Over the past year I’ve followed a blog called Raptitude. David, the author of the blog, publishes a new article on the average of about 1 every week or so. Almost as soon as he posts a new article I’ve found myself eagerly waiting with anticipation for his next bit of genius to post to my Pulse reader. I have a few favorites that really resonated with me. Some have even changed the way I tend to view and even interact with the world. I will add links to my favorite Raptitude articles at the end of this post for anyone interested.
Today I was pleased to find my Pulse reader had a new Raptitude article, of which I quickly devoured every word. It is again an article that delivers insight and perspective on the day to day happenings of a large part of the human race that is an interesting perspective to say the least. I hope you read it as well as take some time to dig around the Raptitude website, as there is sure to be something that everyone can relate to and enjoy reading.
New Year’s Eve, for the first time, I had an alarming moment when I realized spaceships really were watching me through the ceiling. They knew where I was in the house. I was troubled by it and said so to my friend, but by midnight I forgot, and felt much better.
Rewind a week or two. I was taking adorable pictures of my toddler nephew typing on his grandmother’s iPad, when I had one of those bewildering, revelatory moments.
I realized I was photographing a member of the first generation that will be able to revisit its entire life in sparkling, high resolution. Between me, his parents and his grandmother, there are easily more photos of him than there have been days in his life.
His brother is six months now. In 2081, when they’re both old men, they’ll be able to access their childhood in extraordinary detail. They’ll see their first Christmases, their first bike rides, their graduations and wedding days all in high resolution images and HD video, and it might seem strange to them that previous generations did not have much access at all to their pasts, aside from memories and a few grainy photographs.
Contrast that with my father, (1947-2008) of whom I’ve only seen one or two pictures of as a child. In those pictures he’s someone I don’t know. He has a smooth sepia face that could belong to just about anyone except my dad. He wore a moustache from the day I was born to the day he died and I couldn’t recognize my father in any other face.
The kids born after about 2007 constitute the first generation that’s younger than Facebook. Today, it’s fairly normal for human beings make their first appearance on the internet when they are less than a week old. Think of how many newborn photos you’ve seen posted by your Facebook friends this last year.
Defeated, I stood on the mat and let the cold air flood over me. I watched the ice fog pour over the sill like freezing smoke. I just let it have its way with me. I didn’t get mad at it, I didn’t shiver or scramble to dry off. I just let it feel like whatever it was going to feel like, and noticed something peculiar.
life is the present only. The past is thoughts in the present. The future is thoughts in the present. You can argue all you want that the past “existed”, but the notion of something having existed is also just a thought in the present.
Share a lesson you wish you had learned earlier in life.
Every failed relationship you have ever had is your fault.
I’m not saying that you were the reason your ex cheated, absolutely refused to work, or was abusive… but you chose that person to be your partner – potentially unaware of the ‘type’ of person he or she was, and remained in that relationship up to a certain point… that point was when you learned your lesson.
… think about your last relationship, and why it ended…. There was something there that you just would not accept… and because of that, your relationship came to an end. Something else happened, though… you became smarter.
She is a warrior in my opinion, fighting to bring awareness to an epidemic of injustices suffered by children across the world. She fights not with her fists, but her body, in beautiful dance. A dance to bring awareness to the problem of childhood sexual assault. My message to her is to stay strong. You have an amazing opportunity to inspire change and bring awareness. Who knows how many young lives will be changed for the better through your stories and sharing your dance. Though I’ve never met her, I feel a strong bond forged by similar stories we’ve endured. She’s a warrior for the young and innocent. I admire her strength and send her much love and respect.
You can also read more about her mission and her story from The Star Online.
At the beginning of American Beauty, just as Lester Burnham is beginning is spectacular breakdown, the movie’s tagline can be seen behind him, pinned to the wall of his cubicle. A little white sticker reads, “Look closer.”
Thank you to writer Lucia Stacey and thoughtcatalog.com for the funny piece that inspired me to rant a bit. Below my own thoughts on the subject, I’ve pasted the article written by Lucia Stacey as well as a link to the article on thoughtcatalog.com.
I have recently experienced a new and much bolder breed of “double down texting bandits” and just commented about this last night to a specific text etiquette faux pas Récidiviste. Don’t worry, said texter only suffered minor bruising to the ego and is certain to recover in no time at all. Don’t worry, said texter only suffered minor bruising to the ego and is certain to recover in no time at all. Sorry about the sentence double down. I sure hope the afore mentioned affliction isn’t contagious.
