Posts from the ‘Psychology’ Category

Placebo’s Effect May Depend on Your Genes

2012 11 02

Your response to placebos, or dummy medicine, may depend on your genes, according to a new study.

People with a gene variant that codes for higher levels of the brain chemical dopamine respond better to placebos than those with the low-dopamine version.

The findings, reported online Oct. 23 in the journal PLoS One, could help researchers design medical studies that distinguish the placebo response from the underlying effect of a medicine — the real aim of drug trials.

“This is a possible way to discern who is going to be a placebo responder or nonresponder in a clinical trial,” said study co-author Kathryn Hall of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Brookline, Mass.

People report feeling better after receiving a placebo, such as a sugar pill or fake treatment, for conditions ranging from chronic pain to Parkinson’s disease. But only some patients respond strongly, and there’s no way to predict who will improve on a placebo.

A few studies have provided clues. Differences in versions of the catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) gene, which determines levels of dopamine in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, are linked to differences in reward-seeking and pain perception. People with the high-dopamine version, or allele, of the COMT gene feel pain more acutely and seek rewards more strongly than those who have the low-dopamine copy.

That led the researchers to wonder whether the gene modulates placebo response.

To find out, Hall and her colleagues analyzed DNA from 104 patients with irritable bowel syndrome who were randomized to one of three groups: One was told they were on the waiting list for treatment, another received a placebo in the form of seemingly real, curt acupuncture, and the third group received fake acupuncture from a caring, warm practitioner who looked patients in the eye, asked about their progress, and even touched them lightly, Hall told LiveScience.

Patients with the high-dopamine version of the gene felt slightly better after seeing the curt, all-business health-care provider that gave placebo acupuncture. But they were six times as likely to say their symptoms improved with a caring practitioner as those with the low-dopamine gene, who didn’t improve much in any group.

The findings suggest that medical studies called clinical trials could identify treatment versus placebo effect by grouping patients by gene variant, Hall said. Knowing up front the level of placebo effect for a clinical trial could reduce the cost of the trial significantly by using fewer participants, for instance, she said.

People with the high-dopamine allele of the gene may do well on the placebo with the nurturing treatment because they are generally more attuned to their environments, said University of Michigan psychiatrist Jon-Kar Zubieta, who was not involved in the study.

“It speaks about an interaction between the environment and the gene,” Zubieta said. “It’s very possible that individuals with this allele are more able to process those positive environmental cues.”

Source - http://www.livescience.com

Marines, police prep for mock zombie invasion

2012 10 30

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Move over vampires, goblins and haunted houses, this kind of Halloween terror aims to shake up even the toughest warriors: An untold number of so-called zombies are coming to a counterterrorism summit attended by hundreds of Marines, Navy special ops, soldiers, police, firefighters and others to prepare them for their worst nightmares.

“This is a very real exercise, this is not some type of big costume party,” said Brad Barker, president of Halo Corp, a security firm hosting the Oct. 31 training demonstration during the summit at a 44-acre Paradise Point Resort island on a San Diego bay. “Everything that will be simulated at this event has already happened, it just hasn’t happened all at once on the same night. But the training is very real, it just happens to be the bad guys we’re having a little fun with.”

Hundreds of military, law enforcement and medical personnel will observe the Hollywood-style production of a zombie attack as part of their emergency response training.

In the scenario, a VIP and his personal detail are trapped in a village, surrounded by zombies when a bomb explodes. The VIP is wounded and his team must move through the town while dodging bullets and shooting back at the invading zombies. At one point, some members of the team are bit by zombies and must be taken to a field medical facility for decontamination and treatment.

“No one knows what the zombies will do in our scenario, but quite frankly no one knows what a terrorist will do,” Barker said. “If a law enforcement officer sees a zombie and says, ‘Freeze, get your hands in the air!’ What’s the zombie going to do? He’s going to moan at you. If someone on PCP or some other psychotic drug is told that, the truth is he’s not going to react to you.”

The keynote speaker beforehand will be a retired top spook — former CIA Director Michael Hayden.

“No doubt when a zombie apocalypse occurs, it’s going to be a federal incident, so we’re making it happen,” Barker said. Since word got out about the exercise, they’ve had calls from “every whack job in the world” about whether the U.S. government is really preparing for a zombie event.

Called “Zombie Apocalypse,” the exercise follows the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s campaign launched last year that urged Americans to get ready for a zombie apocalypse, as part of a catchy, public health message about the importance of emergency preparedness.

