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The shopping mall's place in history

An accomplished little documentary -- "my final for Doc II class," says the director. My suburb's mall opened three years after my birth and my mother worked there for years. Fashion-forward and shiny at the time, it now seems quaint, and all three of the original anchor stores have been replaced or closed. This documentary about one of the first enclosed malls, Randhurst, in Mt. Prospect, Ill. places it in its 1950's context: Cars, tract housing filling up corn fields, bomb shelters. Now, they're tearing it down. YouTube - Requiem for Randhurst Part 1

Continue reading "The shopping mall's place in history" »

August 12, 2009

British twitterers declare their love for socialized medicine in wake of American stupidity

British Twitter Users Rush To Defend Hawking, NHS From U.S. "Death Panel" Attacks | TPMDC Today is just going to get weirder, isn't it?
Thanks to the advent of the Internet, news of UK's death panels offing internationally renowned scientists has reached the people who rely on the Britain's socialized medicine whenever they need health care. And they're rushing to their system's defense. Using the hashtag #welovethenhs, they've taken to Twitter by the hundreds to tell personal stories of how the National Health Service has helped them. " #welovethenhs NHS Saved my life as a 19 year old naive lad!" writes one disgruntled tweep. "Saved my life, saved my wife's life, beat my brother-in-law's cancer and embodies a compassionate civilized ideal #welovetheNHS," writes another. It goes on like this, every minute bringing dozens of new tweets--so many that, for a while anyhow, #welovethenhs was Twitter's top trending topic.

August 11, 2009

Mentally Ill Offenders Strain Juvenile System

Mentally Ill Offenders Strain Juvenile System - NYTimes.com
At least 32 states cut their community mental health programs by an average of 5 percent this year and plan to double those budget reductions by 2010, according to a recent survey of state mental health offices. Juvenile prisons have been the caretaker of last resort for troubled children since the 1980s, but mental health experts say the system is in crisis, facing a soaring number of inmates reliant on multiple — and powerful — psychotropic drugs and a shortage of therapists. In California’s state system, one of the most violent and poorly managed juvenile systems in the country, according to federal investigators, three dozen youth offenders seriously injured themselves or attempted suicide in the last year — a sign, state juvenile justice experts say, of neglect and poor safety protocols. In Ohio, where Gov. Ted Strickland, a former prison psychologist, approved a 34 percent reduction in community-based mental health services to reduce a budget deficit, Thomas J. Stickrath, the director of the Department of Youth Services, said continuing cuts would swell his youth offender population. “I’m hearing from a lot of judges saying, ‘I’m sorry I’m sending so-and-so to you, but at least I know that he’ll get the treatment he can’t get in his community,’ ” Mr. Stickrath said.

August 10, 2009

Why Did Western Drs. Promote Tobacco While the Nazis Fought Cancer? -- A study of ignorance

Why Did Western Drs. Promote Tobacco While the Nazis Fought Cancer? | Health & Medicine | DISCOVER Magazine
Pop quizzes are frequent for students in Robert Proctor’s history of science classes. “How old is the earth?” “How many millions in a billion?” “Are you convinced that humans share a common ancestry with apes?” Proctor’s passion is figuring out not only what his students know, but also what they don’t know. His drive is to explore aspects of science that most don’t see. A professor of the history of science at Stanford University, Proctor has taught courses as varied as “The Changing Concept of Race,” “Tobacco and Health in World History,” and “Human Origins: Evidence, Ideology, and Controversy.” His ever-roving eye tends to focus on bad science made during good times, good science made in bad times, and the mass of ignorance lodged in our collective minds as a result of both. Proctor is living what he calls “the ultimate dabbler’s fantasy,” taking on subjects that appeal to his questioning spirit. But the motivation behind that dabbling is often principled outrage and a drive to right wrongs. Some of those wrongs are big ones—he has been the scourge of the tobacco industry, testifying against it in many cases and writing books and articles about what those in the industry knew, when they knew it, and how they campaigned to hide certain facts. Other wrongs are seemingly small: Proctor notes that the agates he collects and polishes, although unique and rare, are considered cheap, while diamonds, plentiful and homogeneous, somehow have great value.
His field is called "agnotology," the study of ignorance.