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Psycho….

15 Sep

Ok, since reading the “Psychopath Test” by Jon Ronson, I have thoroughly renewed my fascination with psychopathy. (Read it, by the way. It’s hilarious – which isn’t what you’d expect from a book about psychopaths…)

So what are psychopaths? These images inevitably creep into my mind…

Trying to remember the criteria I googled “psychopath test”, and found several links* encouraging me to check whether I am a psychopath, including a relatively detailed “self-assessment” by some psychotherapist in Austria*. No, I didn’t bother.

Anyway, rather than a simple “yes” or “no” regarding gaining psychopath status, the ‘diagnosis’ is based on achieving an above-average score in a particular set of criteria, usually the Hare Psychopathy Checklist , including:

  • glib and superficial charm
  • grandiose (exaggeratedly high) estimation of self
  • need for stimulation
  • pathological lying
  • cunning and manipulativeness
  • lack of remorse or guilt
  • shallow affect (superficial emotional responsiveness)
  • callousness and lack of empathy
  • parasitic lifestyle
  • poor behavioural controls
  • sexual promiscuity
  • early behaviour problems
  • lack of realistic long-term goals
  • impulsivity
  • irresponsibility
  • failure to accept responsibility for own actions
  • many short-term marital relationships
  • juvenile delinquency
  • revocation of conditional release
  • criminal versatility

Each character trait is given a score of either 0, 1 or 2 and if you score 30 or over, bam, you’re probably a psychopath.

You probably know some people who seem to fit the criteria pretty well. But don’t worry, they might not be psychopaths.

To me, especially since reading the Psychopath Test, the two traits which stick out the most are a lack of empathy and behavioural controls. The lack of empathy may allow a person to succeed in the business world*, with apparently 4% of CEOs thought to be psychopath whilst only making up 1% of the general population. However, after all that success, they can stab someone to death in a moment for jumping a queue.

By this point, society is probably worrying what to do about these uncontrollable creatures. The FBI notes how psychopaths make up a hugely disproportionate percentage of offenders (10-15) in comparison to the general population (1, as mentioned above). Obviously, after brutally killing people, it’s assumed that the justice system is going to deal with the matter.

However, as many neuroscientists* have discovered, many psychopathic traits, most dangerously the lack of empathy, are genetic and thus predetermined. This had huge implications. Ultimately, this means treatment is unlikely to be successful and prevention pretty much impossible.

Would it be fair to incarcerate someone based on the fact they may or may not commit serious crimes in the future, based on their disposition to violence?  Most of you would probably say no.

I guess we just have to wait for them to………………………..………snap.

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*http://wisdomofpsychopaths.com

*http://www.counseling-office.com/surveys/test_psychopathy.phtml

*The book anonymous lawyer comes to mind

* Including a relatively recent study by those at the University of Chicago and University of New Mexico – http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1681369

Image

5 Jun

Now I could write SEVERAL posts on hypocrisy in this world. Today, however, I’m going to talk about the relatively dated issue of “image”, more specifically the external appearance that is expected of you by society.

We think we’ve come a long way, tackling eating disorders openly, (less effectively by criticising people who are “too thin”), bashing the “Size-Zero” culture and everyone telling us variations of “It’s what’s inside that counts”.

Firstly, it’s all a little bit fake.  The same films which try to make us believe we can MAKE IT IN LIFE as long as we work hard, irrespective of our looks, are the same ones inadvertently implying we can, in fact, only do so whilst adhering to particular, shallow, ‘standards’. It’s ironic that the same media (not that everyone in the “media” promotes the same values) that is telling us “real girls have CURVES” is the same media plastered with the tall, skinny, wrinkle-free stereotype and incessant advice on diets that will help you “get that Bikini body NOW!”. Bi-polar pop culture?

Anyway, society’s hilarious hypocrisy is not actually the point. Even if the “curvy gals” were winning the size debate, you’re just criticising another body type rather than promoting acceptance of everyone. The same goes for this 24/7 gym hype image asking us “what’s your excuse?” for spending any free time outside the gym. They’re all wrong.

