Thursday, May 19, 2011

Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse


There are all kinds of emergencies out there that we can prepare for. Take a zombie apocalypse for example. That’s right, I said z-o-m-b-i-e a-p-o-c-a-l-y-p-s-e. You may laugh now, but when it happens you’ll be happy you read this, and hey, maybe you’ll even learn a thing or two about how to prepare for a real emergency.

In Praise of Idleness by Bertrand Russell

Like most of my generation, I was brought up on the saying: 'Satan finds some mischief for idle hands to do.' Being a highly virtuous child, I believed all that I was told, and acquired a conscience which has kept me working hard down to the present moment. But although my conscience has controlled my actions, my opinions have undergone a revolution. I think that there is far too much work done in the world, that immense harm is caused by the belief that work is virtuous, and that what needs to be preached in modern industrial countries is quite different from what always has been preached. Everyone knows the story of the traveler in Naples who saw twelve beggars lying in the sun (it was before the days of Mussolini), and offered a lira to the laziest of them. Eleven of them jumped up to claim it, so he gave it to the twelfth. this traveler was on the right lines. But in countries which do not enjoy Mediterranean sunshine idleness is more difficult, and a great public propaganda will be required to inaugurate it. I hope that, after reading the following pages, the leaders of the YMCA will start a campaign to induce good young men to do nothing. If so, I shall not have lived in vain.





Some musical odes to idleness:

Deep Purple with Lazy

and Bruno Mars' The Lazy Song

Economic Distress and Suicide: Japan and U.S.


I learned from my Japanese colleagues last year that suicide rates in Japan increased significantly around 1998--a increase that has continued now for the last 12 years. Figure 1 here. Suicide rates increased to a larger percent in males (47%) compared to females (23%) in this period. My Japanese colleagues reported that psychological autopsy information suggested unemployment and divorce as common factors felt to be contributing to this increased rate of suicide.

Epidemiological work has now supported a link between regional unemployment in Japan and increased rates of suicides.

Japan has experience a prolonged economic malaise since 1998. Several sources have suggested the U.S. and Japanese economic cycles may be similar with the U.S. trailing the pattern in Japan by 10 to 15 years. Unemployment began increasing in Japan in 1998 and jumped dramatically in the U.S. beginning in 2008. The housing bubble in Japan peaked in 1996 and in the U.S. peaked in 2008. The possibility that the U.S. is entering a prolonged economic downturn similar to Japan raises the question of the mental health and suicide rate response. Is the U.S. vulnerable to an increased rate of suicides similar to that found in Japan? If so, what would a similar response look like and could mental health clinicians and public health officials do anything to reduce of minimize this type of risk.


Musical Innerlube: Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers - A Night in Tunisia


A Night in Tunisia (1960)

Written by:
Dizzy Gillespie
Frank Paparelli

Personnel:
Art Blakey — drums
Lee Morgan — trumpet
Wayne Shorter — tenor saxophone
Bobby Timmons — piano
Jymie Merritt — bass

Happiness has a dark side

It seems like everyone wants to be happier and the pursuit of happiness is one of the foundations of American life. But even happiness can have a dark side, according to the authors of a new review article published inPerspectives on Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. They say that happiness shouldn't be thought of as a universally good thing, and outline four ways in which this is the case. Indeed, not all types and degrees of happiness are equally good, and even pursuing happiness can make people feel worse.


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