***** *******: Getting closer to trash nite….
Message Received: 10:48 PM, June 14
***** *******: Getting closer to trash nite….
Message Received: 10:51 PM, June 14
Me: Ya know, I’ve never heard you stut-tut-tut-tutter when ya talk but I’ll be damned if you don’t stutter when ya text.
Message Sent: 10:53 PM, June 14
***** *******: Lol
Message Received: 10:54 PM, June 14
Now, I’m not usually to bitchy when it comes to the text messages I receive. I don’t have the heart to kick every tacky texter in the teeth. This would include almost (but not all) everyone I know. Btw, the worst offenders… are my children.
So I’ve learned to live with it and have found that, during times of mind numbing boredom, deciphering some text-a-tretchification can be entertaining. I’m familiar with the usual suspects:
1.) Lolz, c u l8r, roflmaoasimp ect…
2.) Yur gunna hafta chry hawrd tu n-turp-wrut tha n-flex-shun uv dis un.
3.) The “Text-a-Turret” who fires of so many texts, and so fast, that you don’t have time to respond to the previous 3 before being pelted with the next round of texts.
4.) The “Oops, sorry I must have texted you by accident, lolz” who will send you a text about something random and completely out of the blue in effort to elicit a response, start a convo, or just generally pique your interest or pluck your nerve. It looks a little like this;
No silly, what would make you think that?
Side note: me and my friends had a list of such random sentences we would use to play a game while bored together. I’ll elaborate on the rules and details we came up with to occupy ourselves in a seperate post.
5.) The “Dooms Day Inspirational Chain Text Sender” who will send you no less than 5 of the longest winded, graphics and sound included, if you don’t reply to me and forward 10 times you’ll die a skank but because I think so highly of you I sent this to you to remind you how great of a person you are. Yes, we all have that friend, and they’re probably websurfing for the next Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw:Fw: Chain text to Blast right now.
6.) The “Slow to never Reply Texter” who has no concept of the Time/Text ratio. (I admit, I’m guilty of this one myself)
Truth be told, I could probably go on forever adding to this list. But I’m sure I have a text or 4 to respond to and this post is about to excede the blog length/attention span ratio.
To text twice in a row, or not to text twice in a row? It seems I’m asked this at least once a day, during semi-formals week or at the start of a friend’s new relationship maybe 6 times in a day. I can tell you of about a hundred (thousand) or so terrible incidents my friends and I have run into with the dreaded double text, and how it can make you look
a. like a freak
b. completely desperate
c. beyond stupid
So let’s start with some extreme examples.
Example 1: My best friend, let’s call her Lauren (because Lauren Conrad is my dream television best friend and it makes sense to me), had a particularly bad case of the double texts a few months ago. She’d been hooking up with this guy for about five months, but like a lot of the men we seem to come across he was commitment-phobic (or maybe they all know how neurotic we are). It was a typical Friday night –we were all having drinks and bitching about our weeks and preparing ourselves for the madness that would be the rest of our night. Lauren decided to text –let’s call him Adam –and ask if he was headed to the same party that we were headed to. Forty minutes passed, as did three more rounds of drinks and we decided to head down to the party. We arrived at the party but decided to head down to the party. We arrived at the party but Adam wasn’t there. Lauren had another drink and thirty minutes later decided to text him…again, “Wanna meet up later?” She waited another hour or so (2 more drinks), and when still no text was received she decided to send the absolutely forbidden triple text, “Yo, where are you?” [NOTE: never ever ever ever ever do this] Five minutes or so later Adam texted her back: “Headed back to my house with Ashley” (Ashley being the girl he used to hook up with). Let this be a lesson to you all friends. This particular malady was remedied by a late night cheeseburger, four more beers, and an endless tirade of bitching. You don’t want to be the girl pouring your heart out to the drive through attendant at McDonalds (I’m usually that girl and it’s honestly no fun).
Example 2: Another one of my friends sent a booty text to a guy she’d only hooked up with once: “My room? Now?” Two hours later, in a state of embarrassment and bad judgment she sent a follow up, “Or tomorrow?” –No response. Ever. There is hope though (sort of –things didn’t end up working out with this guy…typical) but anyway, here’s a time where the double text resulted in absolute success.
