? Would that do the trick?

Lili's thought for the day

If you've raised a daughter to adulthood and she still doesn't know what her star sign is, congratulate yourself on a job well done. 

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Lili's laugh for the day

Robyn Williams saying bad words. How amusing. 

Lili's tip for the day

When planning a visit to a scientific, artistic or museum-based exhibition which includes moving or accessible elements, you might wish to visit sooner rather than later, because unfortunately there will always be that element of humanity that loves to steal or damage or interfere with displays, and moving parts often malfunction in time and may need to be removed or disabled. 

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Lili's next thought for the day

One could question why females were excluded from Baron-Cohen's latest study of autism.

Lili's astounded thought for the day

Is this paper science based on sound foundations? Listed in the references you can find Daniel Tammet’s first book, both of the 2007 studies of Tammet by the Baron-Cohen team and this paper's author’s own paper about Jason Padgett, a neurological case who has been viewed as similar to Tammet, and a magazine article co-authored by this paper's author about Derek Amato, another supposed case of acquired synaesthesia with acquired savantism. "Quicksand" and "Ouroboros" are two words that come to mind. 

Lili's next thought for the day

In the red corner we have the Right to be Forgotten and in the blue corner we have the Streisand Effect.....

Lili's provocative question for the day

Does Rolf Harris have the "right to be forgotten"?

Lili's considered thought of the day

I'd be 100% behind this petition, but I'm not convinced that school chaplains full of religious zeal are that much worse than mental health professionals or social workers. Mental health professionals generally advocate questionable prescription drugs and look upon social issues as psychiatric issues, and social workers are often pretty clueless and very patronizing. I'm sure there are unqualified but educated and wise parents out there who could be better school chaplains than the above. One thing I'm sure of; religion isn't the answer, especially in regard to youths facing obstacles and questions about gender and sexuality. I'm 78.9% behind this petition.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Lewton movie on Aussie TV

Tomorrow night or more correctly very early on Tuesday morning at 3.00am ABC1 is scheduled to broadcast the 1943 horror movie The Leopard Man, director Jacques Tourneur, producer Val Lewton. 

I'm hoping this means another series of Lewton movies might be broadcast by the ABC. Why are people still watching the work of a 1940s Hollywood producer? Because his movies are special in a way that is hard to pin down. Why was Lewton the one to produce and often write the screenplays for movies that still mean something to audiences over seventy years after they were commercially successful on first release? I think his talent had something to do with his synaesthete mind and his extraordinary and precocious memory and enthusiasm for narratives. A few years ago I had the great pleasure of being apparently the first person to discover and understand evidence that Lewton was a synaesthete, and I put some of my ideas about Lewton and other interesting and creative famous individuals into one of my ebooks, but what does that matter? Just enjoy the movies. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lili's thought for the day

What a nice cosy club that PubMed Commons must be (by invitation only). Do the select few who manage to make it through the membership process get a free cigar and copy of The Times to read? 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Lili's health tip for the day

When they are told they have cancer so many people ask "Why me?" and wonder how they got cancer and what or whom to blame. Well here's a tip; Ethanol or drinking alcohol is a Group 1 carcinogen. 

Lili's work-related gems of advice for the day

For me most entry-level jobs have also been exit-level jobs. The idea that you can get in at the bottom and work your way up if you are smart and work hard is complete bullshit as far as I can tell. If you want to be treated decently and have your work valued at work, get recruited as a university graduate or into a skilled position that is hard to fill, and also look for a workplace that has at least as many men as women as workers. 

Try to avoid working at a job that has mostly women as workers, even if it is a skilled or qualified job. I have found that these jobs are usually marred by sub-standard working conditions and pay and lots of bitchiness and competition between workers. I put this down to collective low self-esteem based on sexist beliefs. Female managers and business owners show little respect for women as workers, female workers show little respect for female colleagues and these women all seem to have little self-respect, and thus don't leave these blighted jobs. My God, what a breath of fresh air it can be to work among only men!

Lili's gardening tip for the day

A gardening tip for my northern hemisphere readers; snake beans will grow happily out of a large plant pot of cow manure mixed with dead leaves. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lili's librarianship thought of the day

If your local librarian speaks of "Google" or Google Search as though it is, or is promoted as, an internet archive or a reference resource or an online library or a question answering website or a public service, she or he shouldn't be working as a librarian. Google Search is a web search engine owned by a large corporation. Sure enough, in the internet you can find an internet archive and many fantastically useful reference resources and important online libraries and a number of (collaborative) question answering websites of varying quality, but none of them are Google. Did Google Search ever claim to be something that it is not? I don't think it ever did. 

