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Posted: July 14, 2016 at 4:35 pm
His disgusting politics are well known, but the many other ways he is disgusting have always been a matter of speculation. Until now.
Here is Bernie endorsing Hillary and Hillarys speech immediately after (which was one of her better speeches this campaign). It was as if I had written the endorsement speech myself, and I give much credit to the Senator for writing and delivering it. Yes, I have, in Danas words, trashed the Senator throughout the campaign, much as Dana and others have trashed Hillary. But it is time to move on, to let it go (cue Frozen soundtrack), and to come together. And thanks to Hillary and Bernies combined efforts in reaching agreement on the platform, we have the beginnings of a Democratic juggernaut that shall obliterate all Republicans.
Dont you just hate it when youre a Democratic candidate for US Congress from Delaware, and something like this happens?:
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has ramped up her criticism of Donald Trump in recent days, going so far as to say late Monday that the businessman is a faker who must release his tax returns. He is a faker, Ginsburg said in an interview with CNN. He has no consistency about him. He 
The News Journal released the results of their poll last night, which shows the race being much closer than the common wisdom (including mine) would have suggested. Heres the numbers:
Kevin Kelly 18% Mike Purzycki 14% Dennis Williams 13% Theo Gregory 11% Eugene Young 9% Norm Griffiths 8% Robert Marshall 2% Maria Cabrera 2% Undecided 21%
The margin of error on this poll is 5.8 and reached landlines only. This surveyed likely Democratic voters. This polly also asked about registration and primary practices where we find that this group of likely Democratic voters think that it should be easier to switch parties to vote and that primaries should be open.
I may return to my old haunt just to see this:
Progressive Democrats for Delaware Democratic Primary Candidate Forum New Castle County 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 3rd 19 E. Commons Blvd, 2nd Fl. New Castle DE 19720
For NCC Executive: Tom Gordon and Matt Meyer.
NCC Council President: Penrose Hollins, Dave Roberts and Karen Hartley-Nagle.
Come out and bring your questions for county government!
Mark your calendars!
I remember saying this some weeks ago and being laughed at by the Sanderistas here. Now that Bernie agrees with me that the Democratic Party has the most progressive platform ever, who is laughing now? Hell, even Jeff Weaver is on board.
Here is more on just how liberal and progressive the Democratic platform is, and that we do have Bernie to thank for it. His campaign, in the end, did exactly what I wanted it to do: keep Hillary on the left by giving her the incentive to stay there. Without Sanders or any serious challenge from progressive quarters, I am not sure Hillary would have moved dramatically to the center or right because American politics doesnt work like that anymore. There are no moderates to win over in that middle ground. Everyone is polarized and turning out your own base is the way to win. But the Sanders challenge helped Hillary shed the last vestiges of 90s caution and to be vocal about her progressive positions.
Carney inexplicably STILL wants to cut the state budget, not grow it. In spite of all of the evidence to the contrary, he still views debt as an anathema, and growth killing austerity as a virtue. He basically still believes in the utter failed Republican economics of trickle down. It makes no sense, and in the era of very cheap borrowing, it is the exact opposite of what we should actually be doing.
And whats worse, the markets have taken notice.[See Swiss Negative Yield Bonds] Smart money is beginning to adjust to the new normal and accept the fact that deficit hawks and austerity evangelists like Carney are determined to strangle economic growth with their wrongheadedness which would be simply goofy at this point, were it not so pernicious. Here is Paul Krugman on the topic:
I dont think Im reading between the lines to say that Carneys plan is more of the same giveaways (both monetary and regulatory) to large corporations: John understands that the role of government in promoting a strong economy is to create an environment where businesses can thrive and invest in Delaware. That means moving faster 
He had a poll done by Public Policy Polling and the result (as reported in the NJ) is at Gordon 33%, Meyer at 30%, Undecided at 38? This is a statistical tie.
The filing deadline is this Tuesday, July 12 at 12 noon. After Tuesday, parties may file candidates, but individuals cannot file on their own separate from the party. The deadline for withdrawing ones candidacy and getting ones filing fee returned is this Friday, July 15 at 4:30 pm. Friday is also the deadline for candidates to switch from one race to another. Ill likely be out campaigning for the candidate of my choice (Bryan Townsend) at the Tuesday deadline, so please keep us posted on any last minute developments.
Dallas police were doing everything right and then the shooting started
The Dallas PD have been doing the hard work to engage their communities, to up the training for officers (especially in de-escalation skills), be more open and less of an occupying army:
As the Dallas Morning News reported last year, Dallas police have shifted to a stronger focus on deescalation techniques since David Brown became police chief in 2010, with dramatic results. In 2009, there were 147 excessive force complaints against police officers; by 2014, those complaints dropped by 64 percent. And as of November, when the article was published, there had been just 13 such complaints in 2015.
Ive been too depressed to read much, but this is so worth it. (Thanks to Dorian Gray for the link) And yet, two pieces of writing published on conservative news sites on Friday morning, as well as an extraordinary Facebook Live chat with former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, suggest that the combination of Thursday nights 
This was all prepared in advance, but it shrinks and fades into specs of trivia and meaningless gossip in view of our ongoing inhumanity toward each other. I ask myself what I can do to try and stand up against a world that seems on a trajectory toward less decency and less humanity, and I come up empty.
John Daniellos bulk mail form letter was the kind of move one would expect an 84 year old man to make. He may have been the winningest, most effective, most Republican-hating Chair in the world, but it is time to move on. According to Mike Matthews (via FB) it has been time for him to 
See the original post here:
Posted: July 12, 2016 at 6:19 am
President Obama responded to the recent police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota by recognizing the need to root out bias in law enforcement and encouraging communities to trust their local police department.
A memorial left for Philando Castile following the police shooting death of the black man on July 7, 2016, in St. Paul, Minn. 8(Photo: Stephen Maturen, Getty Images)
A black Minnesota man fatally shot by police Wednesday during a stop for a broken tail light was a licensed gun owner, prompting some observers to suggest that the debate over gun control and the Second Amendment has racial undertones.
When police in Falcon Heights, Minn.,stopped the car in which Philando Castile, 37, was riding on Wednesday night, Castile attempted to give them his license and registration, as requested. He also told them he was a licensed weapon owner, according to the Facebook Live video posted by Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds, who identified herself as Castile’s fiance.
As Castile put his hands up, police fired into his arm four times, according to the video. He was pronounced dead later at a hospital.
“I’m waiting to hear the human outcry from Second Amendment defenders over (this incident),” NAACP president and CEO Cornell William Brooks told USA TODAY Thursday.
Brookswas preparing to travel to Minnesota to get up to speed on the Castile case after a trip to Baton Rouge, La., to get details on the police-involved shooting of another black man earlier this week.
“When it comes to an African American with a license to carry a firearm, it appears that his pigmentation, his degree of pigmentation, is more important than the permit or license to carry a firearm,” Brooks said. “One would hope and pray that’s not true.”
Tweeted author and TV commentator Keith Boykin: “Does the Second Amendment only apply to White People?”
Amanda Zantal-Wiener, tweeted aboutthe National Rifle Association, perhaps the most powerful of the national organizations supporting the Second Amendment, saying: “Hey, NRA, I’m sure you’re just moments away from defending Philando Castile’s second amendment rights. Right? Any minute now, right?”
The NRA did not immediatelyrespond to a request for an interview. The organization has been publicly silent regarding the Minnesota shooting.
But at least two organizations, the Second Amendment Foundation and the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, both based in Bellevue, Wash., expressed concern over the case and called for an investigation by state-level entities, perhaps even from a state outside of Minnesota.