The Homeland Security Department jumped on board last month, telling citizens if they’re prepared for a zombie attack, they’ll be ready for real-life disasters like a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake or terrorist attack. A few suggestions were similar to a few of the 33 rules for dealing with zombies popularized in the 2009 movie “Zombieland,” which included “always carry a change of underwear” and “when in doubt, know your way out.”

San Diego-based Halo Corp. founded by former military special ops and intelligence personnel has been hosting the annual counterterrorism summit since 2006.

The five-day Halo counterterrorism summit is an approved training event by the Homeland Security Grant Program and the Urban Areas Security Initiative, which provide funds to pay for the coursework on everything from the battleground tactics to combat wounds to cybersecurity. The summit has a $1,000 registration fee and runs Oct. 29-Nov 2.

Conferences attended by government officials have come under heightened scrutiny following an inspector general’s report on waste and abuse at a lavish 2010 Las Vegas conference that led to the resignation of General Services Administrator Martha Johnson. The Las Vegas conference featured a clown, a mind-reader and a rap video by an employee who made fun of the spending.

Joe Newman, spokesman of the watchdog organization Project on Government Oversight, said he does not see the zombie exercise as frivolous.

“We obviously are concerned about any expenditure that might seem frivolous or a waste of money but if they tie things together, there is a lesson there,” Newman said. “Obviously we’re not expecting a zombie apocalypse in the near future, but the effects of what might happen in a zombie apocalypse are probably similar to the type of things that happen in natural disasters and manmade disasters. They’re just having fun with it. We don’t have any problems with it as a teaching point.”

Defense analyst Loren Thompson agreed.

“The defining characteristics of zombies are that they’re unpredictable and resilient. That may be a good way to prepare for what the Pentagon calls asymmetric warfare,” Thompson said.

Organizers can also avoid the pitfalls of using a mock enemy who could be identified by nationality, race or culture — something that could potentially be seen as offensive.

“I can think of a couple of countries where the local leaders are somewhat zombie-like,” he joked. “But nobody is going to take this personally.”

 

Source – news.yahoo.com/marines-police-prep-mock-zombie-invasion-180541102.html

Richard Pryor – Sunset strip

2012 10 27

From Peoria, Illinois poverty to Hollywood affluence. From abandonment by his mother to adoration from millions of fans. From a childhood in a brothel to eight marriages (twice to the same woman) and seven children. From tragedy to triumph and back again, Richard Pryor has earned the status of Legend as a masterful storyteller, a multi-talented entertainer, a comic of acerbic wit, and a survivor with no self-pity.

Born December 1, 1940, Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor III became one of the most influential comedians in the history of comedy. Few comics today will talk about their own careers without mentioning the inspiration they received from Pryor. A talented yet controversial man, most people either love him unconditionally or hate him passionately — but few ignore him.

One of four children raised in his grandmother’s brothel, Richard experienced rape at the age of six (by a teenaged neighbor) and molestation by a Catholic priest during catechism. He watched his mother perform sexual acts with Peoria’s mayor. One way the young boy escaped from these traumatic experiences was to attend the movies. Seated in the “black seats” at his local cinema, Pryor consumed the screen worlds of such heroes as John Ford and Howard Hawks, stirring within a wild ambition to become a star like them. He was expelled from school for a petty offense at age 14, and began working as janitor at a local strip club, work as shoe-shine and “careers” as drummer, meat packer, truck driver, and billiard hall attendant combined to pre-ordain a perspective of the black underclass in 1950s America that Pryor translated into honest and hilarious routines.

Several brushes with the country’s penal system gave him first-hand knowledge of the treatment of blacks within it. Ask anyone who has followed Pryor’s comedy and the word authentic comes up. But, as the Grateful Dead sang, “What a long, strange road it’s been” for the 65 years that Pryor blessed this earth. And, as Richard says, “I ain’t dead yet, Muther Fucka!”

Read more…

New York cannibal cop Gilberto Valle accused of ‘profoundly disturbing allegations’ he planned to kill and eat 100 women

2012 10 25

A New York police officer who is accused of planning to kidnap, cook, torture and eat as many 100 women has been arrested.

Gilberto Valle III, of Forest Hills, Queens, is being held in custody without bail on charges that include, kidnapping conspiracy and unauthorised use of law enforcement databases.

A criminal complaint unsealed in Manhattan federal court says Valle was conspiring to cross state lines to kidnap women. He is also accused of using a federal database to carry out surveillance on possible victims.

He could face life in prison if convicted.

Police investigators founds files on Valle’s computer containing the names and pictures of at least 100 women. Addresses and physical descriptions of them were also found.

The files suggested that he had already carried out surveillance of some of the women at their places of employment and their homes.

None of the women involved were hurt, and it appears that Valle had not progressed beyond the planning stage.