If your local librarian boasts that he or she can provide a better reference service than "Google", as some public librarians do, then I think such a claim rests on some kind of false belief or false claim and I believe it shows up the principal librarian as confused or confusing, which isn't a good look for an "information professional". 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I knew it I knew it I knew it

Yesterday it was fun enough to walk into a sizeable city bookshop that I'd never explored before. I instantly spotted a small and modestly-priced book almost hidden among the larger books on the new titles table at the entrance. This book caught my eye because it has biographical content about one of the most interesting people I've written about at this blog. I grabbed a copy and flicked to the beginning of the chapter about the interesting person, and then it was one of those moments of extreme but private amazement, when a fairly profound, original and long-considered theory was found to be confirmed. I am just so right that I amaze myself sometimes. More details later. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Tomas strikes again!

It is so disappointing that the popular I Fucking Love Science website and Facebook page has run a story on the supposed acquired synaesthete and maths genius Jason Padgett that lacks the slightest whiff of skepticism! The story is basically book promotion. In many ways this shite mirrors the countless bulldust media stories about Daniel Tammet, another supposed acquired synaesthete and maths genius. It is exactly this type of situation that requires a good strong dose of common sense from our friend Tomas. Go Tomas!

Lili's endlessly repeated thought of the day

Would Mark Wood still be alive today if he had been given a diagnosis that is scientifically valid and linked to effective treatment? Anorexia, anxiety disorder or some poorly-understood sensory condition, secondary to whatever genetic or developmental syndrome he actually had, perhaps? People are dying as a sacrifice to the bullshit idea that labels like autism, OCD and Asperger syndrome are real medical conditions. They aren't, they are nothing more than elaborate descriptions of particular patterns of behaviour, and they are not linked to any scientifically valid explanation, treatment, prognosis or general notion of how to think about or react to these patterns of behaviour. These labels, as are most psychiatric and behavioural labels, are pseudoscience that serves the function of giving the patient and the researcher access to funding or services, and also serve the function of generally establishing the false belief that the forces of science have been brought to bear upon human problems. It's such a pity about the way things work in the real world.

Sure enough, it was wrong morally and logically for Atos to have judged this man to be fit for work, but the guts of the problem is the failure of the medical profession to provide a proper, full and evidence-based explanation and description of why this man was not fit to work, along with an effective remedy for the situation. I find it ironic that the doctor in this press story is made to look like the hero, when in fact he is the person in this story who is closest to the catastrophic failure in this sorry story.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Australia's most famous impostor?

Helen Darville, one of the more interesting and enigmatic Australians I've written about, will be on the Insight discussion television show tomorrow night on SBS. I believe it is a repeat. The theme of the episode is lying.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Lili's thought for the day

See how animated Daniel Tammet's facial expressions can be when he's caught a bit off-guard?

Not wondering any more

I had been wondering how a study of the quality of this one could have made it through the peer-review process to publication: 
Is synaesthesia more common in autism? by Simon Baron-Cohen, Donielle Johnson, Julian Asher, Sally Wheelwright, Simon E Fisher, Peter K Gregersen and Carrie Allison. Molecular Autism. published November 20th 2013, 4:40  doi:10.1186/2040-2392-4-40

But I've had a look at the homepage of that journal and now I'm not wondering any more. Prof. Simon Baron-Cohen is one of the two editors-in-chief of the autism research journal. 

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Lili's approving thought of the day

"...we think that civil disobedience means refusing to wax our pubic hair."

Love this opinion piece by Corinne Grant:

Lili's disgusted thought for the day

50% of Australian mothers report experiencing discrimination in the workplace:

Lili's realistic thought of the day

The idea that you should do what you love and are good at as a career only seems to apply in Australia to men and women who aspire to careers that suit the gender stereotypes. There's little support out there for people who wish to achieve goals that are seen as unrealistic or unnatural. 