“Wednesday nights shooting of Philando Castile is very troubling, especially to the firearms community, because he was a legally-armed private citizen who may have done nothing more than reach for his identification and carry permit,” Allan Gottleib, founder and executive vice president of the foundation, and chair of the Citizens Committee, said in a statement Thursday.
“We are cognizant of the racial overtones arising from Mr. Castiles death,”Gottlieb said. “The concerns of our members, and honest gun owners everywhere, go even deeper. Exercising our right to bear arms should not translate to a death sentence over something so trivial as a traffic stop for a broken tail light, and we are going to watch this case with a magnifying glass.”
Survey data show that white Americans and black Americans appear to have two different and distinct relationships with firearms.
Data released in 2014 by the Pew Research Center showed that blacks are less likely than whites to have a firearm at home.According to the study, 41% of whites said they had a gun at home compared to 19% of blacks.
But there has been much research to show that black Americans are more likely than white Americans to be gun homicide victims.
In 2010, blacks were 55% of shooting homicide victims but 13% of the U.S. population, according to a Pew review of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. By contrast, in the same year, whites were 25% of gun homicide victims but 65% of the population, according to the same data.
In the early days of the Second Amendment, blacks were prohibited from possessing firearms, according to the National Constitution Center, a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia. The measure was intended to protect Americans’ right to bear arms, and designated states as the entities who would manage this.
Gerald Horne, an historian at the University of Houston, said during a recent interview with the Real News Network that there was a race and class bias inherent in the amendment’s provisions.
“The Second Amendment certainly did not apply to enslaved Africans,” Horne said. “All measures were taken to keep arms out of their hands. The Second Amendment did not apply to indigenous people because the European settlers were at war with the indigenous people to take their land. And providing arms to them was considered somewhat akin to a capital offense. So the Second Amendment was mostly applicable to the settler class.”
Horne says that many of the battles during reconstruction were about keeping arms out of the hands of black Americans hesays one of the key reasons the Ku Klux Klan was formed in the post-Civil War era was to keep arms out of the hands of blacks.
Said Brooks, “I would just simply note that in a state like Texas, where we have thousands upon thousands of people with concealed weapons permits, a permit is sufficient proof to vote while a college ID is not. Think about that.”
Follow Melanie Eversley on Twitter:@MelanieEversley
Obama, angered by police shootings, calls for elimination of racial bias
Minn. governor: Castile would be alive if he had been white
Read or Share this story: http://usat.ly/29maUsC
Posted: July 10, 2016 at 6:07 pm
Oceania is the eighth studio album by American alternative rock band The Smashing Pumpkins, released on June 19, 2012 through EMI, Reprise Records and Martha’s Music. Produced by Billy Corgan and Bjorn Thorsrud, the album is part of the band’s ongoing 44-song box set, Teargarden by Kaleidyscope. As of September 2012, Oceania has sold over 102,000 copies in the US.
A live performance of the album, Oceania: Live in NYC, was released on September 24, 2013.
On April 26, 2011, in a video on the band’s Facebook fan page, frontman Billy Corgan announced plans to release Oceania as “an album within an album,” relating to Teargarden by Kaleidyscope which involved releasing songs one by one, for free on the Internet from late 2009, and then releasing them in EPs after claiming that albums are a dead medium. While Oceania may appear to contradict that, Corgan explains:
“I still stand by my view that I don’t think albums are particularly relevant at this time. That may change. But as far as making music…from a writing point of view, it’s really going to focus me to put a group of songs together that are supposed to go together.”
Corgan later admitted that they switched back to the album format because he “…reached a point where I saw that the one-song-at-a-time idea had maxed itself out…I just saw we weren’t getting the penetration in to everybody that I would have hoped.”
The band finished mixing the album on September 18, 2011.
Oceania was the first full-length album recorded with guitarist Jeff Schroeder, and the only album recorded with drummer Mike Byrne and bassist Nicole Fiorentino. The band was supplemented in-studio by an unnamed session keyboardist. Fiorentino had this to say about her role in recording Oceania:
“I think because we are all working together on this record it is naturally going to have a different vibe than any of the other records on which Billy played most of the instruments himself. I think we delved into new territory for sure, but what I love about this record is that it has that familiar old-school Pumpkins feel to it, with a modern twist. The cool thing is he was able to capture the energy of the old material without ripping it off. Billy’s definitely found his way back to whatever he was tapping into when writing Gish and Siamese Dream.”
Guitarist Jeff Schroeder also hinted that the album may be less heavy than past albums, stating “In this day and age, with what’s going on politically and socially, it just feels right to play something that’s a little more spacey and dreamy. We want music to move people on an emotional level.”
In November 2011, the album’s release date was pushed back to spring 2012 and announced via Twitter.
Corgan has said that Oceania is the Pumpkins’ “best effort since Mellon Collie”. Comparing it to his previous works, he said, “it is the first time where you actually hear me escape the old band. I’m not reacting against it or for it or in the shadow of it.” 
In describing Oceania’s theme, Billy Corgan said the album is partly about “people struggling to find a social identity in today’s fast-paced, technology-rich culture”, adding “I think alienation seems to be the key theme alienation in love and alienation in culture,” he says.
Regarding the album’s lyrical content, Corgan noted “If you listen to the lyrics, it was written around some serious relationship strife. When somebody breaks your heart, you can choose to accept, embrace, and forgive them, as opposed to condemn them. I got a few albums out of [sic] condemn! Now I’m working on compassion as a device.”
The album was tentatively scheduled to be released on September 1, 2011, but the release date was pushed to June 19, 2012. On March 27, 2012, EMI/Caroline Distribution announced that it has entered into an exclusive agreement with Martha’s Music to release the album on June 19, 2012. In late May 2012, the band announced that they were holding a event called “Imagine Oceania”, requesting fans to take and submit their own photos for the album. On June 12, the album was made available to stream in full via iTunes. The album also became available for full streaming on Spotify, Soundcloud, Spinner, and Ustream. Corgan appeared on The Howard Stern Show on June 19, performing an acoustic version of “Tonight, Tonight”. Howard Stern interviewed Corgan for more than an hour and premiered “Violet Rays” from the album. On June 21, 2012, “The Celestials” was released as the album’s first single. They performed the song on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on August 23, 2012. “Panopticon” was released as the second single on September 15, 2012. In 2014, the song “My Love is Winter” was featured on the soundtrack for the video game Watch Dogs.
The album cover features the North Shore Sanitary District Tower.
According to Billboard, the album in its first week of release sold 54,000 copies in the US, debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 chart and at number one on the Independent Albums chartmaking it the band’s seventh top 10 album to date. The album has received generally positive reviews, with many reviewers finding Oceania to be a return to form for Corgan. On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has received thus far an average score of 72, indicating “generally favorable reviews”.RedEye gave the album three stars out of four, saying “Oceania, the first full-length Pumpkins album since 2007’s Zeitgeist, is the best thing Corgan and Co. have produced in quite some time. Longtime fans will hear hints of the grungy, vicious band of the Gish era and also the mellow, almost pop Adore era. It’s a mix that works.” Antiquiet gave album four out of five stars and called it “best Corgan work in a decade”.Gigwise gave the album four stars out of five and praised its production and themes.Toronto Sun gave the album four stars out of five, saying “With Billy Corgan, bigger is better. And his latest projectthe ongoing 44-song Teargarden by Kaleidyscopeis his most ambitious since 2000’s Machina. In keeping, this ‘album-within-an-album’ bears all the classic Pumpkins hallmarks: Searing guitars and busy drums, epic songs and complex arrangements, wistful romanticism and bombastic grandeur. His best work in years.”
