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April 09, 2012

Yet another study links homophobia to repressed desires

And they made Jimmy the Intern strip down for their accompanying picture. Denying One’s Desires Tied to Homophobia | Psych Central News
New studies suggest those who express virulent dislike of homosexuals may have an unacknowledged attraction to the same sex. Researchers also discovered homophobia is more pronounced in individuals who grew up with authoritarian parents who forbade such desires. The study is the first to document the role that both parenting and sexual orientation play in the formation of intense and visceral fear of homosexuals, including self-reported homophobic attitudes, discriminatory bias, implicit hostility towards gays, and endorsement of anti-gay policies. “Individuals who identify as straight but in psychological tests show a strong attraction to the same sex may be threatened by gays and lesbians because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves,” said Dr. Netta Weinstein, a lecturer in psychology at the University of Essex and the study’s lead author. “In many cases these are people who are at war with themselves and they are turning this internal conflict outward,” said co-author Dr. Richard Ryan, professor of psychology at the University of Rochester who helped direct the research. . . .

Anti-vaccination paranoia leads to pertussis outbreaks in Boulder, Northern California, and Washington State

All wealthy liberal areas. I just found out last week that a friend of mine with a four-year-old didn't vaccinate her kid. She's intelligent. Educated. Comes from a wealthy family. Didn't do it. Not worth the risk, she said. She'd been scared into avoiding vaccinations by Jenny McCarthy's campaign five years ago, which the media hungrily picked up and ran with. But now that the craze has calmed down and he kid is about to go to organized school, she'd rethinking her position. This paranoia kills kids. Vaccinations are important. Do your part for your community. Whooping cough outbreak in Boulder | Bad Astronomy | Discover Magazine
Medical officials are saying that there have been 37 cases of pertussis — whooping cough — reported in my hometown of Boulder so far this year. We’re not even 100 days into 2012 yet. . . . This outbreak might shock you, especially considering Boulder is one of the most educated cities in the United States. But in fact, I’ve been wondering if and when something like this might happen here. Denial of the benefits of vaccination is strong in educated areas, like Boulder or Marin county, California — being educated doesn’t mean you get things right, and in fact can make people believe in their own knowledge even more strongly. They go online and find antivax literature which magnifies their own beliefs. Also, these tend to be more left-leaning areas, and the antivax movement does better there. The result? A little baby, not even two months old, is recovering from a nearly-fatal event that was totally preventable if enough people were vaccinated. Herd immunity would have prevented this whole thing. Natalie is too young to get a pertussis vaccine herself, so babies like her rely on adults — us — to be immunized against these diseases.

April 03, 2012

Bayer's pesticides are driving bees to extinction

And without bees we have no fruits or vegetables. 3 New Studies Link Bee Decline to Bayer Pesticide | Mother Jones
When seeds are treated with neonics, the pesticides get absorbed by the plant's vascular system and then "expressed" in the pollen and nectar, where they attack the nervous systems of insects. Bayer targeted its treatments at the most prolific US crop—corn—and since the late 1990s, corn farmers have been blanketing millions of acres of farmland with neonic-treated seeds. And it's not just corn. In addition to the vast corn crop mentioned above, Bayer's neonics have worked their way into substantial portions of the soy, wheat, cotton, sorghum, and peanut seed markets. In 2010, according to research by the Pesticide Action Network of North America, at least 142 million total acres were planted in neonic-treated seeds—a trend that will continue if not increase in the 2012 growing season. That represents a landmass equal to the footprints of California and Washington State. But even that's not all. As I showed in this January post, Bayer's neonics are also common in home-garden and landscaping products. The ubiquitous pesticides appear to affect bees in two ways: in big lethal doses that occur at the time of seed planting, when neonic-infused dust wafts around in growing areas; and in tiny doses that happen when bees bring neonic-infused pollen into hives, which don't kill them immediately but appears to damage their immune systems and homing abilities.