A mother answers this here: http://www.theinklingsoflife.com/2012/10/my-excuses-for-not-looking-like-maria.html , despite still trying to argue what a “real” woman is..

So long as society concentrates so much on image and appearance, the inevitable occurs. Criticism, judgement, insecurity, pressure, the list could go on…  Obviously I think that so long as you’re not in some sort of health risk (either morbidly obese or dying of starvation) your weight is a personal issue but at this stage we’re just going to find a multitude of other shallow conditions to judge each other by: boobs, bums, height, facial features and so on. Guess what they’ve all got in common? Irrational and shallow qualities to judge by.

History and cultural differences have shown as that beauty is completely subjective so let’s stop trying to mould ourselves into a narrow, unattainable and destructive image. What we should be criticising are the negative and obviously unhealthy features of a society which has made drugs/alcoholism/promiscuity a normality for the youth (and the not-so-youthful).

Rather than being defined by our looks or our “fashion faux pas”, let’s change track and start defining ourselves by our achievements, our passions and our true qualities.

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Apartheid… Really?

27 May

Just a collection of pictures I found on facebook which consider a “different” view to that almost universally promoted by the global media regarding Israel.

(Click to zoom in…)

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These images clearly don’t reveal a detailed picture yet might make you reconsider the “apartheid” label so easily given to Israel ( meaning actual apartheid is taken less seriously).

Might upload more pictures later… but I can’t be bothered to write an entire post about it since people who actually think Israel is an apartheid state usually aren’t basing their view on rational arguments…

Here comes the hate 😀

Cultural Things that Annoy Me

14 May

Warning: this is pretty much just a rant but ENJOY! In no particular order:

1. Taking pictures on the toilet – What are you doing? No one wants to look at that. I really don’t understand this trend…

2. Small talk – in certain situations it is pretty unavoidable so I cannot pin the blame. However, if we know each other, please don’t talk to me about how much work you have or conversations we’ve had a billion times or other totally irrelevant topics, I really don’t mind just standing next to you in silence.

3. Shortened names – in themselves are fine. Yet, when people throw bricks at you for addressing them by their full rather than shortened name it’s like CALM DOWN they sound practically the same.. You don’t “hate” it so much so stop lying.

4. Sexual Orientation – No judgement being passed here. What does annoy me though is when teenagers claim they are bisexual etc…blatantly only for attention. Please find other ways to impress people…

5. “No offence but..” – You might as well just insult me without the PRETEXT ok – I think it actually makes me more angry/insulted than if you had just said what you wanted to say.

6. Hypersexual youth – It makes me really sad to see 10 year olds walking around wearing make-up and mini-skirts – EMBRACE YOUR YOUTH please. I blame the media. Everyone always blames the media.

7. Chav pants – Why are your trousers around your ankles? We don’t want to see your behind, you can’t even walk properly and you definitely don’t look “cool”.

8. Cynicism of the youth – you have achieved nothing – don’t criticise someone who has actually done something with their life, for no reason whatsoever.

9. “Grammar Nazis” – particularly annoying in debates. If you have resorted to commenting on my spelling and/or Grammar, you have clearly lost the argument. Please leave.

10. Americanisms – If you’re in the UK, don’t speak with these. Ever. http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/tobyharnden/6043777/Top_10_most_annoying_Americanisms/

11. Not knowing who the Prime Minister is – yet knowing who’s getting with who on Geordie Shore or whatever they watch. (I think this has turned into a rant at the youth of today – despite me technically being a part of that category…)

12. Facebook statuses – By all means post that you’re feeling sad and everything in your life is going wrong but don’t tell me “I don’t want to talk about it” when I ask you what’s wrong. WHY DID YOU POST THAT STATUS THEN IDIOT.