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Lili's thought for the day

I'm very pleased to see the websites of Let Toys be Toys - For Girls and Boys and Play Unlimited but I definitely don't think the sex segregation problem is limited to toys and children's books, or limited to children. I would like to spread awareness that gendered marketing is also used in Australia to promote job vacancies, pens, chocolate bars, publicly-funded parenting courses and health services, politicians, television channels, cordial, cook-books, public awareness campaigns about psychiatry, vitamins, magazines in at least one public library and countless supermarkets and newsagents, and any number of other things. It's not only a problem that we have to contend with another insidious tool in the hands of advertising and marketing companies, we also have a marketing tool that is thrust upon Australians of all ages from all directions that reinforces and encourages gender stereotypes. I've had it up to here. How about you?

Friday, April 04, 2014

Murdoch and Barwood's research attracts more well-deserved attention

Retraction Watch recently reported that another medical research journal paper by former University of Queensland researchers by Bruce Murdoch and Caroline Barwood has been retracted, reportedly because control group data was "re-used" to make the group bigger. In September 2013 another paper of theirs was retracted due to fabricated data. But what about the statistical discrepancies in the control group in a third study discussed in the comments of this blog post? I think I see a pattern here, and I'm wondering how much more fabricated or re-used data there is out there.

Lili's thought for the day

I will miss Dave's tasteless jokes. 

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Lili's unsurprised thought of the day

Did you notice that one of the studies refuted by Dr Cordelia Fine's article was a product of the team at Prof. Simon Baron-Cohen's Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge. "Sex differences in human neonatal social perception" is the title of that study, which has apparently been contradicted by recent studies. My brain being marked with immaturity cannot help but imagine the professor reading out the title of the study as I read it silently, with terriers, hounds and spaniels pricking up their ears for miles around. 

Lili's concerned thought of the day

I'm concerned about the "correction" to Dr Cordelia Fine's recent article in New Scientist. The "correction" goes against the main argument of the article, and isn't any better a reflection of the conclusions of the journal paper linked to in the "correction". 

Lili's fun idea for the day

Let's go down to the shopping centre food court and get a death stare from a toddler in a stroller. 

Lili's thought for the day

Is Norrie a man or a woman, both or neither? One thing is certain; Norrie is no introvert. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

Lili's fear for the day

Is Jason Padgett the new Daniel Tammet? I think I can speak for Tomas in saying "Please No!"

Previous small article on Padgett, with comments, can be found here.

Interest sours into disappointment

Yes, I've found a cheap copy at my favourite online book retailer aggregator website thingamujig. How can retailers offer such a good price on a new and recently published book, which looks very worthwhile at first glance? I guess among the whole world one comes out cheapest. 

I was all lined up to splurge a little on a copy but after a few moments perusal of the book through the always useful Google Books I've decided to chase it up through the libraries, and not recommend purchase. A synaesthesia researcher has written a book about the senses and memory, which is a combination of topics that I'm interested in, and I liked his last book, so I was eager to take a look at this one, until I did a search to see how many times Daniel Tammet is mentioned in the book, and read through it to see if it's the standard starry-eyed credulity that I usually find in writing about Tammet. Maybe not so many star-bursts but I think there's plenty of credulity and too much sloppy work. 

In his discussion of Tammet Dutch synaesthesia researcher van Campen consistently confuses what appears to be the method of loci memory encoding and retrieval method with eidetic memory, a basic error or lack of knowledge that should not be displayed by the author of a book about memory. Van Campen also reports Tammet as the holder of the European Pi record with 22, 514 digits recounted, even though most online listings of Pi records give Tammet’s Pi record as only 2964 or don’t list him at all. See here, here and here for starters.

I had been holding out hope that van Campen was the one well-known synaesthesia researcher in the world who was skeptical about Daniel Tammet, as I'd not found discussion of Tammet in his writing before. Popularizers of synaesthesia science now have about as much credibility in my eyes as "savant syndrome" researchers, and that ain't much at all. 

The Proust Effect: The Senses as Doorways to Lost Memories
by Cretien van Campen
published on 23rd January 2014 by Oxford University Press

If you'd like to read the full story of Daniel Tammet, may I recommend my own book? I will anyway. 

Daniel Tammet: the Boy with the Incredible Story
by Lili Marlene

published February 2013 by Smashwords

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Lili's political thought of the day

I fear that I'm having an episode of deja vu. Who is this female blonde Western Australian member of federal parliament taking advantage of the opportunity to speak frankly following her retirement from the "front bench" to give a speech condemning the government's inhuman asylum-seeker policy? Would it be Liberal Judi Moylan or would it be Labor's Melissa Parke? Whichever party one belongs to, we all have the ability to know right from wrong, and we all know today's policies are wrong. 

