Super-Friendly Empaths: Williams Syndrome

You don't have to have Williams Syndrome to be a friendly empath, but it sure can help! I'm taking a behavioral genetics course and this delightful video really got everyone talking--and getting misty! Yes, it might make you teary.

Where Everybody Wants to Be Your Friend, a YouTube vid from ABC News.

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Veterans Miss War? Many do--and this has Implications for Healing

Image: Seeking meaning
I'm thinking about veteran's mental health issues--especially in light of concerns about VA delays and neglect here in the States, and in light of disastrous meltdowns that many vets are experiencing.

This Ted talk looks at an important piece of the puzzle: Returning from war and the incredible bonding and meaning that can occur in the field.

Why veterans miss war by Sebastian Junger

A Deeper Look at Deportations from the U.S.

This article goes into some very interesting things about the deportation problem. Most of us know that there has been a huge number of deportations under Obama. But why? In related articles, it is pointed out that the only Dems voting against immigration reform happen to have very large numbers of people in private prisons. Guess who's helping them get elected?

Then there's the idea that too many immigrants eventually becoming able to vote would swing things too far toward the left. And there's the effect of deportation on employment numbers. I'm sure there are more theories.

Who Says You're Mindless? The "Out-Group."

Diversity Intolerance Image
Researchers have come up with some really clever ways to plumb the unconscious. Recently, they explored the way we dehumanize our fellow primates that happen to reside on the other end of the political spectrum. Of course, this was an American study, because here our equivalent of the gladiators and Colosseum are people we think are brilliant pundits vs. idiots on television. Here, polarization is the sport and vituperation is our bread and circus.

Antidepressants: More Bad News

I'm not an anti-pharmaceutical person, but we need to know the risks of antidepressants. Someday, I hope people will be able to look back upon the psychotropic drugs of today as we do the Dark Ages. But for now, we have to consider some really negative things about these meds. We already know that the drug companies have been very manipulative. They have affected researchers and doctors in scandalous ways, and some very noteworthy examples have made it into the press and led to serious fines as well.

Fobidden Mexican Names Probably Should Be

In Sonora, people have been giving their babies some quirky names. It might seem overly paternal, but some of those names have been outlawed. The authorities said they wanted to prevent bullying. The biggest list I could find came from the Guardian. Here they are:

Burger King

Robocop

Terminator

Hitler

Lady Di

Email

Virgen (Virgin)

Escroto (Scrotum)

Hermione (From 

Batman

Usnavy (US Navy)

Quirky and Economic News that Caught my Eye

Some quirky news from Mexico (and a business spotlight).

Art Into Space

First, a Mexico is going to launch a nanosatillite into space to share Mexican culture. It will have one job: broadcasting music by 11 composers. It's name is Ulises (as in Ulysses, from the Iliad) and it will launch from the Kingdom of Tonga. It's the brainchild of an organization called CEM, that includes artists dedicated to taking art into space.

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Trigger Alert, but No Reveal: The Counselor (the Movie)

Cameron Diaz makes love to a Ferrari

I want to warn you about the movie The Counselor--even if you're aching to see Cameron Diaz make love to a Ferrari's windshield while mesmerizing Javier Bardem. The warning is not because the movie pretends to be deep, and not because it's directed by Ridley Scott, who made an awfully scientifically inept science fiction movie called Prometheus (and as a result is now scorned by geeks), and not because of the many bad reviews.

Men and a Culture Shift: The Depression Blind Spot

Chart: Stress Interacts with Trait Neuroticism
We need to recognize that men's emotions and vulnerabilities are real and valid. But it is so programmed into us to be in denial about this, that we may not realize how much we act as though men's feelings don't count. This contributes to a lot of bad results that affect everyone.

Chantix Safe for Quitting Smoking? Alternatives?

Ashtray

Results from a new study of over 40,000 people suggest that the worries about side effects of Chantix may be greatly exaggerated. (Remember the debunking of concerns about MSG, that turned out to be mostly manufactured by the media and rumors?) I'm not thrilled with the idea of an antidepressant for quitting smoking, but many people have used it successfully, despite the millions that drug manufacturer Pfizer has paid out over claims against Chantix.

If you prefer an alternative, and just deciding to quit is not enough, I write about them below. 

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