A co-author of a Japanese study that promised a revolutionary way to create stem cells has called for the headline-grabbing research to be retracted over claims its data was faulty.
The findings, published by Japanese researcher Haruko Obokata and US-based scientists in the January edition of British journal Nature, outlined a simple and low-tech approach in the quest to grow transplant tissue in the lab.
But it has faced hard questions as the Japanese research institute that sponsored the study launched a probe last month over the credibility of data used to reach the explosive findings.
At issue are allegations that researchers used erroneous image data for the high-profile Nature article.
Clinical psychology and counselling have long been rivals to orthodox psychiatry and psychoanalysis. Armed with an evidence-base rooted in experimental psychology methods, and able to point to the efficacy of certain behavioural therapies, these other psy-disciplines appeared as compacted and dense complexes of tradition and scientificity deployed in the name of committment to a pragmatics that was not wedded to arcane diagnositic nosological arguments. When CBT arrived on the scene the cheer went up: at last a scientific therapeutic approach with measurable outcomes! at last a technique that we can tweek and alter for every occasion! With the arrival of CBT came a relatively brief intervention that was also relatively cheap in terms of training and implementation, and that could be made to fit every form of psychological suffering. Today we have reached the point where it has become more-or-less accepted that CBT can be used with people diagnosed as schizophrenic, a position that was initially resisted (in part because of historical biases about the chronicity and irreversibility of psychosis that were unfounded). There is a lot to say about CBT in terms of its history, its temporality, its functional obsession with technique, its religiosity, its basic repackaging of the earlier orthodox psychoanalytic demand
that subjects be made to adapt to the world in which they found themselves. All this will be dealt with elsewhere. Here, I want to point to one of the unique features of CBT: its infinite plasticity.
In this, and other ways, the relation between psychiatry and psychology- presented as competitive and/orantagonistic- is actually based on a prior mimetic relation, operating on their mutual obsession with scientificity. There is an endless proliferation of cognitive behaviour approaches that are modelled according to this semiological modifying specification. This also carried over into the current third wave cognitive therapies, especially in those based on mindfulness such as Mindfulness-CBT and the Californian sounding “Acceptance and Committment Therapy”. These “updates” to the psy-wear appear to respond to existing criticisms of CBT, in particular the charge that CBT approaches the existential murk, the weft of subjectivation, the embodied physiology of affective phenomenology, and the sexuated nature of subjectivation by a crudely rationalist reductionism. If CBT ignored our physio-affectivity then Mindfulness & ACT seek to recognise them by way of “dwelling with” phenomenality. Patients are encouraged to “sit with” suicidal thoughts, to examine them as objective phenomena separate from themselves, and to learn to tolerate physiological states of hyperarousal (there is even a form of ACT for pain management; meditation being cheaper, but also safer, than reliance on opiates). If CBT codified subjectivity as entirely rationalist- and if it reappropriated the Freudian unconscious via a crude simplification and disavowal whereby the former’s complexity and nuance became the simplified stupidity of “cognitive schemas”- then Mindfulness and ACT return to the unconscious via meditative techniques. Yet this update is not an update but a kind of regression and intensification. Far from addressing those criticisms we’ve touched on, the Third Wave returns CBT to its philosophical roots in Stoicism, a philosophy that has been criticised again and again as quietistic, overly cognitive, cruelly heartless, and, ultimately, a strange admixture of materialist and idealist elements.
Scientific management, also called Taylorism, was a theory of management that analyzed and synthesized workflows. Its main objective was improving economic efficiency, especially labor productivity. It was one of the earliest attempts to apply science to the engineering of processes and to management.
Its development began with Frederick Winslow Taylor in the 1880s and 1890s within the manufacturing industries. Its peak of influence came in the 1910s; by the 1920s, it was still influential but had begun an era of competition and syncretism with opposing or complementary ideas.
Although scientific management as a distinct theory or school of thought was obsolete by the 1930s, most of its themes are still important parts of industrial engineering and management today. These include analysis; synthesis; logic; rationality; empiricism; work ethic; efficiency and elimination of waste; standardization of best practices; disdain for tradition preserved merely for its own sake or to protect the social status of particular workers with particular skill sets; the transformation of craft production into mass production; and knowledge transfer between workers and from workers into tools, processes, and documentation.
Scientific management’s application was contingent on a high level of managerial control over employee work practices. This necessitated a higher ratio of managerial workers to laborers than previous management methods. The great difficulty in accurately differentiating any such intelligent, detail-oriented management from mere misguided micromanagement also caused interpersonal friction between workers and managers.
The people filled with the spirit of capitalism to-day tend to be indifferent, if not hostile, to the Church. The thought of the pious boredom of paradise has little attraction for their active natures; religion appears to them as a means of drawing people away from labour in this world. If you ask them what is the meaning of their restless activity, why they are never satisfied with what they have, thus appearing so senseless to any purely worldly view of life, they would perhaps give the answer, fi they know any at all: “to provide for my children and grandchildren.” But more often and, since that motive is not peculiar to them, but was just as effective for the traditionalist, more correctly, simply: that business with its continuous work has become a necessary part of their lives. That is in fact the only possible motivation, but it at the same time expresses what is, seen from the view-point of personal happiness, so irrational about this sort of life, where a man exists for the sake of his business, instead of the reverse.
Max Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism
Perhaps what Atheists are really arguing for is not Science, not the use of Scientific method of inquiry, but for the primacy of Work over anything else. What atheists essentially demand of the religious, in particular the poor, rural Christians, is that they should get back to their work, back to being scientifically managed at Wal-Mart and Amazon distribution centers.
Remember oxytocin , the so-called “love hormone”? Over the past few years, a series of well-publicized studies have suggested its activation inspires increased trust, altruism, and empathy .
