DAY 45

June 9th, 2013 § 0 comments

It’s good news, folks! – well, perhaps as usual, only news to me. Trawling for evidence casting doubt on the alleged genetic component   in schizophrenia (well, we radical scientists have to occupy our spare time somehow), I found a much more sensational fact. It seems that those of us who have been abducted by aliens are not significantly more mad than the rest of the population:

alienTo quote the ever reliable Wikipedia: ‘as a group, abduction experients are not different from the general population in term of psychopathology prevalence. Other experts who have argued that abductees’ mental health is no better or worse than average include psychologists John Wilson and Rima Laibow, and psychotherapist David Gotlib.’ On the face of it, this is surprising – you’d expect evidence of (at least) PTSD in  an abductee. One’s statistical training naturally leads to nitpicking questions – how big is the sample? what measure of mental health, among many competing scales, is being used? what is the null hypothesis? And, most importantly, what evidence do we have that the abductees were sane before the aliens got at them? What I suggest – it seems plausible – is that aliens have access to high-level Earth psychotherapeutic techniques and can discharge the abductees in a state mimicking a respectable level of Earth sanity. Stranger things have happened. (What?) So much for Wilson, Laibow and their ilk. For more discussion, register for (or better still, present a paper at) the conference ‘Aliens and Other Objects’ which I’m organizing with Darian Leader on Betelgeuse-A in the summer of 2296.

I’d better not pursue this, or I risk the fate of Ronald Sprinkle of the University of Wyoming, who got involved in research and ‘eventually… came to believe that he had been abducted by aliens in his youth; he was forced from his job in 1989′. An early case of the insecurity of tenure, when the State’s interests are at risk.

Yesterday afternoon searching for the demonstration against the shareholders’ meeting of dreadful G4S who you probably know best as the people who made a complete cockup of security at the Olympic Games. In Israel they’re more efficient – PSC confirms that G4S provides:

  • security systems and other services for Israeli prisons which hold Palestinian political prisoners transferred from occupied Palestine. This is in contravention of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits the transfer of prisoners from occupied territory into the territory of the occupier.
  • G4S also provides equipment for Israeli prisons and detention facilities, at which human rights organisations have documented systematic torture and ill treatment of Palestinian prisoners, including children.
  • G4S provides equipment and services to Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank that form part of the route of Israel’s illegal Wall and to the terminals isolating the occupied and besieged territory of Gaza.
  • G4S has also signed contracts for equipment and services for the West Bank Israeli Police headquarters and to private businesses based in illegal Israeli settlements.

As the meeting/demo was in a small street near Moorgate station, my bus dropped me miles away at Finsbury Square in time for an ice cream with flake (hot day) and I spent ages searching since a) my phone’s GPS still thought it was in Mariahilfe – how do I teach it different? – and b) there were as usual only about twenty-five at the demo so it wasn’t that visible. Come on, masses, awake! Leave the park, the TV screen, the pub, and make your voices heard in your thousands! I know you’ve clicked a petition against G4S for Avaaz, but that’s not the same.

Film review: While Luhrmann/Di Caprio’s ‘Gatsby’ is a bit of a noisy and confused disaster, in this cinéphile’s opinion, it’s worth taking in for the wonderful cameo performance by Amitabh Bachchan as Wolfsheim. My informants say the casting was ‘to avoid the charge of anti-Semitism’. Such logic defeats me.

For ages, I’ve had Akhmatova’s poem ‘Everything’ on my screen, but I think without uploading it. (Tell me if I have already, O you at GCHQ who are reading my posts day and night and submitting them to Turnitin for plagiarism, of which there’s always plenty.)

Everything

Everything’s looted, betrayed and traded,
black death’s wing’s

overhead.
Everything’s eaten by hunger, unsated,
so why does a light shine

ahead?

By day, a mysterious wood, near the town,
breathes out cherry, a cherry

perfume.
By night, on July’s sky, deep, and transparent,
new constellations

are thrown.

And something miraculous will come
 close to the darkness and

ruin,
something no-one, no-one, has known,
though we’ve longed for it

since we were children.

 

I’m beginning to feel that, since music is the food of love and we never have enough of it, I should provide two contrasting postings. So here is ‘Sancta Mater’ from Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater; and here, by contrast, Donna Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’, the original disco hit (am I  right?). Take your pick.

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