13. Phones – People who cannot get off their phone for one minute. For crying out loud would you live in the moment.

14. “Calm down dear” – I hope you know that by saying that you are simply fueling my anger

15. Secret anorexics – saying “phwoar I ate so much!” When you literally just ate half a biscuit the whole day

16. Chain mail – the amount of times I’ve died because I haven’t forwaded an e-mail and screamed “Bloody Mary” is ridiculous.

17. Awkward pronunciation – Scone, almond, rant etc…

18. – “Why are you staring at my boobs?” – I’m a girl, but if your boobs are hanging out, I’m GOING to stare at them.

19.  Apple – Stop updating everything all the time!! (And you’re ridiculously overpriced..) Why do people buy your stuff?? Also – what is the point of Ipads? You may as well get a laptop.

20. Moody employees – Why would I want to buy anything from you when you’re giving me the evils the entire time?! Isn’t the customer always right?? Especially true for teenage employees. Uch.

21. Politics – Why are you complaining about our political situation whilst proving you know absolutely nothing about it?   Also people who vote based on their parents views or no views at all *cough* Dani *cough*.

22. Obsession – People who only know how to talk about the opposite sex. Please find some other interests.

23. People who don’t “believe” in Climate Change/Sustainability – You’re wrong. *Cough* Mr Bremner *Cough*

24. One word texters – I know you’re SO busy but could I trouble you to type a full sentence please?

25. Wine snobs – Only about 0.00001% actually know anything about wine so stop pretending.

26. Teenage couples saying “I love you” to each other – Excuse me while I puke and then proceed to laugh for 10 minutes.

27. Text language – I understand the point in shortening words in texts but if you’re using the same amount of letters why do you want to make it seem like you can’t spell?! Hai babii dawl hope urrr in for 2k13 partay. Uch stop.

28. Central London Accent – That accent people in the city put on to make themselves feel important.

29. Reality TV – now I’m not talking about things like The Apprentice, Wife Swap or BNTM, I’m talking about shows that really shouldn’t be on TV like Geordie Shore, Big Brother, I’m a Celeb and X-factor. How are they so popular?? 90% of the time it is just promiscuous orange people running around trying to create drama.

30. Orange people – I doubt you went to the Caribbean over the weekend so please take that off your face.

I think I’ll stop there before I feel the need to enrol myself in anger management classes.

(Half of these weren’t even “cultural” but SHHH!)

Europe

8 May

In, out, shake it all about?  (Britain is definitely choosing the 3rd option at the moment…) 

The former Chancellor Nigel Lawson’s speech encouraging a British exit from Europe makes it clear the “Europe” debate has certainly not subsided…. it is alive and well. Perhaps then, the public should actually consider what it would mean if Britain were to leave the European Union.

What worries me is the influence of those with irrational political agendas on what is essentially an economic argument. (Nigel Farage springing to mind hmm…). UKIP has risen from a marginal party on the fringes of the right to a mainstream political party (increasingly seen as the “new Lib dems” as their by-election results have shown) whose populist image is already having a noticeable impact on voters.

Unlike both Nigels, I would have to say I’m in the Pro-Europe camp. Here’s why:

The benefits of free trade within the single market. We save a ridiculous amount on the cost of mobility of the factors of production simply by being members of the EU. Considering over 50% of our trade is with Europe, the CET that would be imposed upon us should we leave the EU is likely to be very damaging indeed. In addition, we are also seen as a “gateway” to Europe for many companies wishing to avoid the tariff by setting up factories and generating employment in the UK.

Despite the right’s ongoing rage towards immigrants exploiting the welfare state, EU immigration is actually pretty beneficial to the UK. Immigrants help to fill gaps in the labour market and actually pay more tax and receive less benefits than the average British citizen. If you’re a fan of the multiplier effect (as I am) then this is all good news! Also, sceptics may  not have realised that forced repatriation of many UK citizens living abroad isn’t likely to have positive effects – it is a 2 way-street after all. Although I said this was going to be an economic argument, I do believe there are many positive cultural benefits of immigration and for Britons to claim immigration is eroding their culture, I find absurd.