Lili's uncomplimentary thought of the day

Dan Sultan's music is crap and I wish Triple J would stop playing it. 

Lili's recreational thought of the day

Let's go down to the shopping centre food court and stare at all the cute babies.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lili's question for the day

Which famous artist had an olive-coloured voice, experienced a burning sensation in his throat in response to viewing impressionist art, designed the memorable logo for Chupa Chups lolly-pops and claimed that "the only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad"?

The answer can be found in this fabulous little book, which I have no financial interest in promoting:

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lili's safety-minded thought for the day

It seems like half of the Australian workforce wears high-viz gear on the job, and it is generally accepted that high visibility clothing is a necessity for safety in many work situations and is generally a good idea that is cheap and easy to implement. I've even seen a bright pink high-viz waistcoat being worn by a lady doing some work. The popularity of high-viz has influenced fashion in Australia, with day-glow orange and yellow featuring in garments and high-heel shoes for young women and girls in the last few years, so why oh why don't cyclists wear high-vis or bright colours when they are riding on the roads? Are there day-glow coloured orange, yellow, pink or green bicycle or motor-bike helmets on the market? If there are, why don't all cyclists and motorcyclists wear them, for safety's sake, for their own sake? 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lili's plead of the day

Buy my books, please.

Lili's boastful thought of the day

We've got the greenest garden in the whole street. We know, we've inspected the satellite photos. 

Lili's handy tip for the day

A blob of plasticine is useful for displaying collected bird feathers. 

Lili's question for the day

Does Pope Francis have a tooth missing from his upper left jaw? 

Lili's winning thought for the day

To win that job, wear a red shirt.

Lili's thought for the day

A clean-shaven Derryn Hinch is surprisingly attractive (for an old bloke).

Monday, March 10, 2014

Lili's thought for the day

I've just seen a person with cerebral palsy giving a talk in which she blamed her condition on the doctor who delivered her, and denied that it was genetic, even though she admitted she has parents who are related. I find her claims to be less than believable. According to the Wikipedia, generally there is "no increased chance of a person with CP having a child with CP", but I personally know of a family in which this is the case. It is now generally accepted that CP is caused in most cases by things that happen before birth. 

Lili's rhetorical question for the day

How long do you think it will be before the truth catches up with you? 

Lili's thought for the day

After watching Come Back Little Sheba I think we all needed a long, stiff drink. 

Lili's quote for the day

"You can judge a man by his friends ... but you can also judge a man by his enemies — I've got a prize pack of bastards for enemies"
- Frank Hardy 

Lili's thought for the day

Last month one hundred and twenty conference proceedings papers were withdrawn after it was revealed that they were computer-generated nonsense, and we are supposed to respect peer-review in science publishing? 

Sunday, March 09, 2014

I do love to watch a biographical doco on the box of a night-time

The famous chess champion Bobby Fischer was the misanthrope's misanthrope, and being a connoisseur of misanthropy with an interest in biography I'm keen to watch the doco about Fischer scheduled from broadcast at 10.15pm tonight on SBS1. The title of the documentary is Bobby Fischer Against the World. FTW.

Friday, March 07, 2014

Lili's advice for the day

It's a sign of the times that the shops are selling girdles and they seem to be popular, offered in a range of forms and colours. I hadn't seen one of those bloody horrible things since the 1970s, and I never thought I'd ever see one again. I thought girdles would forever belong to that long-ago age in which bras and girdles were known as "foundation garments". One thing that I will concede that the the new generation of "foundation garments" or "shapewear" have over the old style fat-wrangling heavy-duty buff-coloured underwear is that the new generation of corsetry seems to be more realistic in it's body coverage than the old style girdle, which was built to contain the arse only with separate flopper-stoppers for the breasts. It is indeed a good idea to wear one great big girdle that covers most of the torso (but I cannot imagine how one would squeeze into one of those things in under half an hour), because if you wear just a girdle pulled and tugged up around a large backside, in time the girdle will press and mould the bum into a bizarre and unnatural shape reminiscent of a spinning top. Once you have an arse in this peculiar shape you can forget swimming, unless they now make girdles that you can swim in (nothing would surprise me any more). It might be hard to believe that a naturally-occurring oversize butt with cellulite lumps that look like a blancmange that has been left out in a hailstorm could acquire an even more strange shape, but believe me, it's true. I've seen it with my own eyes, and what has been seen cannot be unseen. This is not the kind of nostalgia that I enjoy. Wouldn't it be simpler and smarter to watch what you eat and do a bit of exercise?