I’d been hooking up with this guy for an entire weekend (basically a lifetime) and I wanted to carry this ‘romance’ on into the coming week. He’d mentioned that his dog was coming to town (yes, to visit him –his mum was bringing the puppy to stay for a couple of days). Around 4 o’clock on Monday (almost 24 hours since I’d last seen or heard from him) I decided I’d send the ever so tempting “bait” text. A “bait” text is when you say something that is supposed to illicit you the response you hoped for and simultaneously tests the guy’s intelligence level and level of interest in you. The most typical example of a “bait” text is, “I’m tired, I need a nap!” Now, if the boy is interested and remotely intelligent it is expected that he will take the bait and respond with, “We could nap together” (NOTE: you cannot send this text too early in the relationship, otherwise if he does get the implication he may freak out –but more about that another time).
So back to my dog-lovin’ lover –I’d decided that it was time to text him (again NOTE: if a guy doesn’t text you for more than 24 hours after a hook up then your actions should be carefully monitored by cynical and objective friends) I was trying to think of bait with which to snag his interest when it came to me, the dog (not literally, obviously). So I sent him what I boastingly told my friends was guaranteed to illicit a response: “How’s spending time with your dog?! Are you happy to see her?”
2 hours passed, then 4 hours. I did the usual: deleted his number, swore I was over the whole thing, realized I wasn’t, Facebook stalked until I found a group he’d joined where someone had dropped their phone in a pool and needed numbers (don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about), got his number from there, and decided to send the dreaded DOUBLE text. At this point, even more time had passed and all hope was lost anyway, so, dignity between my gritted teeth, I sent a second message, “Do I get to meet your puppy?” 5 minutes passed and just as I was getting ready to crack open the emergency bag of ‘feel better’ BBQ chips I keep in my drawer, my phone dinged:
“Yeah, definitely! Want to come spend the night and meet her?”
So, there is one success story of the double text, though I’m pretty sure it’s an anomaly and shouldn’t ever be used as rationale for your own double texts. In general though, double texts are rarely acceptable and ONLY appropriate if:
a. There was a typo that you have to correct from the previous text
b. There was misinformation in the previous text that you need to correct
c. You’re already dating the guy and he doesn’t care
d. You don’t mind throwing your dignity to the wind and gaining five pounds from ‘I need to feel better about my self’ food binges.
Molesters versus the sex lab: Controversial testing technique a key to stopping child abusers
BY GENE SAPAKOFF
Monday, June 6, 2011
It is another disturbing and productive day inside William Burke’s modest Summerville office. A photo of a scantily clad little boy pops up on a laptop, followed by a picture of a bound and gagged young woman.
The Visual Sexual Preference test images keep coming, one as innocent as a girl in a one-piece swimsuit —department store catalog stuff —and the next something way more sordid.
Burke explains that his clients, many of them prisoners, must watch carefully before the exam is over.
“The first time, you just see the slides,” Burke says, nodding at the screen. “The second time, you have to rank them on a scale of 1-7 by how sexually interested you are in them or how disgusted you are. So I guess you get the idea on how that works. Later, we can go down the hall.”
Down the hall is the Sexual Arousal Lab. ‘We’re testing someone right now,’ Burke says.
Inside a 12-by-12-foot room, a shackled and handcuffed man let out of an Upstate jail for the day is viewing a series of 27 photos —with a state-of-the-art plethysmograph firmly attached.
An armed guard stands watch as the device —essentially a penile polygraph —measures arousal.
There is audio too. For instance, the voice of a man who has spotted a boy in a camp shower room.
Burke, 53, has been using the plethysmograph (or PPG) and other innovative ways of preventing child abuse since 1996. Not everyone endorses the technology in use at more than 100 testing facilities in the U.S.; results are challenged in court, and a Lowcountry judge once dubbed him a ‘witch doctor.’
Photo by Wade Spees This prisoner is undergoing a sex-offender test in William Burke Summerville office.
But this facility and Burke’s other offices in Columbia and Lexington are South Carolina’s primary stops for the risk assessment, treatment and supervision of sex offenders. Law enforcement officials, South Carolina’s volunteer Guardian Ad Litem staff and the Department of Social Services have Burke on speed dial.
