Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Soundtrack to my Life

"Dog Days are Over" - Florence and the Machine. This was my friend Sydney's favorite song before she was killed in a car accident last September. Since then, it has become "her song." She was on the dance team with me, so in memory of her, we performed a dance to this song for our senior night (she should have been one of the seniors with the rest of us). Anytime I'm missing her, I put it on. Anytime I hear it somewhere else, I think of it as a sign from her saying "hi" or something. It can either make me smile and incredibly happy, or the second I hear it, I might break down into tears. Basically this song represents losing her to me and has had a really big impact on me over the last year.

"Return to Pooh Corner" - Kenny Loggins. When I was little, I was a little bit of a difficult child, to say the least. I was a mommy's girl and loved cuddling and was incredibly attached to her. I think some of my earliest memories are being rocked by either my mom or dad, trying to get me to fall asleep, listening to the Kenny Loggins CD. This was my favorite song to listen to. Plus, I've always loved Whinnie the Pooh. Recently, I found this CD again and put it on my computer. I've noticed that I usually can't fall asleep to music, or it at least starts to bother me eventually, but the other night I tried falling asleep to this CD and fell asleep quickly and relaxed. I guess it's a really good way to get me to fall asleep.

"Save Tonight" - Eagle Eye Cherry. This song is a camp song. It's been one for a long time, and whenever I hear it, I think of camp. I've been at camp every summer since I was two years old, except I missed one summer, but still stopped by a few times over the summer. It's literally another home to. We always listen to this song on the last night of camp when we are all crying and not wanting to leave.

"Back to 3BC" and "Beber Boogie" - Beber Song Leaders. These are songs written about my camp. I already kind of explained how camp is a big part of me, so these songs mean a lot.

"Cyclone" - Baby Bash. This has been one of my favorite songs since freshman year of high school. I love dancing/dance parties and this song is an amazing song to dance to.

"Hiding Under Water" - Beth Hart. This was our jazz song my sophomore year of high school. I absolutely love the song, and I loved the dance. My coach always gave us stories to go along with our jazz songs to help us incorporate our emotions. The story for this one was kind of weird, and I couldn't even really relate, but it still has a lot of meaning for me. She told us it was about a recovering drug addict suffering to overcome the addiction.

"Gravity" - Sara Bareilles. This was our jazz song my senior year of high school. I already explained how my coach gave us stories to go along with the dances, so of course we had one for this too. And this one was about Sydney. We walked through each movement and discussed our struggle as a team. I can still feel the pain I felt performing this dance. It was incredibly hard the first few times, but then we learned to control our emotions a little better. But I love on of the last lines that says, "something always brings me back to you." I guess I felt like it was a way for us to show her that we'll never for get her.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Research Practice

"There is a significant risk that extends to low and moderate BACs."

Moskowitz, H and Burns, M. (1990). Effects of alcohol on driving performance. Alcohol Research and Health, 14, 1, 12-14.

This article is a summary and discussion of other research on levels of blood alcohol levels' effects on driving. It is quite general and outdated, so I may not be able to use very much information from it. It is definitely a good start, because it gives an overview of the types of skills that are effected by alcohol. This quote is important, because the article really emphasizes that even low BACs effect certain skills in driving. This article actually made me change my mind slightly on the exact focus of the research paper. I am now just going to research the effects of alcohol on skills related to driving, instead of specifically how it affects the brain. It gave me a general idea of what skills I will need to specifically research in relation to alcohol.

"As has been shown, alcohol and other drugs produce numerous losses which can and do result in increased risk of motor vehicle crashes."

Dennis, M. (2010). Driving crash risks associated with alcohol and other drugs. The Chronicle for DE Professionals. 8-9.

This article gives general effects of alcohol at different BACs. It gives general effects from alcohol, effects related to driving, and effects related to crashes. It also gives these effects related to other drugs and a combination of other drugs with alcohol. This article isn't very detailed, so I don't know how much information I could really use from it. I am also only interested in the effects related to alcohol, so most of this article wouldn't be useful. I also question the credibility of the source because the author refers to alcohol as a "villain." This quote is useful, though, because I am going to research the different effects at different levels of BAC, and it gives me a general relation of BAC to driving impairment.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ronson Chapter 10 & 11

In Chapter 10 of The Psychopath Test, Ronson explains mental disorder checklists came about in the DSM. He found that the scientologists disagree with almost all of the mental disorders and don't think people should be diagnosed with them. They have found the DSM to have gone too far, almost diagnosing every person with some kind of disorder. Ronson also tells the story of Rosenhan who asked friends to go to psychiatric hospitals and make one statement about voices in their heads but otherwise act completely normal. They were all diagnosed with some kind of mental disorder. This caused a lot of questioning about psychiatrist after the truth came out. This is what caused Robert Spitzer to decide to organize the DSM-III. He explained that the older DSM's weren't good enough because there was no way of measuring each disorder, so he made sure that each disorder he put in the DSM-III had a checklist. After the details of the DSM, Ronson found that there has been problems with the US over diagnosing people and having too many checklists which has caused almost anyone to qualify to having some kind of disorder, what the scientologists were so angry about. He also tells stories about children diagnosed with bipolar disorder, who probably shouldn't have been, because bipolar disorder does not usually occur in young children. These problems have caused too many children to be put on medication when they probably shouldn't be.