Thursday, March 06, 2014

Lili's thought for the day

I've seen it with my own eyes - a person who has definite and obvious mental limitations can achieve a measure of success as a politician pushing populist policies. I attribute this to the fact that dumb appeals to dumb, and there's just so much dumb out there.

Monday, March 03, 2014

A gloomy tune from Nick, seems appropriate

Enough of all the guff about fooooooeud

I so agree with this quote from the author Lionel Shriver:

"Every other show is about cooking [or] about fat. This is completely out of control. The book review sections are shrinking into non-existence but the cooking sections are multiplying."

The quote came from this piece by Paul Barclay for Big Ideas on the ABC's Radio National, about Lionel Shriver's latest book:

Today the obsession is about feeding the gut, with little interest in feeding the mind. Plating-up, not reading-up. Burgers not books. Binging not reading. I'd like to organize a book-burning. I'd delight in watching the cook-book section from my local bookshop go up in flames. That would make more room in the store for the real books; books that are designed to be read from cover to cover, books that are for reading and thought and knowledge, not glorified instruction-manuals for feeding your face. I do have a few treasured cook-books on my shelf at home which have been passed on by family, and I'd never burn those, but the food-faddism of the 2010's has gone too far and has done too much damage to people's lives. I'm over it. 

One aspect of the current obsession with food and fat and bodies that I think wasn't touched upon in the article/radio story linked to above is the way that the food and body obsession is segregated and polarized by gender. I find this aspect of the fad even more disturbing, because neither of the gender stereotype's lifestyles are healthy or balanced. Women are told by all that they love sugary drinks such as fruit juices and alcopops and sugary foods such as cakes and chocolate, while regular exercise is not an expectation, and predictably many women  and also many men bloat up way beyond any kind of obesity that was seen forty years ago (I was there, so I know). The very rare few people who were regarded as obese back in the 1970s wouldn't attract a stare these days, and folks who are now massive were just pudgy in their 70-80s youths and childhoods, or were even skinny back then. What has happened? It simply cannot be genetic. Obesity and diabetes are now common in men and women, but it appears that they might have gotten that way by quite different pathways. Women are told that it is the feminine way to live on sugar, chocolate, coffee, salads and over-priced little plastic tubs of yoghurt, living like dysfunctional vegetarians, while men are sold cookbooks that are primarily about meat and fatty savoury foods, and are told to go bond with other men over barbecues. All that dietary protein can go towards building up muscle-mass, if they do manual labour regularly or go to the gym regularly, but not all do, so in many cases the fat and protein all goes to the waistline, which after a while dangles very obscenely below the bottom of their shirts. These men come to acquire a smell about them like preserved smallgoods, and God only knows how often their body moves a motion or what state their colons are in, on a diet bereft of all fibre or plant matter. Colon cancer, here we come! 

I blame a combination of common human stupidity and gendered-marketing for this appalling mess. I go out to my local shoppng centre, and I often see a morbidly obese person spilling out the sides of a wheelchair, with just a bandaged stump for a leg on one side, which is covered in bandages. Diabetes-induced gangrene, I wonder? If I feel repulsed at this sight, am I the one with the problem? I don't think so. 

Lili's important questions for the day

A McDonalds apple pie is a pie in what sense? If it is a slice of a pie, what in God's name does the whole pie look like? 

Lili's misanthropological thought for the day

How can I be expected to love and respect humanity, when time and time again humanity demonstrates it's love for obscenely wealthy despots, it's hatred for innocent impoverished minorities and an almost complete lack of moral courage? 

Lili's other horrified thought for the day

Every other day, and a new trophy shot of a murder or massacre of West Papuans by Indonesian military does the rounds on the internet. Are we supposed to accept this as the normal situation? 

Lili's thought for the day

Most Australians probably don't want to know how that young asylum-seeker on Manus Island died. The people who cared, the people who were interested, have known for ages.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Lili's opinionated thought for the day

I think there's not any difference between the hundreds, maybe thousands, of people who oppose the culling of great white sharks that swim close to populated beaches and the dicks who protest when dangerous eucalyptus trees of species known to drop branches without warning are identified for removal. In both cases, it's a sentimental public exhibition of a love of nature at the expense of innocent human lives.