Mr Valle, who has been a police officer for six years, sat quietly through a hearing today.

His defence argue that the plans were little more than a ‘deviant fantasy in a sexual world’, and that he had never crossed into reality. However, the prosecutors argue he claim very close to executing his plans.

The FBI reportedly intercepted emails from Valle to a co-conspirator “discussing plans to kidnap, rape, torture, kill, cook and eat body parts of a number of women”.

During one exchange this July Valle and another person discussed kidnapping a woman and eating her: “I was thinking of tying her body onto some kind of apparatus … cook her over low heat, keep her alive as long as possible,” Valle allegedly wrote.

The complaint says he negotiated to kidnap another one woman for someone else saying “$5,000 and she’s all yours”.

The complaint claims he added: “I will really get off on knocking her out, tying up her hands and bare feet and gagging her. Then she will be stuffed into a large piece of luggage and wheeled out to my van.”

Source – http://www.bbc.co.uk

Jimmy Savile, paedophilia and necrophilia

2012 10 24

Recent reports about the sexual preferences of Jimmy Savile have not only thrown up allegations of paedophilia but have also hinted that he engaged in other sexual paraphilias such as necrophilia (having sex with corpses).

Paraphilias (from the Greek and translating as “beyond usual or typical love”) are uncommon types of sexual expression and often more commonly described as sexual deviations, sexual perversions or disorders of sexual preference. Many of these behaviours may appear bizarre and/or socially unacceptable, and represent the extreme end of the sexual continuum.

A couple of news reports on Savile allege that he made unaccompanied visits to mortuaries (such as the one at Stoke Mandeville) and that he spoke publicly to the media about his “fascination” with dead bodies.

Some definitions of necrophilia make reference to “the erotic attraction to corpses” but that on its own doesn’t necessarily mean the person enjoys sex with a dead person. Necrophilia is very rare and there are no reliable estimates as to how prevalent the activity is. This is because the statistics are biased by those who get caught and/or end up seeking psychiatric help for the condition. In fact, all the knowledge we have about necrophilia comes from published case studies. The overwhelming majority of necrophiles are male, as are most paraphiliacs more generally, but there are occasional female cases. The most infamous being Karen Greenlee, the American who fell in love and kidnapped a dead male from a funeral home.

Given the paedophilic and necrophilic allegations against Savile, some members of the press have speculated whether there is an association between the two paraphilic behaviours. The scientific literature on necrophilia shows that it has close associations and overlaps with some sexual paraphilias, including sexual sadism (sexual pleasure from hurting someone), sexual cannibalism (sexual pleasure from eating someone), vampirism (sexual pleasure from drinking someone’s blood) and erotophonophilia (sexual pleasure from murdering someone). However, there is little research showing any association between necrophilia and paedophilia except for those individuals that practice necropedophilia (sexual contact with the corpses of children).

Perhaps unsurprisingly, some types of occupation that have the easiest access to dead bodies are most likely to engage in necrophilic acts, the most obvious being gravediggers and mortuary attendants. However, there is some evidence that necrophiles seek out such jobs in the first place. In the largest published study of 122 necrophiles from all over the world, more than half (57%) were employed in a profession that gave them easy access to dead bodies. Such behaviour is also common among paedophiles that seek out jobs providing easy and/or unhindered access to children. Such claims have also been levelled at Savile surrounding allegations of both paedophilia and necrophilia.

One common reason given for why some people engage in such behaviour is the fact that corpses cannot refuse, reject or resist sex from a necrophile. Additionally, they cannot inform anyone, such as those in the criminal justice system, of its occurrence. Similar reasons have been applied to Savile in relation to choosing mentally ill and/or very vulnerable victims who in essence didn’t have a voice or a voice that would be believed.

In 2011, Dr Anil Aggrawal of Maulana Azad Medical College (New Delhi, India) published the most in-depth academic and clinical account of necrophilia in his book Necrophilia: Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects. One of the most interesting observations is his claim is that there are many different types of necrophile.

Dr. Aggrawal claims there are 10 different types of necrophile differentiated by the motivation and/or the type of sexual contact the necrophile has with the corpse. For instance, there are ‘homocidal necrophiles’ (so-called ‘necrosadists’, who will kill people just so as they can have sex with the dead) and ‘exclusive necrophile (who are psychologically and physiologically incapable of having sex with anyone living). In relation to the behaviour allegedly engaged in by Savile, he would most likely be classed as an ‘opportunistic necrophile’ (someone who engages in other types of sexual behaviour but would have sexual intercourse with a dead person if the opportunity arose).

