The ABC of Psychological Medicine:

[Weary 1887 by Edward Radford (1831-1920)]

Fatigue can refer to a subjective symptom of malaise and aversion to activity or to objectively impaired performance. It has both physical and mental aspects. The symptom of fatigue is a poorly defined feeling, and careful inquiry is needed to clarify complaints of “fatigue,” “tiredness,” or “exhaustion” and to distinguish lack of energy from loss of motivation or sleepiness, which may be pointers to specific diagnoses… ” A review of the concept and medical implications, in the British Medical Journal Sharpe and Wilks 325 (7362): 480

Time to Call for His Resignation

Nat Hentoff on General Ashcroft’s Detention Camps:

Now more Americans are also going to be dispossessed of every fundamental legal right in our system of justice and put into camps. Jonathan Turley reports that Justice Department aides to General Ashcroft “have indicated that a ‘high-level committee’ will recommend which citizens are to be stripped of their constitutional rights and sent to Ashcroft’s new camps.”

It should be noted that Turley, who tries hard to respect due process, even in unpalatable situations, publicly defended Ashcroft during the latter’s turbulent nomination battle, which is more than I did.

Again, in his Los Angeles Times column, Turley tries to be fair: “Of course Ashcroft is not considering camps on the order of the internment camps used to incarcerate Japanese American citizens in World War II. But he can be credited only with thinking smaller; we have learned from painful experience that unchecked authority, once tasted, easily becomes insatiable.”

Turley insists that “the proposed camp plan should trigger immediate Congressional hearings and reconsideration of Ashcroft’s fitness for important office. Whereas Al Qaeda is a threat to the lives of our citizens, Ashcroft has become a clear and present threat to our liberties.”

Hentoff concludes, aptly:

Meanwhile, as the camps are being prepared, the braying Terry McAuliffe and the pack of Democratic presidential aspirants are campaigning on corporate crime, with no reference to the constitutional crimes being committed by Bush and Ashcroft. As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis prophesied: “The greatest menace to freedom is an inert people.” And an inert Democratic leadership. See you in a month, if I’m not an Ashcroft camper. Village Voice

First Scrimmage

Spellbound: “Every September, the office of the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Cincinnati issues a crisp new edition of Paideia, a comic-size booklet that lists thousands of obscure words that will appear in spelling bees across the country over the coming year — words that any competitive speller in America should know cold. Most families wait for their Paideia to arrive at school; but serious devotees know when the advance audio version of Paideia will go up on the Scripps Howard Web site. On that day each year, the Goldsteins of West Hempstead, N.Y. — Amy, Ari, J.J. and Amanda, along with their parents, Jonathan and Mona — assemble like the Von Trapps in a thunderstorm. The whole family squeezes into Amy’s bedroom and fires up the computer, and the familiar, baronial voice of the National Spelling Bee pronouncer, Alex J. Cameron, carefully enunciates each new addition to the list — aition, campanile, kittel, giaour. Each Goldstein sits with pen and paper in hand, as still and focused as a game-show contestant, and spells the words, one by one. It takes hours.” NY Times Magazine


Why the President Can’t Lose in November: “It sounds so Machiavellian, even treasonous, that no one at the White House would dare endorse such an outcome — at least not in public.

But many prominent Republicans, including some of President Bush’s most faithful backers, are convinced that the most certain way for Mr. Bush to continue to rise politically, and ultimately win re-election in 2004, is for Republicans to, well, lose in November.” NY Times That, and to have been the sitting President during an unprecedented terrorist attack…

Accountable Predictions

Long Bets: This offshoot of the Long Now Foundation — the clock people, Danny Hillis, Stewart Brand, etc. — is intended “to improve long-term thinking. Long Bets is a public arena for enjoyably competitive predictions, of interest to society, with philanthropic money at stake. The foundation furnishes the continuity to see even the longest bets through to public resolution. This website provides a forum for discussion about what may be learned from the bets and their eventual outcomes.” Even odds, yes/no questions of societal or scientific importance are posed to thinkers who designate a charity to receive the proceeds of their bet if they win. “Set up as a form of giving, Long Bets engages long-term thinking and long-term responsibility in even more ways.”

Bets start at $1000, so that some of the yield from investing the money can go to the cost of “maintaining institutional and technical continuity to keep track of Long Bets and manage the whole service over decades and centuries…” The project was launched prominently in the April 2002 Wired magazine issue with some interesting bet subjects posed by Wired editors to celebrity bettors.


are the recorded bets to date; “you can read the arguments written by each bettor in favor of their position, participate in discussion and place parallel bets.” Bets listed to date have terms ranging between 5 years and 148 years, although there’s one about whether the universe will eventually stop expanding with a ‘?’ listed for its duration. (Years have fto have ive digits to deal with the Y10K problem.)