Social Psychopath Brains Using Opium Network

Can You Call A 9-Year-Old A Psychopath? by Jennifer Kahn (New York Times): People keep recommending this article to me! And now I’ve finally read it. And it’s good. Psychology is in a weird place with stuff like 9-year-old psychopaths. Psychologists fundamentally don’t really understand why a 9-year-old might act in psychopathic kinds of ways, and don’t really understand why some psychopathic children end up being normal(-ish) as adults. So it’s hard to tell whether these kids have the same syndrome as older psychopaths, or whether something else is going on. But still, you’ve got to do something, right? 

The Social Cell by Daniel Dennett (The New Statesman): Dennett talks about ‘social cells’ here, comparing social systems - from the Japanese tea-drinking ceremony to Southern debutantes to priesthoods - to cells, in terms of that they have membranous walls, that they need to get energy from somewhere, etc. Ironically, there are a lot of Christian pastors/priests/ministers out there who no longer believe in God - when they learnt more about the religion in theology school they decided that it was not something they could honestly believe. But because of the weight of expectations on them, they feel unable to leave the flock - what would they do next? They’re not really trained to jobs other than be a priest, after all.

The Opium Wars by Julia Lovell (Five Books): In the 19th century, Britain demanded the right to sell opium in China, which is pretty much the same as, say, Afghanistan demanding the right to sell heroin in the U.S.. And this episode of Chinese history a) largely funded the British Empire for a while, and b) led to some deep scars in the Chinese psyche; the Maoists’ success was at least partially because they brought the ‘Opium Wars’ to an end (or at least, they propagandise this story to Chinese students).

Is The Purpose Of Sleep To Let Our Brains ‘Defragment’, Like A Hard Drive? by Neuroskeptic (The Crux): Seemingly so, more or less. At least, this seems to apply to the bits of sleep that don’t involve dreams.

We’re Using More of The Few Antibiotics Left by Maryn McKenna (Superbug): There are a bunch of infectious bacteria out there that are resistant to multiple antibiotics - often the ones that hang around hospitals and infect people. And research suggests that these bacteria are getting stronger and stronger, in the sense that they are now resistant to all but a few antibiotics. And the ones left are the last resorts. And there aren’t new antibiotics in the pipeline. Once they’re gone, there’ll be nothing doctors can do for a number of infections.

Why Dan Harmon’s Firing From Community Is Just The Latest Shot In An Increasingly Familiar Showrunner vs. Network Battle by Todd Van Der Werff (The AV Club): If you’re upset at Dan Harmon being fired from Community, you’re not alone. But it’s interesting to see the history of show runners (e.g., executive producers who are also head writers), and where Harmon fits in here, and why there is by nature a strained relationship between studios and show runners; studios need the likes of Harmon, but they also wish they didn’t.

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