PopMatters gave the album seven out of 10 stars, describing the album as “…a spinoff that doesn’t hold the brilliance of an original, but is charismatic in its own right. A more grown-up manifestation of the adolescent self-obsessed gloomy beginnings.”BBC gave the album a positive review, saying “On Oceania Smashing Pumpkins sound energised and alive.” About.com gave the album four stars out of five, saying “Corgan has claimed that friends who had heard Oceania had claimed it was his best since Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Time will tell, but for now it’s clear that Oceania is the first Smashing Pumpkins record since then to fully stimulate the senses and stir the heart.” Allmusic gave the album four out of five stars, saying “On Oceania there are some of the most memorable and rousing songs Corgan has delivered since 1993’s Siamese Dream”. ARTISTdirect gave the album a five out of five stars, saying “Oceania is the year’s best rock record and a milestone for the genre. Hopefully, it incites and inspires a new generation. The Pumpkins are no strangers to that concept…”Ology gave the album a B+, stating it is “…simply a really good new album, one that deserves to be referenced and included in the company of the classic Smashing Pumpkins albums it delightfully demonstrates little interest in resembling.” The Chicago Sun-Times gave the album four out of four stars, saying “this album within an album revives Corgan’s gutter-epic vision with a clarity and ferocity not seen since 1995’s Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.”Daily Express gave the album four out of fivestars, saying “Oceania is Corgan on especially potent form”. Sputnikmusic gave the album four out of fivestars, saying “SP have forged ahead to create a record that could well be the catalyst of a stellar second era for one of rock’s more interesting groups”.
Kerrang gave the album four stars. and NME gave the album six out of 10 stars and criticised the album because it doesn’t feature the original band members. In a brief review, Rolling Stone gave the album three out of five stars and called it “bong prog” and said that Oceania “sounds like Yes hanging in a German disco circa 1977”,Stereogum gave album a positive review, calling it a return to form.USA Today gave the album 3.5 out of four stars, praising the production and song writing.The A.V. Club gave the album a B and called it “a solid start to a new Smashing Pumpkins era”.Pitchfork Media rated the album 6.3 out of 10, purporting that on Oceania, Corgan plays with a “hired-via-contest crew of strangers” and that it is “difficult not to notice he’s repeating himself,” comparing several new songs to earlier Smashing Pumpkins hits.Daily Nebraskan gave the album A and called it “one of this years best rock records”.Consequence of Sound gave the album four out of five stars and called it “best Corgan work in a long time”.CraveOnline gave Oceania an 8 out of 10 review, stating that “If Oceania is a testament of what’s to come, I may need to pull my old Smashing Pumpkin t-shirt out of the closet.”SPIN gave a rating of 7 out of 10, declaring that it is “easily Corgan’s best work since his rat-in-a-cage heyday.” The Seattle Post-Intelligencer scored the album with 4.5 out of five stars, stating it “is full of winners.” The album was listed at #48 on Rolling Stone’s list of the top 50 albums of 2012, saying “The most recent dispatch from whatever far-off planet Billy Corgan currently resides on is the finest slab of cosmic prog he’s thrown down since the Pumpkins’ early-Nineties heyday.”
All songs written and composed by Billy Corgan.
Credits adapted from Oceania album liner notes and Allmusic.
See original here:
Posted: at 5:58 pm
I couldnt leave the house yesterday.
Thats really hard to admit. Im a Warrior Mom Ambassador. I run the Facebook group for our Warrior Mom Conference attendees. I lead a support group. I help coach women through pregnancies after a PMAD. I am the strong one, the one you count on, the one with the resources and the answers and the shoulder to cry on.
Im also a black woman, mother to a black son, daughter to a black father, sister, friend, cousin, aunt. I grew up hearing stories of my father registering people to vote across the South. They were stories of terror in broad daylight and nights spent driving with no headlights on. I grew up on the narrative that my parents, and their parents, and everyone who made me possible had paid a debt so that I could be free, so that I could be safe in this country.
Last year I was followed and harassed by a police officer here in my home town. I was pregnant with my second child at the time and had just made it to what I considered my new normal after battling postpartum depression and anxiety. I didnt know then that I also had PTSD. All I knew was that I was vomiting, sobbing, and shaking in a parking lot and praising the lord that I was alive.
My daughter is eight months old. Ive been so lucky to not experience any major relapses in my postpartum depression or anxiety and to have my PTSD under control. I see a therapist every week. I take my medication every day. I practice self-care and I reach out for help when I need it.
I have so many privileges: financial, educational, heterosexual, light skin, in a relationship with a white partner. And still. Ive spent the last two nights unable to sleep. First because I couldnt get the voice a four year old girl trying to comfort her mother out of my head. Then last night it really felt like the world was falling apart.
As I write this we still dont have details on the sniper(s) in Dallas. I know that one is dead and the others are in custody. The officers who killed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile are both on paid administrative leave. They havent been arrested. I have no reason to believe there will be any arrests, convictions, or any type of punishment at all for the deaths of those men. Or for the murders of scores of boys and girls, men and women of color before them. Or for me if an officer decides to take my tone of voice, my reaching for my license, my skin color as a threat.
When I say #BlackLivesMatter, it is in desperation and defiance. I say it because I see no evidence that it is believed to be true in this country. I say it because after everything my father went through, after everything his father, and his, and his went through so that I could live free I still dont feel safe.
I know that I am more fragile than I seem from the outside. We all know that you cant see postpartum depression or anxiety. You cant see PTSD. When the panic attacks came at the thought of leaving the house and taking my son to camp, I had a choice to make. I chose to be honest with my partner about how I was feeling. I chose to reach out to my therapist and let her know I was not okay. I chose to keep my kids home with me, where I feel safe. We watched Disney movies and played with the baby, and dumped way too much bubble bath into the tub. I jumped at every sound and shook when sirens passed my house. I touched base with my relatives and made sure that I knew they were all safe. I tried my best not to get sucked into debates online.
This morning I left the house. I drove my son to camp. When I got home I fell apart. Then I put myself back together and sat down to start work.
I want to be the strong one. The one with the answers, and the resources and the shoulder to cry on. I want to be an ambassador, and a moderator, and a coach. I want to be the strong black woman that I am expected to be.
But Im not. Im scared. Im scared that I will never feel free. Im scared that someone I love will be the next hashtag. Im scared that I will be the next hashtag. Im scared that I will forever be shouting #BlackLivesMatter into the world and it will never, ever be true.
At Postpartum Progress, we believe Black Lives Matter. While not all readers will initially understand the importance of this movement or statement, we believe it matters to say this out loud and up front. We care deeply and equally for every mom suffering from a PMAD. In light of the traumatic events of this week, we are especially worried and grieved for women of color with PMADs and women mothering children of color. We stand in solidarity with you.
We are committed to caring for the most vulnerable members of our PMAD community because we believe the improved well-being of those who suffer most due to systemic racism is the improved well-being of us all.
Were a community. When one suffers, we all suffer. Were in this together. We stand with our moms of color and mothers of Black children.
We understand the unique issues our mothers of color and those parenting children of color experience while battling maternal mental illnesses. The heightened worry about your childs future combined with issues of access to care by clinicians who look like you and understand the complexities of mothering while Black make your recovery different and difficult. We understand and support your desire to speak up, to go into quiet grieving, or to do what you need to do at this time. We just want you to be safe, no matter what that entails.
We are thinking of all the pregnant and new moms who are fighting postpartum depression and anxiety while also living with the acculturative stress and trauma of this week and want to remind you that you are worthy of love, respect, wellness, and safety. We want you to know that we are here to provide support and connect you to help, and that we stand with you and by you. You can email email@example.com or send a Private Message to our Facebook page.
We see you. We hear you. Our hearts break for and with yours as you navigate the news as it unfolds. Were holding space for you in our hearts.
