Pick n Mix Week 1

Monday, 12th January 2009 at 9:00 UTC 5 comments

Decided to have a Pick n Mix week, as I’ve currently got 74 BBC news stories saved on my RSS feeder, and at least this way that number could come down swiftly. Today, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be picking on a number of stories to relate which probably won’t have much common theme running between them, but we’ll see.

First, to a pet subject of mine that I don’t give much airing to. Having been an observer, due to friends and relatives living there, of much of Australia’s social and political goings on over recent years, its with a sense of tragedy that I read sometime ago that “Petrol Sniffing is on the rise in Aboriginal Communities”.

And guess what? Its the ones the government decided to take over because it obviously knew the solution to the problems of people who still hold to one of the most alien cultures Modern Capitalism ever comes into contact with. Unfortunately, the testosterone filled mix of ex-convicts and ex-mail readers who have emigrated to the Island over the last 200 and odd years aren’t exactly culturally sensitive.

I brought up the subject of how Australia treats its aborigines with an Australian Activist in Copenhagen last September, and she simply didn’t want to be reminded what her government was upto in her name, not for lack of caring but because the future is so bleak for these people. If you haven’t seen Rabbit Proof Fence, go see it, not because it tells the past, but because it tells the present.


A pill to give you the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? Scientists think they’ve found one for mice. This might sound like a nice idea, but this is scary stuff. It could have so many malevolent uses its hard to no where to start. The future could be turning into Blake 7. Which isn’t very funny come to think of it.

As someone who suffers very mild Post Traumatic Stress, I have to say I can see both the positives and the negatives of this treatment, and perhaps I might not be the target audience for the drug (well, not for PTS reasons anyhow) but I do think that the world ultimately benefits from those who remember the shit that has happened well enough to force change. Not that anyone seems to care much these days; as a friend put it, rape is pretty much legal in Britain, and victims still get blamed for their traumas, we’d lose some of the greatest of the few who stand up for victims in the fight to create a more just society.

Yes, its a nice idea, and it seems helpful, but people are who they are because of everything that has happened to them, and as much as I would happily see friends of mine forget the immense traumas they have undergone, it is these events in their past that makes them who they are, and which often has added huge depth to their character.


And now for an intrusion of privacy that would make the British government terribly excited, and possibly cause them to set up a special hotline to offer the service: US parents sending sniffer dogs into their kids bedrooms. Whilst its true many parents are completely deluded about their kids activities, this kind of invasion of privacy is just unacceptable in my mind. Such dogs could easily be used to discover if a certain boyfriend has been in their room, or detect any number of other activities that parents wish to beat out of their children. True, child drug taking is a concern, but this kind of activity isn’t going to rebuild the bridge between parent and child, is it?


Entry filed under: Australia, Drugs, Human Rights, Indigenous Rights, Mental Health, News.

In your dreams? Or your nightmares? Pick n Mix Week 2

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. tiggs  |  Monday, 12th January 2009 at 10:21 UTC

    Misogyny does not become you, Graham.
    Rape is not illegal. However, a poor conviction rate is deplorable.


  • 2. brainduck  |  Monday, 12th January 2009 at 13:19 UTC

    The PTSD one is unlikely ever to work, it looks like a classic case of biomedical types getting all excited about mice, whilst being clueless about how to conduct behavioural research and having even less idea about how human cognition works. Memory isn’t a tape-recorder, it’s more like a network of storytellers, and you *can’t* just selectively cut out a couple of minutes. There is some interesting research around using beta-blockers in conjunction with talking therapies for PTSD which might help people remember without the same level of physiological arousal (~fear/anxiety), which is both a lot more realistic and a lot less threatening.

    ‘Such dogs could easily be used to discover if a certain boyfriend has been in their room’
    No they couldn’t, dogs are only trained for a certain set of smells – in this case drugs.

  • 3. Froth  |  Monday, 12th January 2009 at 17:43 UTC

    The memory one is very interesting. I’m glad it probably wouldn’t work (I think. Don’t ask me on a bad day).

    Tiggs: De jure, rape is illegal. De facto, a one-in-sixty chance of being caught and punished is not a deterrent. It’s rhetoric, but it’s not completely unreasonable, to say that rape is effectively permitted in this country.

    (5.3% of reported rapes led to convictions in 2003. It’s thought that somewhere between 75 and 95% of rapes are never reported. Even being generous, that means that 1.5% of rapists are convicted.)

  • 4. tiggs  |  Wednesday, 14th January 2009 at 10:19 UTC

    I freely agree that Britan has a horrifyingly poor conviction rate. I wasn’t disagreeing with that in the slightest.

    My point was rather – It is sloppy journalism, and poor English, to make a hyperbolic statement without clarification. It’s also a knock to the intelligence to his reader base!

    Anyway, I didn’t want to start an argument, just to pull Graham up on sloppy writing…


  • 5. Graham Martin  |  Thursday, 15th January 2009 at 12:50 UTC

    Thanks for the pointer, Tiggs. And for the maths, Froth. And for the psychology, Duck!


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