A few of his current 300 clients come voluntarily for treatment. He gets referrals each week from men —or their workplace HR offices —seeking help with Internet pornography addiction. But roughly 80 percent of Burke’s work, he says, involves men who have sexually abused children.
Goal: Stop them.
“Our assessments are very thorough and they meet the standard of care, which dictates the kind of instruments you should be using,” Burke says.
Sometimes there are interruptions.
The phone rings.
‘Excuse me, I have to take this call,’ Burke says with a sudden frown.
“Of course, our first interest is always the safety of the children, and what you’re telling me is bad enough,’ Burke tells the caller. ‘But if video has been put on the Internet, uh, that’s taking it to a whole different level.”
The Czechoslovakian army, of all institutions. It christened the PPG during the 1950s ‘Cold War.’
‘They wanted to test guys trying to avoid military service by claiming to be gay,’ says Burke, a Rock Hill native who received psychology and clinical counseling degrees at The Citadel and a PhD in counseling at South Carolina.
The PPG has been in use in the U.S. since the 1980s. Burke’s Canadian-made Limestone Preftest model features straps that measure phallic size increases by blood flow as patients are exposed to photos and/or recordings. The data shows up on computer graphs in an adjacent room.
The Visual Sexual Preference test and Abel Screen also are included as part of a basic Burke assessment, which lasts from eight to 14 hours spread over one or two days. The Abel Screen is an evaluation concept with more than 1,000 questions and 340 slides aimed at categorizing and correlating sexual arousal.
The PPG test is Burke’s pride and joy.
“The most exciting thing for us is the stimulus material and how that has evolved,” he says.
Burke played a role in that development, by accident.
“Up until two or three years ago, what a person would listen to in the laboratory was a male monotone voice telling a story about sexual behavior,” Burke says, “and the response rates were not that great. By that I mean we positively identified, say, a person aroused by a rape scenario only about 58 percent of the time. Now it’s over 90 percent.”
Charleston-based FBI agent Cynthia McCants mentioned to Burke that often when computers were seized from pedophiles, the evidence discovered was not visual but audio versions of victimized children.
“That got me thinking,” Burke says.
He approached a talent agency in search of kids. Parents were informed and signed waivers. The child actors were given scripts.
“We would have them say things that had nothing to do with sexual behavior,” Burke says. “Like a scenario with a lady walking her dog, and you want to pet the dog but you are a little nervous and you ask, ‘Can I touch it?’ We clip that sound out and drop it into a story of a guy in the camp shower with a 10-year-old.”
The child voices have been echoing in Burke’s office, and other PPG facilities around the country, since 2006.
“I have difficulty saying this because it sounds so outrageous,” Burke says in a hushed tone. “But on average we had 200 percent or greater levels of (phallic) response in the laboratory to the voices of the children. That is cutting edge and that’s really cool to be a part of.
“Now, the false positive identification rate is next to zero. It’s just not going to happen. There are just too many safeguards for that.”
Burke stresses that his role is not to decide guilt or innocence, but to make risk recommendations. He does pre-trial assessment, offers second opinions and sometimes first opinions.
“If a man accused of molesting his stepdaughter is brought in and tests positive for arousal to young girls,” Burke says, “I will suggest he not be allowed back home.”
It goes beyond ‘gotcha.’
Burke also monitors and treats patients. Some are on probation. Some are awaiting trial.
There are no “typical” cases in this line of work.
“A lot of folks come in and say they didn’t do it,” Burke says. “Well, OK, we’ll start there. We have our interviewing and a variety of tests.
“Say someone has been accused of molesting a couple of boys and he denies it. I get a history from him and then we put him in the Sexual Arousal Laboratory and, lo and behold, he’s aroused by little boys, and after the test I say, ‘Hey, you’re aroused by little boys.’
“Sometimes that’s enough for them to say ‘I did it. And maybe I need some help.’ If that’s enough, we polygraph them to find out more information.
“It’s not guilt or innocence. But if I’m responsible for whether or not somebody is going to be released into the community, or if a judge is going to take my recommendation and report, I have to know what I’m dealing with.
‘I’m not going to be able to sleep at night if I think I’ve played a part in somebody dangerous getting out.”
‘A witch doctor’
Burke and fellow PPG lab managers —including Burke-trained R. Gregg Dwyer at MUSC —have fans, and critics.