Sincerely, Postpartum Progress Staff
[Editors Note: Todays guest post comes from a Warrior Mom who experienced Postpartum OCD. She shares her journey with intrusive thoughts so that other moms might feel less aloneand also so others will understand that side of OCD. Some thoughts might feel triggering for moms in vulnerable places, so please only read if you are feeling safe today. -Jenna]
Ive found that no one really understands what OCD is in general. I hear a lot of things.
Oh, so you wash your hands a lot. Oh, you check the locks and stuff. Oh, I used to clean the house all the time, too, but I got over that.
Do people who suffer from OCD just wash their hands, check the locks, clean? NO. They perform rituals and compulsions like these far more often than the non-sufferer, and theres always a thought behind itusually an unpleasant onefueling what they do. Think: Im sure my mom will die if I dont wash my hands exactly seven times every hour in the same exact order.
Whats more is people really dont know about Pure O OCD and the intrusive thoughts that plague us. Its impossible to explain to someone who doesnt have it or get them.
Ill be honest: It sounds ridiculous to even try and say it out loud to someone. Throw in the fact that theres no visualcracked bleeding hands arent evident, someone you can see counting the times they touched the lock to make sure it is in fact really lockedand you have one big misunderstanding of this special kind of torture.
When I try to explain to a non-sufferer, Ive been told but thats just a thought, you wont do that, or the opposite, oh God, so you were like one of those women who wanted to hurt their kid. So I thought a post about thoughts that were constantly going through my mind when I suffered from Postpartum OCD might shed some insight.
When I say constantly, there is no exaggeration. I had intrusive thoughts and thoughts surrounding them every waking minute. I had them while I was knee deep in reports for work that required concentration. I had them while I was having full blown conversations with someone else. I never not had them.
On a good day I had a 10-15 second break in between.
Its amazing how you can be having a running horror movie in your head at any given time and no one knew or understood how, since you looked and acted so normal. Its much easier to talk about the latest episode of Greys Anatomy than say, Sorry my eating my apple is so loud. I couldnt cut it up this morning before I came because I was at home alone with the baby and what if
Who I was wasnt normal around was my husband. He received the full force of my confessing of the intrusive thoughts and reassurance seeking that I was not crazy or going to act on my thoughts, because as a person with OCD, you think, why else would you have them, right?
So heres a blip of a very typical night in the mind of my PPOCD experience.
Its 4:30, 4:30, 4:30. Thats only 15 more minutes until hes home. 15 minutes. Thats not too long. You can do this. You are fine. 15 minutes.
Thats enough time to hurt him. Oh God what if I hurt him.
Who thinks that? Whats wrong with me? What if he comes home and hes dead? Why would he be dead?
Dont be ridiculous. Youre fine. This is just OCD. You are not your thoughts.
Only 14 minutes. Just start dinner. Just start dinner. Man, it was easier to get dinner ready without a baby around.
Does that mean I dont want him? Does that mean I want to get rid of him? I know how people do that.
Oh God, Im going to be one of those people on the news.
Stop it. Just stop it. This is only OCD. Of course, it was easier without kids.
Thats the truth. Your therapist told you to look at the truth. Why isnt that calming me down? I KNOW thats the truth but I dont believe it. Only 13 minutes. Ill ask him when he gets here if he thought it was easier without a baby too.
He promised to tell me if I scared him with what I said. What if Im just good at acting like I have OCD and Im really a monster.
Stop it. Thats your OCD talking. Remember what your therapist said.
Only 12 minutes.
What can I make without a knife? I know its in the dishwasher. What if I grab it and
STOP picturing it. STOP.STOP STOP.
Noodles. I can make noodles. If hes in the other room, I wont hurt him.
Is he really in the other room. Yes, you see him damn it. Just stir your stupid noodles. Stir. Stirring. Stirrrriiiiing. Keep singing that like a song. If you sing it out loud, it will curb your thoughts.
Shit. Its not working. Wait, is he still in the other room?
YES, hes home. 18.104.22.168.
I swear I put him in the other room while I was cooking so hes okay. I didnt really want to hurt him. But I dont know, maybe I did. Why else would I put him so far away? I also opened the dishwasher just to check but I didnt touch the knife I swear. I thought it was easier without him but that doesnt mean I dont want him right? Does that mean I want to get rid of him? What if he went missing and no one looked for him because they know Im seeing a therapist. What if he really was taken and ended up really dying because they never looked for him. How would I explain this to the police? They dont know what OCD is. Maybe my doctors would tell them. What if they really do think Im crazy and havent told me yet? Oh Jesus, do YOU think Im crazy!? Im so sorry you have to deal with me.
Um. No, youre not crazy. This is OCD. You know that. You know what your doctors have told you. Yes, it was easier without him. No that doesnt mean anything other than it was easier without him. I see were having noodles, again. Do you need me to unload the dishwasher tonight?
And this goes on. And on and on and on and on. All night.
I need you to cut up that watermelon. Actually I need you to take him in the other room while I do it because you can keep him safe from me.
I need you to give him a bath. But I can do the diaper first. Wait, what if I touch something accidentally when Im wiping him.
I need to work on my OCD workbook the therapist gave me, but what if someone sees what Im writing? They will take him from me. I know you said we can just burn it when Im done but that also gives me bad thoughts. Actually can we just use the oil furnace while youre not home? Just in case I flip my shit. I mean I know its OCD but still, what if its not?
No matter how many doctors told me the truth, that THIS WAS OCD and I WAS NOT MY THOUGHTS; no matter how many posts I read and Google searches I did; no matter how often I heard EVERYONE has random bizarre thoughts pop in to their head, they just go in one side and out the other not bothering them, its just us OCDers that get fixated on them; I had a very hard time accepting I was not a monster. I kept my distance from my son because the what ifs plagued me.
But after a long battle, I got help. I got medication that allowed me work on techniques to control my mind and to go from a run on sentence of thoughts to having them every 30 seconds.
Then every minute.
To eventually not even noticing/reacting to them like the normal person. I finally believed that this was OCD and that just because I wasnt familiar with what OCD really was before this blindsided me, didnt mean it wasnt true and my actual diagnosis.
So next time you say I was SO OCD this weekend and cleaned out my closet remember how lucky you are that cleaning out your closet was only a small chunk of your day with a perfectionist streaknot a horror movie with no commercial breaks in your mind that is OCD.
Chimamanda Adichie calls attention to the danger of a single story in her TED Talk.
Women of color find themselves lost and erased when the intersection of maternal mental health and minority maternal mental health is on the table because, among other things, the strong Black woman trope is at play. Stigma is very much the product of a single story.
Stigma is a mark of disgrace or negative judgment surrounding a certain circumstance. Stigma concerning mental illness isnt imagined. The controlling factor of stigma is shame.
Shame is a a statement that assumes that the judgment cast on a person is because the person is intrinsically flawed. Stigma and shame work together to keep folks struggling with mental illness believe they are bad and at fault for their suffering. This is especially true for women of color.
Bren Brown helped the general public by re-igniting the conversation around shame versus vulnerability. Brown asserted that becoming shame resistant means being vulnerable and authentic in our own stories.
While I tend to agree with Bren, I also understand that women of color take much greater risks in their attempts at engaging authenticity through sharing their most vulnerable life experiences. Black women are taught to be strong, that they dont have postpartum depression or any other mental illness, less they be perceived as a welfare queen or a trashy baby momma who had children she couldnt care for in the first place.
Generally speaking, people facing diagnosis of mental illness face significant difficulties around the stigmatization of being mental health conditions. When we factor in minority statues, especially multiple overlapping minority identities, the stigma becomes heavier and far more damaging. This is what it means when activists and experts reference that African American and Black women are at the greatest risk in the maternal mental health discussion.