But let’s hold off on any plans to inject it into tap water. Newly published research suggests the hormone, commonly associated with cuddling, may also inspire domestic violence.
“Far from being a panacea for all social ills,” writes a research team led by University of Kentucky psychologist C. Nathan DeWall , “oxytocin may have diversified effects, increasing the likelihood that people who are inclined toward physical aggression will inflict harm on their romantic partners.”
This raises the intriguing possibility that domestic violence could be decreased if a way could be found to suppress oxytocin in people who are predisposed to violence. It also provides new evidence that the initial view of the hormone as a uniformly positive force is way off-base.
Scientists at King’s College London and the University of Melbourne have found, using brain scans, that psychological stress may be to blame for unexplained physical symptoms, including paralysis and seizures.
Patients showed differences in brain activity when they recalled traumatic memories compared with healthy volunteers in a study published in last month’s edition of JAMA Psychiatry. Besides supporting Freud’s theory and helping to explain one of the most common complaints seen by neurologists, the research may lead to new treatment approaches for patients whose symptoms were often written off by doctors in the past.
“This is the first paper that I’m aware of that really shows that previous traumatic events can definitely trigger this kind of motor response,” said John Speed, a professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, who wasn’t involved in the research. “It’s very exciting.”
But look deeper still and other more fundamental problems emerge. One is the increasing popularity of law school rankings. In order to compete for students and tuition dollars, law schools do what they can to improve their standing, which means in part encouraging as many students as possible to apply and to take jobs with high-paying firms when they graduate. And for any school to move up in the rankings, another needs to move down.
An even more serious problem is the way law firms keep score. One prevalent measure is PPP, or profit per partner, introduced by The American Lawyer in 1985. When such statistics began to be published, firms that thought they were doing well suddenly discovered that they were being outperformed by peers. Soon bidding wars ensued for top earners, who are sometimes referred to as “rainmakers.”
The noble aspirations that drew young people to the law have been overwhelmed by an obsession with performance metrics and money.
In one respect, ranking law schools by job placement rates and law firms by profits sounds like a good idea. It provides a seemingly fair and objective basis for prospective students, employers, and clients to assess performance. But such rankings have a tendency to bring out the worst in those they evaluate. For example, as soon as law firms begin measuring their performance by the revenue each attorney generates, money begins to supplant all other means of assessing performance.
DAILY PIC: From the ridiculous to the sublime (or the other way around, depending on your taste): After yesterday’s crotch shot by Mapplethorpe, here’s Ludovico Carracci “Lamentation”, painted in about 1582 and now in the rehung Old Masters gallery at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. It’s a gorgeously eccentric picture, especially for the bizarre distortions in so many of its faces and figures – bizarre, not least because Ludovico is considered one of the founders of “academic” painting in Italy. But then, despite the incredible progress that the Renaissance made in naturalistic rendering, there are amazing numbers of celebrated painters and paintings that got anatomy wrong. I’m thinking of Titian and Schiavone, in Venice, but also plenty of followers of Rafael further south. The truth is, it’s our own, modern, post-photographic mistake to think of a normative, naturalistic style and then “stylized” departures from it (although that’s how the Met’s text on this painting is phrased). The norm for most of the history of Western art has been for there to be no norm: If it works, and your audience likes it, then it’s “correct”. That’s how Gainsborough and Goya were able to flourish, despite competition from skilled technicians like Reynolds and Mengs.
For a full visual survey of past Daily Pics visit blakegopnik.com/archive. The Daily Pic can also be found at the bottom of the home page of thedailybeast.com and on that site’s Art Beast page.
Furry looking spider clumps?
Well not quite. These are actually a cluster of opillonids which are also known as “daddy longlegs.” They tend to cluster together as a way to keep warm. Opillonids differ from spiders as they do not build webs and do not have fangs to subdue their prey. In fact they act as scavengers where they find already decomposed vegetative and animal matter for food.
You’ve probably seen this recent video that shows a cluster of these being disturbed on a playground slide. While thousands of these critters crawling all over the place seems scary, the reality is that these little guys are quite harmless.
UC Riverside’s Department of Entomology explains the difference between an opillonid and a spider.
.. Heidegger states that the essence of technology is nothing technical. Seen in the context of his discussion of modern physics, this claim makes more sense. The essence of modern technology is found neither in power machinery nor in the apparati that modern physics applies to nature (GA 7:22, 24/QCT 21, 23). Rather, it is found in enframing, the challenging that makes possible anything technical because it reveals beings as standing reserve. A free relationship to technology is a relationship to technology as enframing. But how does one prepare for such a relationship to technology? Why is this relationship free and the relationship to technology as something technical unfree?
Elucidating the nature of a free relationship to technology is much more difficult for Heidegger than explaining why the prevalent relationship to technology is unfree. The relationship to technology as something technical is unfree because we are dominated by enframing. However, the converse is not the case in a free relationship: It consists neither in human mastery over enframing nor in freedom from enframing. Heidegger’s notion of a free relationship to technology is difficult to grasp because he effaces the schematic boundaries found in the traditional concepts of freedom. Key to Heidegger’s treatment of both of these issues is the distinction he introduces between destiny (Geschick) and fate (Schicksal). According to Heidegger, enframing is a destiny for human beings. It is a gathering-sending (versammelndes Schicken) that “brings the human being to a way of revealing” (GA 7:25/QCT 24). As we saw above, Heidegger maintained earlier in the lecture that the human being is challenged and claimed by enframing. Although the human being has some leeway in representing and managing beings, within enframing it has no control over the fact that beings are revealed as standing reserve (GA 7:18-19/QCT 18-19). As a form of destiny, enframing determines the general possibilities of unconcealment.