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Samoa Cancelled Dec. 31st last year

Chart from Rarotonga, Cook Island to American ...

There was no Dec. 31st in Samoa in 2011. At midnight on Dec. 30th, the country switched to the western side of the International Dateline (to be date-aligned with China, its main trading partner), thus setting the date to Jan. 1st instead of Dec. 31st. (via Discovery News). I wonder how many Samoans missed a Dec. 31st birthday.

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Animals Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before

‘…[T]here’s something remarkable and whimsical that happens when a fine art photographer takes her lens to Earth’s creatures — they become poetry. Today, we turn to five such photographers, whose portraits of animals — unusual, otherworldly, kooky, tender, charismatic — make the eye swoon and the heart sing.’ (via Brain Pickings).

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Emperor’s-New-Clothes Dept.

 

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 09:  Philip Dukes hold...

Violinists can’t tell the difference between Stradivarius violins and new ones: ‘The test was a true “ double-blind” one, as neither the players nor the people who gave them the violins had any way of knowing which instrument was which. The room was dimly lit. The players were wearing goggles so they couldn’t see properly. The instruments had dabs of perfume on the chinrests that blocked out any distinctive smells. And even though Fritz and Curtin knew which the identities of the six violins, they only passed the instruments to the players via other researchers, who were hidden by screens, wearing their own goggles, and quite literally in the dark.’ (via Not Exactly Rocket Science).

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F.D.A. Finds Short Supply of Attention Deficit Drugs

High Dopamine Transporter Levels Not Correlate...

“Medicines to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are in such short supply that hundreds of patients complain daily to the Food and Drug Administration that they are unable to find a pharmacy with enough pills to fill their prescriptions.

The shortages are a result of a troubled partnership between drug manufacturers and the Drug Enforcement Administration, with companies trying to maximize their profits and drug enforcement agents trying to minimize abuse by people, many of them college students, who use the medications to get high or to stay up all night.” (via NYTimes.com).

As a psychophwho did early research and treatment of the putative condition of “adult ADHD”, I have come to believe that around 90% of diagnoses with this disorder are specious. A careful clinical decision about whether stimulants should be prescribed has to go much further than simply deciding if the pt will benefit from (or enjoy) being on these medications, for that would be true of most people. Such care is rarely applied in the evaluation of those who end up receiving a stimulant prescription. While the NYTimes article touches upon the tragedy of auto accidents and job loss that arises from attention-disordered patients not getting their medications, I see patients all the time who are victims of misdiagnosis and misprescribing. This is no moralistic diatribe against “abuse”, which is often in the eyes of the beholder, but based rather on the real adverse and dire consequences, including strokes, seizures, addiction, depressive ‘crashes’ from abrupt cessation, and suicide. Not to mention the contribution to the shortsighed and pervasive promulgation of the paradigm that better living through chemistry is the only way to attain better living. We have crippled a generation of patients with such a message of pharmacological materialism.