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July 28, 2012

Did football kill Austin Trenum?

Today's long read. Wherein it certainly seems like this young man committed suicide because of a concussion. I think we need to stop reading the word concussion as "bad headache" and start reading it as "possibly permanent brain damage." Read the whole thing if you can stomach it. And then wonder why we let kids scar their brains up playing this awful game. Did Football Kill Austin Trenum? | People & Politics | Washingtonian
Gil and Michelle had been in the Brentsville High bleachers on Friday night, chatting with friends, a full moon overhead. Neither of them saw the hit, but Gil spotted their son standing with his helmet off, touching his index finger to his nose at the direction of team trainer Richard Scavongelli. Just like last season. Good grief. On the sideline, Austin was dazed, slurring his words. During the drive to the emergency room, he was alert enough to call Lauren, his girlfriend. By the time he was standing in line at Prince William Hospital, shirtless and sweaty, he seemed fine. He cracked jokes, flirted with the nurses who brought him a sandwich and a soda. He begged a doctor to let him leave, asked if Lauren could come back to the examination room. A nurse asked if he wanted Tylenol. “The last time you got a concussion, you got a headache,” Michelle said. “Are you sure you don’t want it?” “Mom, I’m fine,” Austin said. “I don’t have a headache. Except for my normal football headache. I get them after every game.” . . . Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracked suicides, but they didn’t correlate those deaths with recent brain trauma, never mind athletic participation. Nor did anyone else. Michelle befriended Dustin Fink, an Illinois-based athletic trainer who runs a concussion blog. Fink’s anecdotal evidence suggested that boys who played both linebacker and running back were at greater brain-trauma risk. Michelle made a spreadsheet, one she still maintains, logging every instance she could find of high-school and college football players killing themselves: name, age, position played. She saw a pattern. Linebacker. Running back. Linebacker. Running back. Just like Austin. . . .

July 24, 2012

The test to see if when someone is wrong are they just misinformed or are they lying?

It's all in the reaction. Are they relieved that their paranoid nightmare fuel was debunked by Snopes, or does it make them angry? Wheaton College, C.S. Lewis & Bad Jackie: On preferring the nightmare to reality
This is knowable. There’s a test for this. The test is as elegantly simple as it is conclusive. It’s the simple test that Good Jackie passes and that Bad Jackie fails. It’s the same test that you apply each time you send a Snopes link to your Fox-addled Uncle Jim in response to his latest Facebook posting recoiling from yet another imaginary horror. How does Uncle Jim respond to the evidence Snopes presents? That’s the test. Is he happy to learn that the horror is not real? Or is he angry that the horror is being taken away from him? That tells you all you need to know. That lets you know all you need to know. If your Uncle Jim is really upset at the possibility of whatever the horrible thing he’s denouncing is, then learning that such a horrible thing is nothing to worry about should make him happy and relieved. “Oh, thank goodness,” he’ll say. “I’m so glad to learn that this terrible thing isn’t actually happening.” But if, instead, your uncle gets angry when faced with such evidence, if he defensively dismisses that evidence, or even the possibility of such evidence, then you can know that he was never really upset at the prospect of the horrible thing. He was excited by it and excitedly for it. He wanted the nightmare to be true — needed it to be true. He prefers a world in which such a thing were true. When someone defensively prefers the nightmare to the evidence, then we know — we know — that he enjoys the nightmare. We know that it serves some emotional or political need for him — a need so great that reality itself cannot stop him from trying to meet it. . . .

July 23, 2012

Romney to Olympians: You didn't get here on your own.

Romney To Olympians: 'You Didn't Get Here Solely On Your Own' | ThinkProgress
Mitt Romney and the conservative blogosphere are pushing a selectively edited Obama campaign speech to suggest that the president believes that the government is responsible for the successes of small businesses. Obama’s full remarks, which pointed out that taxpayer-funded infrastructure and services enable businesses to prosper, are demonstratively true and represent a sentiment shared by Republican leaders. For instance, Mitt Romney himself made an almost identical point during his speech at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics, crediting the community for helping individuals achieve the pinnacle of success: ROMNEY: You Olympians, however, know you didn’t get here solely on your own power. For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them. We’ve already cheered the Olympians, let’s also cheer the parents, coaches, and communities.

July 19, 2012

My Favorite "Who's on First"s

I, for one, totally understand why Lou Costello is so...