Much of the stigma that many women of color experience is also built into tropes and archetypes that many women of color have internalized. For the sake of this discussion, we can evaluate the archetypes surrounding the Black female/femme experience that impact the stigma within maternal mental health. We can answer the question of why arent more Black women talking about their mental health issues by evaluating the stereotypes that confound the issue.
The projection of the strong Black woman is a roadblock to Black women obtaining care for mental illnesses like PPD. While empowering the culture of stigma around mental illness, the strong black woman isnt inclined to tell her story. * Openly suffering from mental illness is something that is highly tabooed in the cultural relations of Black women (Schreiber et al). Among researchers of Black womens experiences with depression, being strong repeatedly emerges as a key factor in their experiences (Beauboeuf-LaFontant, You have to Show Strength 35). Because of Black womens history of subjugation, often Black communities may possess the idea that due to their long history overcoming racism and discrimination, which attacked their mental states as inferior, Black women have the ability to muster through adversity (Hooks 70).
This trope is very unique to Black communities and should be taken into consideration anytime one wishes to provide support for Black women who may be suffering with mental illness. Black women are taught that we have inborn abilities to face struggle and hardship without showing wear mentally or physically.
While some of the initial construction of this image can be traced back to rejecting controlling images created by the white elite to oppress Black women (Hill Collins). The strong Black woman image is problematic because of its emphasis on caring for others and attaching the stigma of failure to any woman who exposes her mental health status attests that the Black woman is the mule of the world (Neale Hurston 1937).
So we find that it our work to simultaneously put to rest the strong Black woman myth by creating safe space for Black women to tell the stories of their mental health struggles.
For more posts in this series on Minority Mental Health:
References Beauboeuf-LaFontant, Tamara. You Have to Show Strength: An Exploration of Gender, Race, and Depression. Gender & Society 21.1 (2007): 28-51. Web. 14 Jan. 2013.
Hooks, Bell. Sisters of the Yam: Black Women and Self-Recovery. Boston, MA: South End, 1993. Print.
Neale Hurston, Zora. Their Eyes Were Watching God: A Novel. New York: Perennial Library, 1990. Print.
Schreiber, Rita, Phyllis Noerager Stern, and Charmaine Wilson. Being Strong: How Black West-Indian Canadian Women Manage Depression and Its Stigma. Journal of Nursing Scholarship 32.1 (2000): 39-45. Web. 26 Feb. 2013.
Did you ever wonder if you were suffering from postpartum depression because a friend talked to you about their experience? Did you read a book that reflected your experiences? If you found a narrative that fit with your experience, did you have access to health care because you had a treatment team that believed you?
Often times women dealing with postpartum depression or anxiety will report their difficulties finding a diagnosis and/or helpful treatment and support. Everyone is still working hard to understand PPD and other perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
As part of this conversation, though, there are two key words that are often overlooked: Exposure and access. These two words are important factors that impact the well-being of protected classes of people. Protected classes of people often have double the difficulty when dealing with maternal mental illness, because in order to obtain help, you have to be exposed to stories and informationthat reflect your experience, and then you need access to the processes that allow you to obtain help.
Postpartum depression is a serious, debilitating illness that affects approximately 10-20% of women. This statistic, though, is a measure of women who were able to identify what they were going through. Imagine the womenfor instance, women of colorwho arent added to this statistic because they dont have exposure and access to understand what they are suffering with?
A psychiatric study by Katy Backes Kozhimannil and her colleagues yielded results that concluded that:
there were significant racial-ethnic differences in depression-related mental health care after delivery.
These results outline a stark reality for women of color: They areless likely to be screened for PPD and less likely to get treatment and receive follow-up care. The results also showed that it was more likely for treatment teams to attribute symptoms of Black and Latin women to other ailments and not PPD.
To make it plain, while many women are never screened, women of color are bypassed in the screening process even more so, and when they do display symptoms of PPD, other factors are often blamed. So these moms wont get the help they really need. This reality means it is vital for women who are at risk for perinatal mood disorders to be strong self-advocates.
How, the question becomes, can one advocate for something that you havent been made aware of? If you have been exposed, how then does one self-create access in a system that either doesnt offer access to people who look like you or offers less-effective help or many fewer options?
Awareness for postpartum depression is increasing, yet there are still women who are falling through the cracks due to systemic oppression and racism. We must care for the most vulnerable among us. The postpartum depression conversation should involve early intervention, treatment, and awareness for ALL women.
The study I mentioned above also cited:
The differences in initiation and continuation of care uncovered in this study imply that a disproportionate number of black women and Latinas who suffer from postpartum depression do not receive needed services. These differences represent stark racial-ethnic disparities potentially related to outreach, detection, service provision, quality, and processes of postpartum mental health care. Although suboptimal detection and treatment rates are not uncommon for this condition or in this population (7,42,43), these results emphasize that postpartum depression remains an underrecognized [sic] and undertreated [sic] condition for all low-income women, especially for those from racial and ethnic minority groups.
During July, which is Minority Mental Health Month, Ill be having leading a conversation here at Postpartum Progress about ways to improve the conversation as it relates to women of color and postpartum depression. We will talk about stigma, social constraints, patient-provider communication, and involving more women of color in the change agency efforts.
Postpartum Progress means progress for ALL women, which means some difficult and important conversations. I hope youll join me.
[Founders Note: One of the goals at Postpartum Progress is to expand our reach and support so that all women are getting the information and help they need. As you all know, in general most women with perinatal mood and anxiety disorders are not getting the right help. It is also true, though, that women of color get even less access and have even fewer options than the general population. Ive been an advocate for more than a decade now and I know this to be true because I have seen it with my own eyes. Im thrilled that Jasmine is joining us to share her experience and knowledge so that we can open our eyes to what all types of women are experiencing and figure out what we can do better. -Katherine]
See the article here:
Posted: July 5, 2016 at 11:42 pm
by Chris Woodford. Last updated: May 27, 2015.
You’ll probably never go to Mars, swim with dolphins, run an Olympic 100 meters, or sing onstage with the Rolling Stones. But if virtual reality ever lives up to its promise, you might be able to do all these thingsand many morewithout even leaving your home. Unlike real reality (the actual world in which we live), virtual reality means simulating bits of our world (or completely imaginary worlds) using high-performance computers and sensory equipment, like headsets and gloves. Apart from games and entertainment, it’s long been used for training airline pilots and surgeons and for helping scientists to figure out complex problems such as the structure of protein molecules. How does it work? Let’s take a closer look!
Photo: Virtual reality means blocking yourself off from the real world and substituting a computer-generated alternative. Often, it involves wearing a wraparound headset called a head-mounted display, clamping stereo headphones over your ears, and touching or feeling your way around your imaginary home using datagloves (gloves with built-in sensors). Picture by Wade Sisler courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center.
Virtual reality (VR) means experiencing things through our computers that don’t really exist. From that simple definition, the idea doesn’t sound especially new. When you look at an amazing Canaletto painting, for example, you’re experiencing the sites and sounds of Italy as it was about 250 years agoso that’s a kind of virtual reality. In the same way, if you listen to ambient instrumental or classical music with your eyes closed, and start dreaming about things, isn’t that an example of virtual realityan experience of a world that doesn’t really exist? What about losing yourself in a book or a movie? Surely that’s a kind of virtual reality?
If we’re going to understand why books, movies, paintings, and pieces of music aren’t the same thing as virtual reality, we need to define VR fairly clearly. For the purposes of this simple, introductory article, I’m going to define it as:
Putting it another way, virtual reality is essentially:
Artwork: This Canaletto painting of Venice, Italy is believable and in some sense explorable (you can move your eyes around and think about different parts of the picture), but it’s not interactive, computer-generated, or immersive, so it doesn’t meet our definition of virtual reality: looking at this picture is not like being there. There’s nothing to stop us making an explorable equivalent in VR, but we need CGInot oil paintsto do it. Picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.