Academic research has shown that two-thirds of the necrophiles say that their main reason for engaging in sex with corpses is the desire to possess an unresisting and unrejecting partner. The sadistic side of necrophilia has certainly been reported in some of the more extreme case studies but this appears to be rare, even among most cases of necrophilia. However, a recently published study by Michelle Stein (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, USA) and colleagues examined 211 sexual homicides. Sixteen cases involved necrophilia (8%). Their findings suggest that the most common explanation for necrophilia, i.e. the offender’s desire to have an unresisting partner, may not always be applicable in cases where necrophilia is connected to sexual murder.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Psychology Division, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Source – blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/10/24/jimmy-savile-paedophilia-and-necrophilia/

Batman Shooting Suspect ‘Called Psychiatrist’

The suspect in the Colorado cinema shooting tried unsuccessfully to call his university psychiatrist nine minutes before he opened fire during a Batman movie premiere, a court heard on Thursday.

James Holmes made the call to an after-hours number at a hospital at the University of Colorado, defence lawyer Tamara Brady said.

The number would have allowed him to reach psychiatrist Lynne Fenton, but she was not available and it was unclear why he attempted to contact her, the court heard.

Holmes, 24, is accused of the July 20 shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded.

The detail about the phone call came out during a hearing about Holmes’ relationship with Ms Fenton, to whom he sent a package containing a notebook that reportedly contained violent descriptions of an attack.

Prosecutors are asking a judge to allow them to review the notebook as part of their investigation, but defence lawyers say the journal is protected by doctor-patient privacy laws, and is inadmissible.

Ms Fenton was unaware Holmes had tried to contact her and testified that she met him only once, on June 11.

She told the court she thought their privileged relationship was limited to that day.

Source:- uk.news.yahoo.com/batman-shooting-suspect-called-psychiatrist-003636746.html

Environment & Eugenics quotes

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”
- Maurice Strong, founder of the UN Environment Programme

“A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-development means bringing our
economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.”

- Paul Ehrlich, Professor of Population Studies

“The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the US. We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are.”
- Michael Oppenheimer, Environmental Defense Fund

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Scientists teach robots how to trick humans

It sounds like something straight out of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

But, in a chilling echo of the computer Hal from the iconic film, scientists have developed robots that are able to deceive humans and even hide from their enemies.

An experiment by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology is believed to be the first detailed examination of robot deception.

The team developed computer algorithms that would let a robot ‘decide’ whether it should deceive a human or another robot and gave it strategies to give it the best chance of not being found out.

The development may alarm those who are concerned that robots who are able to practice deception are not safe to work with humans.

But researchers say that robots that are capable of deception will be  valuable in the future, particularly when used in the military.

Robots on the battlefield with the power of deception will be able to successfully hide and mislead the enemy to keep themselves and valuable information safe.

Read more…

Animal Farm – George Orwell

Animal Farm


Animal Farm is a dystopian allegorical novella by George Orwell. Published in England on 17 August 1945, the book reflects events leading up to and during the Stalin era before World War II. Orwell, a democratic socialist[1] and a member of the Independent Labour Party for many years, was a critic of Joseph Stalin and was suspicious of Moscow-directed Stalinism after his experiences with the NKVD during the Spanish Civil War. In a letter to Yvonne Davet, Orwell described Animal Farm as his novel “contre Stalin.

full screen Version – Animal Farm @ google

The article is reproduced in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

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To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill A Mocking Bird – by Harper Lee

One of the classic US drama films of all times, based on the most beloved and widely read Pulitzer Prize winner novel.

The place: a small town in the south of the United States. The time: the early 20th century. A black man is accused of raping a woman, and an idealistic lawyer gets to defend him. We start watching the reasons that make his defense far from easy; and that’s mostly because nobody in this town seems determined to believe in the guiltlessness of an accused negro.

Atticus Finch, a lawyer in the Depression-era South, defends a black man against an undeserved rape charge, and his kids against prejudice.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a novel by Harper Lee published in 1960. It was instantly successful, winning the Pulitzer Prize, and has become a classic of modern American literature. The plot and characters are loosely based on the author’s observations of her family and neighbors, as well as on an event that occurred near her hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old.

The novel is renowned for its warmth and humor, despite dealing with the serious issues of rape and racial inequality. The narrator’s father, Atticus Finch, has served as a moral hero for many readers and as a model of integrity for lawyers. One critic explains the novel’s impact by writing, “In the twentieth century, To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its protagonist, Atticus Finch, the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism.”

To kill a Mockingbird – Wikipedia

Free To Kill a Mocking Bird pdf

The article is reproduced in accordance with Section 107 of title 17 of the Copyright Law of the United States relating to fair-use and is for the purposes of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

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