Atwood

Some lovely words and thoughts here.

“Touch comes before sight, before speech. It is the first language and the last, and it always tells the truth.” (The Blind Assassin,2000)

“Within every dystopia there’s a little utopia.” (Interview, New York Magazine, 2013)

“As soon as you have a language that has a past tense and a future tense you’re going to say, ‘Where did we come from, what happens next?’ The ability to remember the past helps us plan the future.” (Interview, Telegraph, 2013)

Happy 75th Birthday Margaret Atwood and thanks for all the words after words after words!

‘Don’t let the bastards grind you down’

IMG_2391.JPG

What giving birth looks like…

What giving birth looks like around the world

“We have ideas about what women’s bodies are for and it’s not this,” she said about American views on birth. “You see a woman naked but her body is performing functions that are intense. Our culture has a weird thing about images of women’s bodies doing this kind of physical work that isn’t young and sexy; birth has elements of struggle, power, transformation and mortality that don’t fit with our ideas about women’s bodies: they’re ok to look at when they’re sexy but when they’re working it’s something else. Birth is uncontrolled and that freaks us out.”

IMG_1937.JPG

Empathy, self love, brain representation and healing

This is a truly lovely article and it is a pleasure to share.

Psychology Today: Neuroscientists confirm that our loved ones become ourselves

Many of you know its insights on various levels (life experience, practices, science, philosophy, intuition) and many of you may not. They bear repetition and revelation.

What are these? I think I’ll wait until you read the article first… they involve empathy, love, our brains and how to live a harmonious life.

I find it amusing and deeply satisfying when psychological sciences end up vindicating practices such as meditation, self-love and Non-Violent Communication (which is about way more than non-violence).

Also, I’m chuffed how contemporary psychology finally managed to grapple with humanism after a long and boring detour via rats and circuits without connecting them to what matters to humans and finally reaching what a more human centred psychology – marginalised for long – has already discovered. I’m saying this, of course, as a psych graduate who turned her back on the discipline for exactly this reason.

What really matters to us? It seems that even fMRI studies yield the same answers as some ancient philosophy.

20131214-225435.jpg

Crazy drugs

This article enumerates several compelling reasons why drug prohibition will never work. These are then illustrated vividly through the discussion of 9 particularly vile and crazy drugs from around the world.

Drug prohibition is both a losing game and a completely futile one. From these examples alone it becomes obvious how ingrained is the tendency to get high. Sometimes at any cost (in the meantime I’ve come across evidence that even dolphins get high, by deliberately bumping into and getting poisoned with puffer fish toxin! Looks like this tendency goes deeper in the animal kingdom).

9 disgusting drugs that show prohibition will never work

For example, here is whoonga.

‘This South African drug, known in some forms as nyaope, sprung up in the nation’s poorer regions within the last few years and typically consists of marijuana, heroin or other street drugs mixed with retroviral AIDS drugs. It can also be mixed with things like rat poison or other toxic chemicals, sometimes shortening the lifespan of users who choose to inject it to as little as one year. Doctors seem skeptical as to the addictive or hallucinogenic properties of the AIDS drugs used, but worry that whoonga might have a detrimental effect on the fight against AIDS in the region since users may purposely try to contract HIV in order to get the necessary retroviral drugs free from clinics.

South African authorities responded to reports of whoonga’s increased use by adding it to a list of banned substances. Rehabilitation efforts are reportedly minimal and punishments for possession are harsh, and Sowetan Live notes complaints that South Africa has no “functioning government institution to tackle substance abuse.”

20131030-004941.jpg

WildCat – the latest robot to help the US wage war remotely

WildCat - the latest robot to help the US wage war remotely

This new DARPA robot is amazing and terrifying. Anyone remembers the various technologies developed by Massive Dynamic in Fringe? They tended to have amazing cutting edge abilities that were always deployed for very dubious if not outright evil purposes. This horse-like robot reminds me of those.

However, this is not sci-fi anymore. I guess this all-terrain robot will be the next remotely operated machine to run across Middle-Eastern fields carrying out surveillance and likely killing civilians. I guess the US army is one step closer to being able to wage war completely by remote, now with added on-the-ground precision… spending oodles of money on futile missions that the US cannot actually afford anymore (witness this week’s monetary gridlock in the US).

While I’m in awe of what technology can accomplish today I despair for what purpose it is built for and what real life interests it will serve.