We can see from this why reading a book, looking at a painting, listening to a classical symphony, or watching a movie don’t qualify as virtual reality. All of them offer partial glimpses of another reality, but none are interactive, explorable, or fully believable. If you’re sitting in a movie theater looking at a giant picture of Mars on the screen, and you suddenly turn your head too far, you’ll see and remember that you’re actually on Earth and the illusion will disappear. If you see something interesting on the screen, you can’t reach out and touch it or walk towards it; again, the illusion will simply disappear. So these forms of entertainment are essentially passive: however plausible they might be, they don’t actively engage you in any way.
VR is quite different. It makes you think you are actually living inside a completely believable virtual world (one in which, to use the technical jargon, you are partly or fully immersed). It is two-way interactive: as you respond to what you see, what you see responds to you: if you turn your head around, what you see or hear in VR changes to match your new perspective.
“Virtual reality” has often been used as a marketing buzzword for compelling, interactive video games or even 3D movies and television programs, none of which really count as VR because they don’t immerse you either fully or partially in a virtual world. Search for “virtual reality” in your cellphone app store and you’ll find hundreds of hits, even though a tiny cellphone screen could never get anywhere near producing the convincing experience of VR. Nevertheless, things like interactive games and computer simulations would certainly meet parts of our definition up above, so there’s clearly more than one approach to building virtual worldsand more than one flavor of virtual reality. Here are a few of the bigger variations:
For the complete VR experience, we need three things. First, a plausible, and richly detailed virtual world to explore; a computer model or simulation, in other words. Second, a powerful computer that can detect what we’re going and adjust our experience accordingly, in real time (so what we see or hear changes as fast as we movejust like in real reality). Third, hardware linked to the computer that fully immerses us in the virtual world as we roam around. Usually, we’d need to put on what’s called a head-mounted display (HMD) with two screens and stereo sound, and wear one or more sensory gloves. Alternatively, we could move around inside a room, fitted out with surround-sound loudspeakers, onto which changing images are projected from outside. We’ll explore VR equipment in more detail in a moment.
A highly realistic flight simulator on a home PC might qualify as nonimmersive virtual reality, especially if it uses a very wide screen, with headphones or surround sound, and a realistic joystick and other controls. Not everyone wants or needs to be fully immersed in an alternative reality. An architect might build a detailed 3D model of a new building to show to clients that can be explored on a desktop computer by moving a mouse. Most people would classify that as a kind of virtual reality, even if it doesn’t fully immerse you. In the same way, computer archaeologists often create engaging 3D reconstructions of long-lost settlements that you can move around and explore. They don’t take you back hundreds or thousands of years or create the sounds, smells, and tastes of prehistory, but they give a much richer experience than a few pastel drawings or even an animated movie.
What about “virtual world” games like Second Life and Minecraft? Do they count as virtual reality? Although they meet the first four of our criteria (believable, interactive, computer-created and explorable), they don’t really meet the fifth: they don’t fully immerse you. But one thing they do offer that cutting-edge VR typically doesn’t is collaboration: the idea of sharing an experience in a virtual world with other people, often in real time or something very close to it. Collaboration and sharing are likely to become increasingly important features of VR in future.
Virtual reality was one of the hottest, fastest-growing technologies in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but the rapid rise of the World Wide Web largely killed off interest after that. Even though computer scientists developed a way of building virtual worlds on the Web (using a technology analogous to HTML called Virtual Reality Markup Language, VRML), ordinary people were much more interested in the way the Web gave them new ways to access real realitynew ways to find and publish information, shop, and share thoughts, ideas, and experiences with friends through social media. With Facebook’s growing interest in the technology, the future of VR seems likely to be both Web-based and collaborative.
Mobile devices like smartphones and tablets have put what used to be supercomputer power in our hands and pockets. If we’re wandering round the world, maybe visiting a heritage site like the pyramids or a fascinating foreign city we’ve never been to before, what we want is typically not virtual reality but an enhanced experience of the exciting reality we can see in front of us. That’s spawned the idea of augmented reality (AR), where, for example, you point your smartphone at a landmark or a striking building and interesting information about it pops up automatically. Augmented reality is all about connecting the real world we experience to the vast virtual world of information that we’ve collectively created on the Web. Neither of these worlds is virtual, but the idea of exploring and navigating the two simultaneously does, nevertheless, have things in common with virtual reality. For example, how can a mobile device figure out its precise location in the world? How do the things you see on the screen of your tablet change as you wander round a city? Technically, these problems are similar to the ones developers of VR systems have to solveso there are close links between AR and VR.
Photo: Augmented reality: A heads-up display, like this one used by the US Air Force, superimposes useful, computer-based information on top of the things you see with your own eyes. Picture by Major Chad E. Gibson courtesy of US Air Force.
Close your eyes and think of virtual reality and you probably picture something like our top photo: a geek wearing a wraparound headset (HMD) and datagloves, wired into a powerful workstation or supercomputer. What differentiates VR from an ordinary computer experience (using your PC to write an essay or play games) is the nature of the input and output. Where an ordinary computer uses things like a keyboard, mouse, or (more exotically) speech recognition for input, VR uses sensors that detect how your body is moving. And where a PC displays output on a screen (or a printer), VR uses two screens (one for each eye), stereo or surround-sound speakers, and maybe some forms of haptic (touch and body perception) feedback as well. Let’s take a quick tour through some of the more common VR input and output devices.
There are two big differences between VR and looking at an ordinary computer screen: in VR, you see a 3D image that changes smoothly, in real-time, as you move your head. That’s made possible by wearing a head-mounted display, which looks like a giant motorbike helmet or welding visor, but consists of two small screens (one in front of each eye), a blackout blindfold that blocks out all other light (eliminating distractions from the real world), and stereo headphones. The two screens display slightly different, stereoscopic images, creating a realistic 3D perspective of the virtual world. HMDs usually also have built-in accelerometers or position sensors so they can detect exactly how your head and body are moving (both position and orientationwhich way they’re tilting or pointing) and adjust the picture accordingly. The trouble with HMDs is that they’re quite heavy, so they can be tiring to wear for long periods; some of the really heavy ones are even mounted on stands with counterweights.
Photo: The view from inside. A typical HMD has two tiny screens that show different pictures to each of your eyes, so your brain produces a combined 3D (stereoscopic) image. Picture by courtesy of US Air Force.
An alternative to putting on an HMD is to sit or stand inside a room onto whose walls changing images are projected from outside. As you move in the room, the images change accordingly. Flight simulators use this technique, often with images of landscapes, cities, and airport approaches projected onto large screens positioned just outside a mockup of a cockpit. A famous 1990s VR experiment called CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment), developed at the University of Illinois by Thomas de Fanti, also worked this way. People moved around inside a large cube-shaped room with semi-transparent walls onto which stereo images were back-projected from outside. Although they didn’t have to wear HMDs, they did need stereo glasses to experience full 3D perception.
See something amazing and your natural instinct is to reach out and touch iteven babies do that. So giving people the ability to handle virtual objects has always been a big part of VR. Usually, this is done using datagloves, which are ordinary gloves with sensors wired to the outside to detect hand and figure motions. One technical method of doing this uses fiber-optic cables stretched the length of each finger. Each cable has tiny cuts in it so, as you flex your fingers back and forth, more or less light escapes. A photocell at the end of the cable measures how much light reaches it and the computer uses this to figure out exactly what your fingers are doing. Other gloves use strain gauges, piezoelectric sensors, or electromechanical devices (such as potentiometers) to measure finger movements.
Photos: Left: EXOS datagloves produced by NASA in the 1990s had very intricate external sensors to detect finger movements with high precision. Picture courtesy of NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (NASA-MSFC). Right: This more elaborate EXOS glove had separate sensors on each finger segment, wired up to a single ribbon cable connected up to the main VR computer. Picture by Wade Sisler courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center.