“He does a phenomenal job,” said Micky Talley, agent in charge of the Dorchester County Probate, Parole and Pardon Services. “I don’t think we could supervise the sex offender population or do our job without Dr. Burke. It certainly helps reduce recidivism,” which is repeating previous bad behavior.
PPG testing is a condition of Dorchester County sex offenders on probation and parole. Talley and Burke meet regularly to go over test results and compliance.
Charleston County Assistant Solicitor Debbie Herring-Lash likes the PPG concept too.
“It helps (defendants) be able to go into court and admit it,” she said. “They’re going to get out of prison eventually, and sometimes it helps to be able to have treatment after they have served their sentence.”
Among his court roles, Burke offers expert testimony and participates in parole revocation hearings and sentencing phases.
His recommendations have been challenged.
“I’ve had a judge look me in the eye in a courtroom full of people and say, ‘I don’t think you’re any better than a witch doctor and I don’t believe any of this,’?”Burke says.
Some defense attorneys consider PPG testing “Orwellian.” Expensive too —$2,200 per test, at least (initially billed to those tested). British Columbia last July established a moratorium on PPG testing of youths. Fresh and objective studies on the disputed device and recidivism are hard to come by.
But South Carolina’s Sexually Violent Predator act of 1998 has made the PPG more palatable here and in states with similar laws.
“Research says it’s the single greatest test of recidivism for child molestation, over any other factor,” Burke says, citing studies done by Canadian clinical psychologist, researcher and author R. Karl Hanson and different partners. ‘If you had one thing you could choose about who is going to re-offend, it’s going to be the PPG result.
“But, again, we don’t want to do these tests to say whether somebody did something or didn’t do something. Because it’s certainly possible that someone might have some arousal to kids and he didn’t do it.
“It’s certainly possible he did do it and it didn’t show up. I don’t think that’s a valid reason to use the test. It’s a risk assessment.”
Burke also gives each patient conventional polygraphs twice a year.
“Just by threatening a polygraph, offenders start admitting to having victims and a greater number of victims,” Burke
“Just by threatening a polygraph, offenders start admitting to having victims and a greater number of victims,” Burke says.
Not everyone is cooperative. Some Burke patients have thrown PPG devices against the wall and attempted to flee —hence the armed guards for those incarcerated. And the off-duty police officer on hand for group therapy meetings.
Once, a patient tried to corner a female therapist. Burke has been the victim of a bomb threat.
“Another guy was beating on the door of my house at 2 a.m.,” he says. “Sometimes when we say, ‘I’m sorry, we don’t think you should have access to your children,’ people get really mad.”
You want no part of this chair, or anything attached.
The PPG fits around the penis.
A respirator monitors breathing patterns.
When you feel like squirming —and you will —a motion detector in the seat picks up every wiggle.
This afternoon, the shackled male is well into the PPG series of 27 “trial challenges.”
The first part of the test includes nude images of adult women and adult men in hopes that there is some response. No other nude photos are used.
“One way of looking at it is that if there is no arousal to nude adults but there is arousal to a kid in a bathing suit, that’s significant information,” Burke whispers as he observes the process from an adjacent room.
In each trial challenge, a photo appears for seven seconds.
Then a 90-second scenario.
Then six other photos related to the scenario.
Two of the challenges include ‘neutral’ stimuli, a skyscraper and furniture.
The entire test is videotaped.
“Just another way of measuring across the board,” Burke says.
But here comes trouble, the rape of a young girl at a desolate beach. She pleads. She weeps.
Then a scene in which a man beats his daughter for her apparent failure to pick up around the house.
The patient is restless.
The graph lines on the computer start moving.
“Unfortunately, he is getting aroused,” Burke says of the one-man captive audience.
This patient already has been through the Visual Sexual Preference exam, part of which includes an audio/photo scenario featuring an adult male preparing to molest a fourth-grade girl: “Why don’t you come sit with me on the couch.” “OK.” “Let’s snuggle up close so we can both see the book.”
Elements to prevent faking are built in. It’s hard to close your eyes or tune out photos when part of the drill is pressing a button whenever a picture changes or the audio gets violent.
“When you combine the tests together, the probability that you’re going to pick up whether or not someone has deviant arousal goes up to 96 or 97 percent. Which is valuable information,” Burke says. “If you just do one test independently, you’re in the low 70s.”
Ultimately, Burke says, the PPG lab is all about breaking down denial.
