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Comment Re:That's where subtle hints and irony get in. (Score 3, Insightful) 263

I have noticed two things related to this:

1. The term `irony` is often used to refer to heavily-veiled passive aggression.

1a. I think Millon provides a great description of the sort of behavior we all have encountered, although no longer (as of DSM-IV) considered a personality disorder: "They cannot decide whether to adhere to the desires of others [...] or to to turn to themselves [...], whether to be obediently dependent on others or defiantly resistant and independent of them, whether to take the initiative in mastering their world or to sit idly by, passively awaiting the leadership of others; they vacillate, then, like the proverbial donkey, moving first one way and then the other, never quite settling on which bale of hay is best. [...] ...only one essential trait is specified in characterizing the passive-aggressive personality type, that of resistance to external demands" (Millon 1981, Disorders of Personality, 244-245).

1b. I think (1a) is part of the reason why you might say that "Americans don't get irony... [a]t all". You might be confusing their lack of appreciation for irony with their recognition of and consequent disregard for passive aggression. Also, irony is highly culturally dependent.

2. My preferred method of dealing with the chronically overconfident is to ask kind and honest questions. I do not use irony; I do not use passive aggression; I do not throw punches. Instead, I assume that these people are telling the truth or overcompensating b/c of some hidden anxiety. In the first case, I think they're wrong; in the second, I think they're in need of growth. For either, I've found that the best response is to be gentle and to learn about their presuppositions.

Comment For the initiate (Score 1) 429

Let's review the distinction between terrorist and enemy combatant (although some of us may have lost sight of it):

Terrorist: member of a small group of persons who wish to cause outsize havoc in the dim hope of changing larger groups of persons

Enemy combatant: member of a large group of persons who can and do cause havoc in a rather reasonable hope of changing similarly sized groups of persons

Now, if it's not obvious already, let's realize that large groups necessarily start off small.

Comment Re:How about the low hanging fruit first? (Score 1) 561

2) A teacher acting in self defense against a student will not be punished under the law. What crime are they supposedly being locked up for? Also, this happens to a tiny fraction of teachers. Corporal punishment is a totally different thing, but it is not what you brought up [...]

In fact, corporal punishment is permitted in many parts of the US: "The Supreme Court has since, in the 1977 Ingraham v. Wright, upheld the right of public schools to use corporal punishment (in some ways the same punishment Bishop said may not be used in prison), and twenty-two states still permit corporal punishment in school" (Moskos, In Defense of Flogging, 2011: 109-110). Negative reinforcement is not generally an effective means of promoting knowledge, however.

Comment Three thoughts (Score 1) 190

1. Is three months after treatment for the follow-up assessments long enough to determine effectiveness?

I can envision something like the following:
a. The computer program is more effective at providing simple, immediate coping strategies for depression (e.g., repeating positive self-statements, setting medium-term goals and achieving them, etc.) than human intervention.
b. Human intervention is more effective at providing more complex and delayed coping strategies for depression (e.g., developing assertiveness, understanding others' motivations, etc.) than the computer program.
c. Measurements three months post-treatment show that the computer program is more effective. Measurements one year post-treatment show that human intervention is more effective.

This is totally hypothetical, but, I think, plausible.

2. Weakness of the study as noted by the authors: []

a. "We do not have good data on adherence to treatment as usual. Clinicians often forgot to fill in our forms, and for some the number of sessions planned was unclear. Adherence to SPARX was based on participants’ self report. Ideally, this would have been more robust, but attempts to collect these data on the computers at the different sites foundered as we experienced technical difficulties at some of the sites."

In comparable studies in other fields, time spent on either competing intervention is closely monitored, and, if appropriate, made as equal as possible. This is a major shortcoming.

b. "One of the main weaknesses of our study was the heterogeneity of our treatment as usual group. We considered it unethical to leave young people who had presented for help untreated. We did not have the resources to provide an alternative treatment, such as cognitive behavioural therapy or interpersonal therapy, the "gold standards.""

3. The use of computer programs as treatment is a very interesting trend in psychology and other rehabilitative fields like speech-language pathology. Diagnosis/proper categorization of the patient will become increasingly important.

Comment Re:Darn that dirty hydrogen (Score 1) 406

A nice sentiment, or something, but it doesn't make much sense when you consider that most live 'from-paycheck-to-paycheck'; there aren't any savings to degrade. It is true, though, that wages are sticky and inflation's not, so there's something to your comment over the long haul. But the effects of inflation seem mainly restricted to the upper and upper-middle classes, who can save and who are the least slave-like of our population.

Comment Television anyone? (Score 1) 295

I can't find a better source in the brief time I have, but observe the following:

This table shows breakdown of leisure activities by age. Note the rather large increase in TV hours between category 35-44 and 45-54. And note the rather large drop in chitchat hours between those same categories.

(This explanation does suffer from the fact that the youngest participants in this study are age 45.)

Comment Anti-fracking goal (Score 3, Interesting) 299

And now the goals, for anti-fracking advocates, are:

(1) to identify features in this area's geology that appear contributive to the earthquakes. To wit:
"Dr. Won-Young Kim, one of the Columbia University experts asked by the state to examine possible connections between fracking and seismic activity, said that a problem could arise if fluid moves through the ground and affects 'a weak fault, waiting to be triggered.'"

(2) start fear-mongering re "weak fault[s], waiting to be triggered" a la doomsday flicks, since obviously carcinogens leeching to the water supply aren't sufficiently frightening; maybe sudden catastrophe is more convincing than a slow wasting.

Comment Nearby even higher than that (Score 5, Informative) 387


"Here is an update on the South Pole and nearby Nico and Henry Automatic Weather Stations (AWS) record high temperatures recorded on 25 December 2011:
-- The prior record high temperature at South Pole was recorded on 27 December 1978, not on 12 December 1978, as misquoted in some sources.
-- Preliminary assessment of  the record high at Nico AWS was -8.2C or 17.2F on 25 December 2011.  This breaks the previous known record of -13.9C or 7F recorded on 4 January 2010.
-- Preliminary assessment of the record high at Henry AWS was -8.9C or 16F on 25 December 2011. This break the previous known record of -14.5C or 5.9F on 5 January 2010."

Comment Re referenced FOUNDER-EFFECT article (Score 1) 309

[[Helpful response to article, published 8 December -->]]

Language is complex, having many variables with many possible values; selection of modeled variables has tremendous impact on model's claims; seriously, claims of founder effects are unjustified when you realize that linguists are still debating the basic VARIABLES and MODES of speech perception (gestures or acoustic cues, how they relate, how speech plans are translated into articulation and into perception, rules or constraints, ranked or weighted, exemplars or not, and if so, exemplars for allophony?).

Interesting archaeological discovery -- and I'm sure interesting to historical linguists --, as always, though, the tower of babel remains a fable.

Comment Re:sold to china (Score 1) 522

"Iran will sell this drone to China, I'm sure."

It may not fetch so high a price (assuming truth of claim, integrity of wreckage, ...), if wikipedia/aviation weekly can be trusted: "The design lacks several elements common to stealth engineering, namely notched landing gear doors and sharp leading edges. It has a curved wing planform, and the exhaust is not shielded by the wing. Aviation Week postulates that these elements suggest the designers have avoided 'highly sensitive technologies' due to the near certainty of eventual operational loss inherent with a single engine design and a desire to avoid the risk of compromising leading edge technology."

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