Artwork: How a fiber-optic dataglove works. Each finger has a fiber-optic cable stretched along its length. (1) At one end of the finger, a light-emitting diode (LED) shines light into the cable. (2) Light rays shoot down the cable, bouncing off the sides. (3) There are tiny abrasions in the top of each fiber through which some of the rays escape. The more you flex your fingers, the more light escapes. (4) The amount of light arriving at a photocell at the end gives a rough indication of how much you’re flexing your finger. (5) A cable carries this signal off to the VR computer. This is a simplified version of the kind of dataglove VPL patented in 1992, and you’ll find the idea described in much more detail in US Patent 5,097,252.
Even simpler than a dataglove, a wand is a stick you can use to touch, point to, or otherwise interact with a virtual world. It has position or motion sensors (such as accelerometers) built in, along with mouse-like buttons or scroll wheels. Originally, wands were clumsily wired into the main VR computer; increasingly, they’re wireless.
Photo: A typical handheld virtual reality controller (complete with elastic bands), looking not so different from a video game controller. Photo courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center.
VR has always suffered from the perception that it’s little more than a glorified arcade gameliterally a “dreamy escape” from reality. In that sense, “virtual reality” can be an unhelpful misnomer; “alternative reality,” “artificial reality,” or “computer simulation” might be better terms. The key thing to remember about VR is that it really isn’t a fad or fantasy waiting in the wings to whistle people off to alternative worlds; it’s a hard-edged practical technology that’s been routinely used by scientists, doctors, dentists, engineers, architects, archaeologists, and the military for about the last 30 years. What sorts of things can we do with it?
Difficult and dangerous jobs are hard to train for. How can you safely practice taking a trip to space, landing a jumbo jet, making a parachute jump, or carrying out brain surgery? All these things are obvious candidates for virtual reality applications. As we’ve seen already, flight cockpit simulators were among the earliest VR applications; they can trace their history back to mechanical simulators developed by Edwin Link in the 1920s. Just like pilots, surgeons are now routinely trained using VR. In a 2008 study of 735 surgical trainees from 28 different countries, 68 percent said the opportunity to train with VR was “good” or “excellent” for them and only 2 percent rated it useless or unsuitable.
Photo: Flight training is a classic application of virtual reality, though it doesn’t use HMDs or datagloves. Instead, you sit in a pretend cockpit with changing images projected onto giant screens to give an impression of the view you’d see from your plane. The cockpit is a meticulous replica of the one in a real airplane with exactly the same instruments and controls. Photo by Javier Garcia courtesy of US Air Force.
Anything that happens at the atomic or molecular scale is effectively invisible unless you’re prepared to sit with your eyes glued to an electron microscope. But suppose you want to design new materials or drugs and you want to experiment with the molecular equivalent of LEGO. That’s another obvious application for virtual reality. Instead of wrestling with numbers, equations, or two-dimensional drawings of molecular structures, you can snap complex molecules together right before your eyes. This kind of work began in the 1960s at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where Frederick Brooks launched GROPE, a project to develop a VR system for exploring the interactions between protein molecules and drugs.
Photo: If you’re heading to Mars, a trip in virtual reality could help you visualize what you’ll find when you get there. Picture courtesy of NASA Ames Research Center.
Apart from its use in things like surgical training and drug design, virtual reality also makes possible telemedicine (monitoring, examining, or operating on patients remotely). A logical extension of this has a surgeon in one location hooked up to a virtual reality control panel and a robot in another location (maybe an entire continent away) wielding the knife. The best-known example of this is the daVinci surgical robot, released in 2009, of which several thousand have now been installed in hospitals worldwide. Introduce collaboration and there’s the possibility of a whole group of the world’s best surgeons working together on a particularly difficult operationa kind of WikiSurgery, if you like!
Architects used to build models out of card and paper; now they’re much more likely to build virtual reality computer models you can walk through and explore. By the same token, it’s generally much cheaper to design cars, airplanes, and other complex, expensive vehicles on a computer screen than to model them in wood, plastic, or other real-world materials. This is an area where virtual reality overlaps with computer modeling: instead of simply making an immersive 3D visual model for people to inspect and explore, you’re creating a mathematical model that can be tested for its aerodynamic, safety, or other qualities.
From flight simulators to race-car games, VR has long hovered on the edges of the gaming worldnever quite good enough to revolutionize the experience of gamers, largely due to computers being too slow, displays lacking full 3D, and the lack of decent HMDs and datagloves. All that may be about to change with the development of affordable new peripherals like the Oculus Rift.
Like any technology, virtual reality has both good and bad points. How many of us would rather have a complex brain operation carried out by a surgeon trained in VR, compared to someone who has merely read books or watched over the shoulders of their peers? How many of us would rather practice our driving on a car simulator before we set foot on the road? Or sit back and relax in a Jumbo Jet, confident in the knowledge that our pilot practiced landing at this very airport, dozens of times, in a VR simulator before she ever set foot in a real cockpit?
Critics always raise the risk that people may be seduced by alternative realities to the point of neglecting their real-world livesbut that criticism has been leveled at everything from radio and TV to computer games and the Internet. And, at some point, it becomes a philosophical and ethical question: What is real anyway? And who is to say which is the better way to pass your time? Like many technologies, VR takes little or nothing away from the real world: you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to.
The promise of VR has loomed large over the world of computing for at least the last quarter centurybut remains largely unfulfilled. While science, architecture, medicine, and the military all rely on VR technology in different ways, mainstream adoption remains virtually nonexistent; we’re not routinely using VR the way we use computers, smartphones, or the Internet. But the 2014 acquisition of VR company Oculus, by Facebook, greatly renewed interest in the area and could change everything. Facebook’s basic idea is to let people share things with their friends using the Internet and the Web. What if you could share not simply a photo or a link to a Web article but an entire experience? Instead of sharing photos of your wedding with your Facebook friends, what if you could make it possible for people to attend your wedding remotely, in virtual reality, in perpetuity? What if we could record historical events in such a way that people could experience them again and again, forever more? These are the sorts of social, collaborative virtual reality sharing that (we might guess) Facebook is thinking about exploring right now. If so, the future of virtual reality looks very bright indeed!
So much for the future, but what of the past. Virtual reality has a long and very rich history. Here are a few of the more interesting highlights…
Artwork: The first virtual reality machine? Morton Heilig’s 1962 Sensorama. Picture courtesy US Patent and Trademark Office.
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Posted: July 1, 2016 at 2:35 pm
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Posted: June 28, 2016 at 2:40 am
Surveillance Techniques: How Your Data Becomes Our Data
In 2001, NSA published the secret “Transition 2001” report defining our strategy for the 21st century. No longer could we simply access analog communications using conventional means, the new digital world of globally-networked encrypted communications required a dramatic change to our surveillance strategy: NSA would need to “live on the network”.
We’ve turned our nation’s Internet and telecommunications companies into collection partners by installing filters in their facilities, serving them with secret court orders, building back doors into their software and acquiring keys to break their encryption.
NSA technicians have installed intercept stations at key junction points, or switches, throughout the country. These switches are located in large windowless buildings owned by the major telecommunication companies and control the domestic internet traffic flow across the nation. A fiber optic splitter is placed on the incoming communication lines and routes the traffic to an NSA intercept station for processing.
View a sample route that internet data traverses from a home in Toronto to the San Francisco Art Institute passing through several NSA intercept stations.
Larger version of map More information about this map
In the past, we used our close partnership with the FBI to collect bulk telephone records on an ongoing basis using a Top Secret order from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA). The metadata we collected from this program gave us information about what communications you sent and received, who you talked to, where you were when you talked to them, the lengths of your conversations, and what kind of device you were using.