What is Ronson's final stance at the end of the book? I don't really get if he has taken the side of psychiatrist, agreeing with mental disorder checklists, or the side of scientologists. I think he really is unsure and agrees with both maybe, but will he still be able to be convinced either way? This book makes me question whether it is right to have all these checklists the diagnose people with mental disorders. How does it make sense that if someone has an untreatable disorder, they can be freed from a mental hospital? Are psychopaths treatable? Are any mental disorders treatable? This makes me wonder how someone can decide whether someone has a mental disorder and whether they can treat it. How can someone even know? I just don't know what I think is right either, and there is so much ambiguity with the checklists, that I don't know if I think psychiatrist have the right to determine these things or treat them.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Blog Assignment 6

In chapter 8 of Jon Ronson's The Psychopath Test, he mainly discusses the ideas of a man named David Shayler. He first starts off by telling the story of a woman named Rachel North who was in the carriage of a subway that exploded on July 7, 2005. He explains that because of the trauma it caused Rachel, she began to write a blog about it. This triggered many conspiracy theorists to comment and discuss how they thought this and even 9/11 were inside jobs. In Rachel's fight to explain the truth, she came across a man named David Shayler. He had been an M15 spy and believed in three main theories. He believed that the July 7th bombings were an inside job, that the 9/11 planes were really holograms, and that he was the Messiah. The first two ideas were well received, but the last was too extreme. This caused Ronson to question every person's madness and how the media affected this.

I found chapter 8 to be a little confusing because at first I didn't realized how Rachel and Shayler had anything to do with each other, and I also didn't know what M15 was. I found Shayler really strange. I thought it was interesting, though, that Ronson never accused Shayler of being a psychopath. It makes me wonder why he is even including this since his whole book is basically him trying to accuse people of being psychopaths. Then right away in chapter 9, he talks about the concierge at a hotel that Bob Hare claimed was a psychopath. I found his talk with Paul Britton to be really interesting. I can totally understand why he included this chapter. I think the point of having it in his book is to show how the ability to identify a psychopath can be a dangerous tool. During the criminal profiling of this case they discussed, the police wrongfully accused someone of being a sexual psychopath and a murderer. I also found this case to be quite like an episode of Law and Order, which I think allowed me to imagine everything more clearly. I think this chapter sent the message that identifying psychopaths can really be a negative power for someone to have.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Something Borrowed Summary

In "Something Borrowed," Gladwell questions plagiarism by giving many examples of questionable acts of "borrowing" or taking ideas from others. The main example he gives is about how play writer, Lavery, took ideas and even some phrases directly from both Gladwell's work on a psychiatrist named Lewis and her own book itself. He discusses how he was unsure of whether he should side with Lewis, who was very upset, and help win a lawsuit against Lavery. Then, he felt that it was exactly stealing. He compares this with copying artists in music; he doesn't really think that using someone else's ideas is stealing. He thinks there are many other factors when considering if something is stealing someone's property. In the end, he let Lavery come talk to him about her mistakes and somewhat feels for her and understands that she just made a mistake.

I found this article to be pretty interesting. I agree with your past students, in that keeping track of all of the different people was a little confusing, but I really liked Gladwell's thoughts. I often question how someone can "own" a simple phrase. I agree that its not really fair to make an idea someone's property. I really liked that he showed professor Lawrence Lessig's idea of a comparison between a picnic table and someone's ideas. I agree that words and ideas can't necessarily be considered someone's property. I think Gladwell is a little confused about what he believes is right, and after reading this, I too am still confused on whether I think plagiarism is stealing or not.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Blog Assignment Four

In chapter seven of Jon Ronson's The Psychopath Test, Ronson talks about his encounters with a friend named Adam Curtis and a TV producer named Charlotte Scott. Adam Curtis questioned Ronson's methods of research and journalism, which lead Ronson to begin to question his own sanity. Curtis explained that Ronson's methods were very similar to other journalists' methods, but Ronson wondered if there were other approaches, so he talked to Charlotte Scott. She explained that her job was to talk to people in crisis and decide weather they were "just mad enough" to be put on TV. She explained how she detached herself from the people she talked to, and one time, put a man on a show who later cut his wrists while on the phone with her. After talking to her, Ronson was satisfied in his own research methods.