“Most guys deny, deny and deny. Most guys would rather say ‘I murdered my grandmother’ than admit that they have sexual fantasies about children,” he says.
“Often the only time we can get to that is through this process. That helps break down their denial, which helps us increase our ability to help them. Because sexual fantasy is the basis for 99.9 percent of all deviant sexual behavior.”
Consider the possibility of sexual abuse when the child:
•Has difficulty walking or sitting
•Suddenly refuses to change for gym or to participate in physical activities
•Reports nightmares or bedwetting
•Experiences a sudden change in appetite
•Demonstrates bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual knowledge or behavior
•Becomes pregnant or contracts a venereal disease, particularly if under age 14
•Reports sexual abuse by a parent or other adult caregiver
Consider the possibility of sexual abuse when the parent or other adult caregiver:
•Is unduly protective of the child or severely limits the child’s contact with other children, especially of the opposite sex
•Is secretive and isolated
•Is jealous or controlling with family members
Childwelfare.gov, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
For anyone who loves or loathes writing, you must check out this site. The writing analysis is pretty awesome. I’m thinking I might cps (copy,paste,send) some of my previous blog posts just to see how its weighted.
“What you did is not okay! And I am going to be depressed to prove it!”Nobody wants to be depressed! Or do they? If you have suffered depression, you might be aware of the irrational part of you that objects to letting go of depressed feelings. In depression people are more inclined to feel the unfairness of life.
We got concert tickets as soon as we found out Tom Petty was coming to the coliseum. As the date for the concert grew closer so did my contractions. August 15, 2003, the night of the concert, I knew for certain that my size and irregular contractions wouldn’t allow for me to go to a concert I desperately wanted to go to. Danny took my place next to my husband and reported his enjoyment afterward. They had a blast.
My 3rd child was born less than a week later. Kieran Emily Sumpter came into the world on a very stormy August evening. The lightening was so intense that it knocked the power out, on the labor and delivery floor for as far as I could tell, just briefly until the backup generators kicked on. The only thing that was left unrestored in my delivery room was the machine that monitors heart rate and contractions. It wasn’t long before I was in more pain than I’ve ever been in in my life. My epidural drip had run dry. Next to me was a gentleman who was working tirelessly to restore the HR/contraction monitoring machine that would have validated my pain had it been functional. He never did get it back up and running before my daughter made her grand appearance. Much like the anesthesiologist who never made it back around to my room in time to refill my empy epidural drip. My 3rd child, 2nd daughter and 1st natural child birth all occured the same day, August 21st, 2003. Though I had given birth to two children previous to her, I had never experienced such pain in my life. It was foreign to me, and scary. I kept saying… I’ve already had two children and I didn’t feel like this. Somethings wrong. I’m ripping in half. Please help. I was wrong in that nothing was wrong at all, it was what women had felt while giving birth for all of humanity up till recent and the marvels of modern medicine had unveiled this wonderful little thing called anesthesia.
The song Refugee by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers is a song me and my husband held close to our heart. It was a song we cranked up loud and sang the hell out of when it came on the radio. It was a favorite we played on our home stereo via cd. We sang it word for word, loud as possible and probably even more hideous than loud.
Its a song that I haven’t been able to listen to without crying, and I mean the ugly kind of crying to. The kind of crying that you should hide your face from any onlookers due to the painful contortions ugly crying cause your once pretty little face to be mangled into.
The words have recently sounded different to me. The lyrics mean something new. Not good new. Just new. It occurred to me that for the past year, my children and myself have been living very much the life of refugees and would like to be granted a much needed asylum. There’s no place like home, and for us, for now, homeless is where we are, and where we’ll be until we can find our way back. Back home.
Writers: TOM PETTY, MIKE CAMPBELL By Tom Petty and Mike Campbell
We got somethin’, we both know it,
We don’t talk too much about it.
Yeah it ain’t no real big secret,
But somehow, we get around it.
It don’t really matter to me baby,
You believe what you want to believe,
You don’t have to live like a refugee.
Somebody must have kicked you around some. Who knows why you wanna lay there and revel in your abandon.
It don’t make no difference to me, baby, Everybody’s had to fight to be free,
You see you don’t have to live like a refugee.
Baby, we ain’t the first.
I’m sure a lot of other lovers been burned.
Right now this seems real to you,
But it’s one of those things you gotta feel to be true.