In mid-2015, Congress passed the USA Freedom Act sadly ending this valuable bulk collection program for the time being.
Our partners at the FBI DITU (Data Intercept Technology Unit) extract information from the servers of nine major American internet companies: Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube, and Apple. This important partnership gives us direct access to audio, video, photographs, e-mails, documents and connection logs for each of these systems.
Established in 2007, the Top Secret PRISM program has allowed us to closely track targeted individuals over time. Our ability to conduct live surveillance of search terms has given us important insights into their thoughts and intentions.
This slide lists our information providers and the type of data available to our analysts
To learn more about the PRISM program, view additional PRISM slides.
The NSA “MUSCULAR” program allows us to conveniently conduct large-scale data gathering outside the jurisdiction of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court by secretly tapping into the communication links between Google’s data centers outside the U.S. The Special Source Operations (SSO) group discovered a clever way around Google’s security measures giving us full access to the rich data Google stores on the cloud for its users.
Our bulk cellphone location tracking program captures almost 5 billion records a day and feeds into a massive 27 terabyte database storing information about the locations of a hundred million devices. By tapping into the cables that connect the mobile networks globally and working with our corporate partners to install intercept equipment, we can apply mathematical techniques that enable our analysts to map cellphone owners’ relationships by correlating their patterns of movement over time with thousands or millions of other phone users who cross their paths. This “Co-traveler” program allows us to look for unknown associates of known intelligence targets by tracking people whose movements intersect.
When the data we seek resides in places we cannot access using the above surveillance techniques, we rely on the technical experts in the Tailored Access Operations Group and their specialized tools from the ANT Product Catalog. The categories of available tools are listed below.
An FBI fleet of over one hundred specially-modified Cessna planes equipped with sophisticated camera systems in steerable mounts that can provide detailed video, night vision, and infrared thermal imaging quietly fly circular routes daily around many major U.S. cities tracking targets and gathering intelligence. Some of the planes use augmented reality software and sophisticated surveillance technology capable of tracking thousands of cellphones users.
Zoom in and click on the red map markers to view images of the unusual flight patterns in the FBI’s targeted areas. View the map in full-screen mode.
In June 2015, a Senate bill was introduced to “protect” our citizens from Mass Aerial Surveillance. We are happy to report that no action has been taken on this bill and we have every confidence that Congress will agree with us that mass surveillance “IS” protection for our citizens. You can track the progress of this ill-advised bill below.
By tapping into the worldwide network of undersea cables, our OAKSTAR, STORMBREW, BLARNEY and FAIRVIEW systems can process data as it flows across the internet. Each system is responsible for different types of intercepted data. For example, the BLARNEY system gathers metadata describing who is speaking to whom and through which networks and devices.
There are two methods employed for tapping into the undersea cable network. A modified nuclear submarine houses the technicians and gear needed to place the physical taps on the undersea cables along strategic points in the network. The second method involves using intercept probes at the point where the cables connect to the landing stations in various countries. These probes capture and copy the data as it flows onward.
As data flows through our worldwide data collection points, the XKeyscore system indexes and stores this information in a rolling three-day buffer database containing all internet activity passing through each collection site. XKeyscore is a massive distributed Linux cluster with over 700 servers distributed around the world.
The theory behind XKeyscore is simple: People spend a large amount of time on the web performing actions that are anonymous. We can use this traffic to detect anomalies which can lead us to intelligence by itself, or provide a selection path for further inquiries. Examples of anomalous events: Someone searching the web for “suspicious stuff” or someone who is using encryption.
This slide shows a worldwide map of the XKeyscore server locations
This slide shows how metadata is extracted and stored in the XKeyscore database
Learn more about the XKeyscore system.
The “Boundless Informant” mapping tool provides our analysts the means to track intelligence collection statistics worldwide. Using a color-coded map, we can quickly determine the volume of collection data we have by geographical location. This global heat map assigns each nation a color code based on its surveillance intensity ranging from green (least subjected to surveillance) through yellow and orange to red (most surveillance). With the monthly domestic intelligence collection volume at almost three billion pieces, the United States is assigned the color orange.
Learn more about the Boundless Info
In addition to our own data collection activities, the Domestic Surveillance Directorate receives a constant flow of information from other sources. For more information about these sources, visit Our Partners page.
Originally posted here:
NSA Surveillance – gov1.info
Posted: June 21, 2016 at 6:38 am
Written by Patrick Dixon
Futurist Keynote Speaker: Posts, Slides, Videos – What is Human Cloning? How to Clone. But Ethical?
Human cloning: who is cloning humans and arguments against cloning (2007)
How human clones are being made – for medical research. Arguments for and against human cloning research. Why some people want to clone themselves or even to clone the dead (and not just cloning pets).
Why investors are moving away from human cloning and why human cloning now looks a last-century way to fight disease (2007)
Should we ban human cloning? Arguments against cloning
An abnormal baby would be a nightmare come true. The technique is extremely risky right now. A particular worry is the possibility that the genetic material used from the adult will continue to age so that the genes in a newborn baby clone could be – say – 30 years old or more on the day of birth. Many attempts at animal cloning produced disfigured monsters with severe abnormalities. So that would mean creating cloned embryos, implanting them and destroying (presumably) those that look imperfect as they grow in the womb. However some abnormalities may not appear till after birth. A cloned cow recently died several weeks after birth with a huge abnormality of blood cell production. Dolly the Sheep died prematurely of severe lung disease in February 2003, and also suffered from arthritis at an unexpectedly early age – probably linked to the cloning process.
Even if a few cloned babies are born apparently normal we will have to wait up to 20 years to be sure they are not going to have problems later -for example growing old too fast. Every time a clone is made it is like throwing the dice and even a string of “healthy” clones being born would not change the likelihood that many clones born in future may have severe medical problems. And of course, that’s just the ones born. What about all the disfigured and highly abnormal clones that either spontaneously aborted or were destroyed / terminated by scientists worried about the horrors they might be creating.
A child grows up knowing her mother is her sister, her grandmother is her mother. Her father is her brother-in-law. Every time her mother looks at her, she is seeing herself growing up. Unbearable emotional pressures on a teenager trying to establish his or her identity. What happens to a marriage when the “father” sees his wife’s clone grow up into the exact replica (by appearance) of the beautiful 18 year old he fell in love with 35 years ago? A sexual relationship would of course be with his wife’s twin, no incest involved technically.
Or maybe the child knows it is the twin of a dead brother or sister. What kind of pressures will he or she feel, knowing they were made as a direct replacement for another? It is a human experiment doomed to failure because the child will NOT be identical in every way, despite the hopes of the parents. One huge reason will be that the child will be brought up in a highly abnormal household: one where grief has been diverted into makeing a clone instead of adjusting to loss. The family environment will be totally different than that the other twin experienced. That itself will place great pressures on the emotional development of the child. You will not find a child psychiatrist in the world who could possibly say that there will not be very significant emotional risk to the cloned child as a result of these pressures.
What would Hitler have done with cloning technology if available in the 1940s? There are powerful leaders in every generation who will seek to abuse this technology for their own purposes. Going ahead with cloning technology makes this far more likely. You cannot have so-called therapeutic cloning without reproductive cloning because the technique to make cloned babies is the same as to make a cloned embryo to try to make replacement tissues. And at the speed at which biotech is accelerating there will soon be other ways to get such cells – adult stem cell technology. It is rather crude to create a complete embryonic identical twin embryo just to get hold of stem cells to make – say – nervous tissue. Much better to take cells from the adult and trigger them directly to regress to a more primitive form without the ethical issues raised by inserting a full adult set of genes into an unfertilised egg.
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