I found chapter six to be very odd. I don't really get where that came from, or how Ronson decided to go talk to Al Dunlap. Dunlap has lots of power and was known for firing many employees heartlessly, so Ronson was inclined to believe he was a psychopath. While he was giving Dunlap Bob Hare's psychopath checklist, he realized that there were many things that Dunlap got zeros on. I still don't really understand weather Ronson thinks Dunlap is a psychopath or not, and I found it very hard for me to tell either. He definitely had some very odd habits, like his sculptures of predatory animals and no feeling of remorse when he fired his employees, but then again, he had a loving wife with no accusations of adultery and was a well-behaved child. During both this chapter and chapter seven, I began to question Ronson's sanity also. Why is he so obsessed with people who may be psychopaths? I also found Scott's stories about reality TV shows to be quite disturbing, and I wonder how people can have those jobs without feeling remorse? Are they all psychopaths too?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Blog Assignment 3

How does alcohol affect the brain and therefore, impair driving?

I think this would be an interesting topic, because we often see the effects of alcohol affecting driving in the real world. I thought that if I asked just how alcohol affects the brain, it would be too broad of a topic. I would like to know how it affects the brain specifically relating to how that impairs driving. I would probably look at medical websites, and I think there will probably be a lot out there. I could also then find examples of how it has affected driving to demonstrate those brain effects. I don't know the specifics of what alcohol does to the brain, but I assume I'll find out more details which explain how it impairs driving. 

I might find that alcohol affects other parts of the body, so questions may come up relating to that rather than specifically the brain. I don't know exactly how it affects the brain, so if it only does in one specific way, I might have trouble writing 10 pages about it. On the other hand, if it affects the brain drastically, this could be really easy.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Jon Ronson Blog Assignment 2

In chapter four of The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson discusses the possibility of psychopaths being the reason for all of the bad in the world. In 1975, he attended a conference to learn abut Bob Hare's psychopath checklist. Bob showed examples of videos of psychopaths explaining having no feeling of remorse and many of the other items on the checklist. He was able to come to the conclusion that psychopaths are likely to re-offend and don't have the same connects between the amygdalae and the central nervous system. Ronson quickly learned that psychopaths are often the people he'd least expect, because they put on acts based on their studying of peoples emotions; they are often very manipulative and charming. Psychopaths are often found in high places with lots of power. They also Ronson learned a lot about studies that have been done on psychopaths, and now has a feeling that he can assess whether a person is a psychopath or not.

I found Ronson's fourth chapter to be very interesting. I think that there are probably a lot more psychopaths in the world than we realize or know of, but I don't think they are the sole cause for all evil things. I don't think it's fair to place people into only two categories, psychopaths and non-hpsychopaths. I believe there are many other types of people and other reasons for bad things that happen. I found Ronson's fifth chapter also to be very interesting. Toto Constant is a good example of how psychopaths can be very manipulative. Originally, Ronson was fooled by Toto, but later, talked to him again and asked questions in a specific way to see if he was a psychopath. I think this chapter shows how difficult it can be to prove someone a psychopath when they are very good at imitation and imitate non-psychopaths. They are so manipulative, it is often hard to tell what is real and what it isn't. Both of these chapters make me wonder how many psychopaths there really are and if Hare's checklist really works. Can we really define people in just these two categories?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Jon Ronson Chapter 3 Summary

In Chapter Three of The Psychopath Test, Jon Ronson discusses Elliot Barker's strange efforts of therapy at Oak Ridge hospital of the criminally insane in Ontario. Before he began working at Oak Ridge, Barker traveled the world to explore different types of therapy. He found methods of nude therapy and LSD induced therapy, which he later used when he applied to work at Oak Ridge. He held these nude and LSD therapy sessions in an attempt to cure these criminals. Ronson discusses these sessions in gross detail in an attempt to give the reader an idea of the strangeness of these methods. Many criminals over the years had been released from the hospital as "cured," but about 80% of them reoffended later in life. This shows after the many attempts to this therapy, the psychopaths were unable to be cured.

I found Ronson's third chapter to be quite disturbing. He made a strong point about how it seems that psychopaths are unable to be cured. I found it interesting that in most cases of psychopaths being released, 60% go on to reoffend, but in Barker's case, 80% went on to reoffend. It makes me question his methods, and I wonder if they actually could have made the psychopaths worse. I would expect they did, seeing that most of these therapy sessions really could have been very scarring for the patients. I would imagine them to be from the great detail Ronson provided about being strapped to others naked, for example, or someone literally living in their own feces.