‘Doomsday’ seed bank to be built

“Norway is planning to build a “doomsday vault” inside a mountain on an Arctic island to hold a seed bank of all known varieties of the world’s crops.

The Norwegian government will hollow out a cave on the ice-bound island of Spitsbergen to hold the seed bank. It will be designed to withstand global catastrophes like nuclear war or natural disasters that would destroy the planet’s sources of food.

Seed collection is being organised by the Global Crop Diversity Trust. “What will go into the cave is a copy of all the material that is currently in collections [spread] all around the world,” Geoff Hawtin of the Trust told the BBC’s Today programme. Mr Hawtin said there were currently about 1,400 seed banks around the world, but a large number of these were located in countries that were either politically unstable or that faced threats from the natural environment.” (BBC)

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Full Moon Names for 2006

More lunacy: “Full Moon names date back to Native Americans, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. Those tribes of a few hundred years ago kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full Moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred.

There were some variations in the Moon names, but in general the same ones were current throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England on west to Lake Superior.

European settlers followed their own customs and created some of their own names. Since the lunar (“synodic”) month is roughly 29.5 days in length on average, the dates of the full Moon shift from year to year.

Below are all the Full Moon names, as well as the dates and times, for the next twelve months.” (Yahoo! News)

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A Hearing About Nothing

E.J.Dionne: “A listless intellectual fog had fallen over the Senate hearing room on Tuesday, the first full day of questioning for Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. before the Judiciary Committee. As one Democratic senator strode out to the hallway during an afternoon break, he leaned toward me and said: “We have to hit him harder.”

The senator was expressing frustration over a process that doesn’t work. It turns out that, especially when their party controls the process, Supreme Court nominees can avoid answering any question they don’t want to answer.” (Washington Post op-ed)

Are Hyperactive Kids the ‘Indigo’s?

Are They Here to Save the World? “If you have not been in an alternative bookstore lately, it is possible that you have missed the news about indigo children. They represent “perhaps the most exciting, albeit odd, change in basic human nature that has ever been observed and documented,” Lee Carroll and Jan Tober write in The Indigo Children: The New Kids Have Arrived (Hay House). The book has sold 250,000 copies since 1999 and has spawned a cottage industry of books about indigo children.

…Indigo children were first described in the 1970’s by a San Diego parapsychologist, Nancy Ann Tappe, who noticed the emergence of children with an indigo aura, a vibrational color she had never seen before. This color, she reasoned, coincided with a new consciousness.

In The Indigo Children, Mr. Carroll and Ms. Tober define the phenomenon. Indigos, they write, share traits like high I.Q., acute intuition, self-confidence, resistance to authority and disruptive tendencies, which are often diagnosed as attention-deficit disorder, known as A.D.D., or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or A.D.H.D.” (New York Times)

As readers of FmH know, I have treated ADHD for a long time in my psychiatric practice but have been appalled by its burgeoning and unsystematic, laughably faddish overdiagnosis. It is now a wastebasket diagnosis comprising some children with a characteristic set of hardwired neurocognitive deficits in the regulation of attentional processes (who deserve the diagnosis); some with other psychiatric causes of inattention, distractibilityor impulsivity (warranting other psychiatric diagnoses), some children at the mercurial, impulsive or energetic end of the temperament spectrum; and some children whose difficulty paying sustained attention, avoiding distraction or maintaining decorum are shaped by sociocultural rather than internal influences. These latter two groups of ADHDers really do not warrant a psychiatric diagnosis at all.

While I have no affinity for diagnosis by aura, I think Carroll and Tober may be overcompensating for the overpathologizing with an equally silly lionization of the ‘ADHD child’. On the other hand, I do think that some children come to be seen as having attention deficit disorder in the classroom because the stultifying curriculum does not hold their interest and they are all over the map seeking stimulation. In my children’s school system, the townwide parent interest group for gifted and talented children is full of the parents of children with different, and often difficult, learning styles, and it is no accident.