Tag: Psychology

Denver Launches Program To Give Jobs To Thousands Of Homeless, Supports Other Projects

The election of a Republican President hasn’t seemed to slowed the thump of progressive policies. In Denver, officials are initiating a program aimed at providing thousands of paying jobs to the homeless. A variety of work is included in the plan, launching as similar projects crop up elsewhere.

Initiated on November 1st, “Denver Day Works” hopes to put thousands of the city’s homeless to work. According to Denverite, many assignments include park maintenance, planting trees, clearing snow, etc. Denver Human Services Spokeswoman Julie Smith says they’re aiming for “low to no barriers. No background checks. Do you want work? We’re going to put you to work today.”

New Species Of Psychedelic Lichen Discovered In South America

Just when you thought psychedelic ventures couldn’t get weirder, a curve ball whips past. Researchers deep in Ecuador have discovered a new, mysterious species of psychedelic lichen. A cacophony of compounds exist within the species, renowned for cryptic effects on human consciousness.

This new species, Evolve Ascend reports, is the only known lichen to harbor psychedelic properties. Lichens are intriguing in that they exist due to a symbiotic, mutually beneficial algae-fungi relationship. Lichens are a kind of composite organism, making it all the more interesting that one is trip-capable.

We Need to Rethink the Relationship Between Mental Health and Political Violence

Simplistic, sensationalist media coverage of terrorism obscures our understanding of its causes, and hinders our ability to prevent it.

After each atrocity, social media hosts the well-rehearsed rituals of mourning. News of the identification of the perpetrators is frequently followed by condemnation of the double-standard of media coverage – in relation to geography (sometimes misguided), and to language, particularly regarding the word ‘terrorist’. (It’s worth reading the BBC’s guidance about why it prefers not to use the term altogether). In recent months, it has become clear that there is frustration about the application of mental health diagnoses, especially in relation to white male violence, as well as confusion about the relationship between mental illness and terrorism. This is a fraught and difficult subject, rarely discussed sensitively on a platform such as Twitter, which rewards simplification and polarisation.

After the killing of Jo Cox, there was justifiable anger at ‘de-politicisation’ of her murder: many media outlets chose not to highlight Thomas Mair’s links to far-right white supremacist groups. His act certainly fits the definition of terrorism (‘one who uses violence or the threat of violence to further their political aims’) – although this does not discount the possibility that Mair may suffer from mental illness, nor does it negate the importance of a diagnosis. Rather than a reductionist either/or (“Is it ideology, or is it pathology? Chemicals in the brain, or ideas in the mind?”), it’s important to acknowledge that mental illness can be a contributory factor, because violence is often a confluence of personal, social and ideological elements. There’s a public bravura that prevents politicians from acknowledging this nuance (those that dissent are forced to state the obvious: ‘to understand is not to justify’) – all of which serves as an indulgence of ignorance, a dangerous form of self-denial. The ‘lone wolf’ evolves in three key stages: isolation, inspiration, emulation

Set It and Forget It: How Default Settings Rule the World

The many ways we act by default (without even knowing it).

We’ve seen how design can keep us away from harm and save our lives. But there is a more subtle way that design influences our daily decisions and behavior – whether we know it or not. It’s not sexy or trendy or flashy in any way. I’m talking about defaults.
Defaults are the settings that come out of the box, the selections you make on your computer by hitting enter, the assumptions that people make unless you object, the options easily available to you because you haven’t changed them.