Somebody must have kicked you around some. Who knows? Maybe you were kidnapped,
Tied up, taken away, and held for ransom.
It don’t really matter to me, baby,
Everybody’s had to fight to be free,
Analyzing the Thinking Process: Interview with Diane Halpern By JAMIE HALE
Diane Halpern is a professor of psychology at Claremont McKenna College; she is the former president of the American Psychological Association and former president of the Western Psychological Association. Halpern has won many awards for her teaching and research, including the 2002 Outstanding Professor Award from the Western Psychological Association, the 1999 American Psychological Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching, and the Silver Medal Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. She has also authored a variety of books.
Here are some of Halpern’s views on the thinking process.
What is the goal of critical thinking? Is critical thinking rational thinking?
Critical thinking is good thinking or clear thinking—it involves analyzing the thinking process as well as the outcome. People who think well (use the skills of critical thinking) make better decisions across all areas of their lives. It is reasoned thinking—supporting beliefs and actions with good reasons.
Do you think critical thinking is more malleable than intelligence?
There is a large body of evidence showing that people can learn to think better. Of course, education makes us all more intelligent, but critical thinking is more focused. Everyone can learn to recognize and use the skills of critical thinking, and we can always get better.
Is there a big difference between the cognitive abilities of males and females?
I discuss this at great length in the fourth edition of my book, Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities. Short answers to complicated questions are always a bad idea. There are many areas where there are few or no differences on average between females and males and other areas where there are large differences (on average). Of course the more important question is why. We can all improve in our thinking with appropriate instruction—that is why we have schools.
At what age should children begin to learn to think critically?
Children can learn to think well at very young ages. Specific instruction can start very early in life.
Recently you answered the Edge.org question, posed by Steven Pinker: “What scientific concept would improve everybody’s cognitive toolkit?” Could you provide our readers with an abbreviated version of your answer?
I wrote about understanding the term “statistically significant difference.” I think that it is often misunderstood. Even if a difference is statistically significant, it may be too small to be meaningful, and there is always a chance that the conclusion is wrong.
What are your current research interests? Are there any future projects you would like to mention?
I am working with two terrific colleagues—Keith Millis at Northern Illinois University and Art Graesser at University of Memphis—on a computerized game that teaches scientific reasoning/critical thinking. For more information, check out my website, www.DianeHalpern.com
Photo by Jacob Botter, available under a Creative Commons attribution license.
I think it’s time to post this; The date was March 26th. The day before the 2010 Flowertown Festival. A friday night, I believe. I was at my boyfriend’s house. I don’t remember where his sisters were, but they weren’t home. My boyfriend’s mom (Holly) & step dad (We’ll identify him as “Asshole” here, as I don’t think he deserves a name) were there. We were just hanging out, watching tv, the normal stuff. Asshole was going to North Carolina for some reason so Holly asked him to fix the tire on her car before he left so she could go to the Festival with her kids & a friend the next day. After that, I’m not so sure why, but they got into an argument. I’d never seen them argue before. First they were downstairs, Holly saw it was making me uncomfortable, so she went upstairs, Asshole followed her, then after a few minutes he came downstairs. I was sitting on the couch, I had cramps so I was kinda hunched over. My boyfriend was in the bathroom. Asshole walked past the couch into the kitchen, as he did that, he looked me right in the eye and said “I hope you don’t think I’m an asshole, that’s not really me,” my reaction to that was just a smile, but I was thinking, “Stop screaming at your wife, your being a dick!!!!!” My boyfriend came out of the bathroom and sat on the floor in front of the couch. Asshole got another drink (He was drunk, which made things worse). Asshole came up behind me, ran his hand up and down my back a couple times, flicked his fingers over my belt towards my butt, ran his hand up my back again, rubbed my shoulder, and snapped my bra. The way he did it was like, he was trying to be sensual, or intimate. To be honest, I thought it was my boyfriend until I turned around and saw him. My boyfriend didn’t see him do it, he just heard my bra snap & me say ouch. His reaction to that was standing up and saying “Dad, what the fuck?!” Asshole just smiled. Holly came downstairs, looked at me, looked at her son, then went back up. Of course, Asshole followed, restarting the fight. I remember she said “Just stop it, you’re making all of the people in this house sick.” I didn’t realize it at the time, but now I know she said that because after he did that to me, I looked like I was going to throw up & since she didn’t know he did it, she thought it was because they were fighting. I balled up on the couch and cried. My boyfriend thought is was because my stomach hurt & I had cramps. He still thinks so, I don’t have the heart to tell him any different. About 10 minutes later, Asshole left. My mom came to pick me up about 30 minutes after he left. My boyfriend told her that my stomach hurt so bad I was crying earlier. Again, I didn’t have the heart to correct him + I was totally weirded out to the point that I wasn’t talking to anybody. I got home, my mom told me to go to straight to bed so I’d feel better in the morning. I didn’t. As soon as she went to sleep, I got up and took a shower. I felt gross & disgusted. I thought about what he did. That water in the shower must’ve been 200 degrees. I just wanted to feel clean…and I didn’t. My boyfriend’s dad’s hands on me, my best friend’s dad’s hands on me, my mom’s best friend’s husband’s hands on me. I threw up. About a week later, my boyfriend called me at 10:23 pm. I will never forget that phone call. He told me his step dad was going to jail… Shocked, I stammered to ask what for. “Child molestation…” His voice cracked, like he was trying not to cry. I fell off of my bed, crumpled on the floor, and cried. He didn’t have to tell me anything else, I knew he molested my best friend. Because he touched me, she and I are close in age, it made sense, or something. The only words I could make out were “That stupid son of a bitch…” My boyfriend told me to stop crying, that he’d cried all day & he didn’t want to anymore. Now, over a year later, court is ongoing, Asshole is living as if he did nothing wrong and he left everyone to just pick up the pieces of something he broke. I’ve only seen him once since then. About a week after my best friend told what he did. I was in Lowe’s with my boyfriend & Holly. I don’t really remember exactly what happened, but I remember my boyfriend seeing him and telling me to walk down an aisle, I was not having that & I tried to walk over to Asshole. I was gonna spit on him, scream at him, hit him, kill him with a flower pot or a garden spade, I don’t know what would have happened had my boyfriend not grabbed me and dragged me down the aisle. We drove back to Holly’s house to get some things (they were staying at Holly’s mom’s house) , I remember her saying that if Asshole was there, that me and her son would have to leave, because she would have killed him. We pulled into their neighborhood, I was in the back seat of the car, they were occupied with something, I’m not sure what, I think Holly dropped her phone as it was ringing. They didn’t see, but as we turned, I saw Asshole, in his truck driving on the road outside of the subdivision, he must have been either leaving, or have seen us and decided not to come in the neighborhood. I’m not sure which. I also recall seeing a friend of my dad’s named Bryan who lives in the adjacent subdivision drive out right behind Asshole. They had met before, so I kept thinking “I hope Bryan either doesn’t know what Asshole did, or if he does, he won’t recognize his truck,” because Bryan’s the kinda guy who would have no problem killing a child molester. That is something I never told anybody but my dad, and that was months after this happened. I could tell so much more, but that’s all I can stand to type right now. Now you all know, in detail why I run this blog & why it’s important to me. Stay strong, survivors! You’re all fighters & I’m here if you need anything. Posted at 4:11 PM 5 notes Permalink ∞
A couple years ago, my great grandmother died. I remember her sister, who was in her 90s as well, was very upset because she couldn’t see her well due to her failing vision, another one of my relatives told her that she looked beautiful & peaceful, that she didn’t have any makeup on & her dress was very nice. After they walked away, I approached the casket to see her. It was all wrong. It wasn’t the little old lady I used to see when I was a child. All the life had left her, her soul had left her body, and I could tell. While that is one of the most painful things to experience, I think the worst thing, similar to this is that happening before somebody has died. Looking at somebody, seeing the face you should recognize, but don’t. All you can see are eyes hollow of anything beautiful; empty. Something died inside them & you can see it. Whether it was love, their will to live, the person they used to be, or the person you thought they were. You can never see them the same ever again after that. All you see is the emptiness, that darkness. Even if you could see past that, it’s almost as if you don’t want to. You want to hate them for changing. And you do. Seeing old pictures, happy memories captured on film it nearly breaks you in two. Because that person is dead to you, or you at least wish they were. They’re dead but they’re still walking around, hollowed out versions of who the used to be. Posted at 2:46 AM 2 notes Permalink ∞
Again the insight of a 15yr old who is wise beyond her years never ceases to amaze me.