Evaluating the Costs of membership

Most of the “cumbersome regulations” that come with EU membership are actually there for our benefit. For example, ethical trade shouldn’t be seen as a burden but a necessary cost that helps to define a humane and developed labour market and the practices within it whilst retaining a degree of essential labour market flexibility that the UK has been noted for. We can cut costs yet I doubt any of us want labour practices mirroring those of developing countries.

I would have to agree with Ken Clarke in that a “Brexit” will be extremely damaging to the UK. The annual (approximate) cost of £8 billion is outweighed by the benefits of membership or rather the greater costs that would greet us upon exit. Although we could regain control of the North Sea, stop subsidising the agriculture of poorer countries/regions and get rid of those pesky regulations, we would also lose regional development funds which have helped to revive poor regions, we would  likely be seen as less attractive for investment and most significantly we would lose our elevated trading position.

A looser relationship with the EU, similar to countries within the EEA, has been suggested however this perspective fails to realise the UK will consequently be reduced to a bystander with no VETO power or input yet still be largely bound by these infamous regulations. Surely we might as well exploit our current position of power? There is also no guarantee that the EU would even agree to such a relationship with the moody child of Europe.

Britain should realise that not all of its domestic problems are a consequence of the EU and that when the trend is increasing integration, opting for isolation may not be the best idea.

Why I’m Vegan

17 Mar

As much as I love responding to the looks of disgust that I get when people find out I’m vegan with a simple smile, I’ve decided to tell you what my reasoning behind being vegan is.. . Here goes… (I won’t bore you with too many facts/figures – there’s an abundance of research online if you’re interested)

Firstly, before you tell me I’m missing out I’ll reveal I was once also a blood-thirsty carnivore but my clear conscience today is something I wouldn’t trade for even the tastiest animal carcass.

Welfare: Ultimately, the bottom line is I don’t believe it’s acceptable to take a life from a being which undoubtedly wanted to continue living for something as trivial as taste. “What if you were stranded on a desert island and the only thing you had to eat was a chicken???” Well, we’re not stranded on a desert island and can live perfectly healthy and satisfying lives without meat or any other animal products.

We’ve become increasingly distant from the production of food (assuming you don’t work in the industry) and it becomes easier to ignore the fact there maybe something wrong with our diets. I can’t imagine most people I know being happy to walk through the entire slaughtering process and then sit down to a nice steak, appetite intact.

You may say it’s acceptable if the process is humane (which I don’t think is possible) but the fact is at present, it is anything but.

Species discrimination. That’s what it is. Why do people here in Britain recoil at people in the East eating dogs etc… what makes dogs difference from cows or chickens? Intelligence? Since when was that the criteria?

Why not just vegetarian? Why be so EXTREME? Fact: the animal industry is sadly and inevitably interlinked. Many chicks/calves are killed as “by-products” of the industry whilst cows/hens are killed when they are of no more profitable use. This is without even considering the horrific conditions even the “free-range” and “human” products are created from.

Sustainability: Frankly, we’re not going to be able to feed our billions if we don’t switch to at least a vegetarian diet. As almost a billion people are struggling to feed themselves we waste an excessive amount of land and water through our meaty diets. This is contributing to “continuing malnourishment in the developing world, global warming, widespread pollution, deforestation, land degradation, water scarcity and species extinction because more animals mean more crops are needed to feed them: the planet cannot feed both increasing human and farmed animal populations.” Also a UN report noted how the meat industry is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global”. We can achieve as much as all these expensive technologies and alternative energy supplies, whilst of course necessary in the long-term, simply with a vegan diet.

Is our desire for meat enough to deprive future generations as well as current ones of a sustainable food supply?

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Nutrition: Whilst I’m pretty sure most of you meat-eaters don’t divide up your weekly meals based on their nutritional value, it is possible to eat a healthy vegan diet at no extra expense! Calcium, protein and iron etc…can all be derived from plant sources. Even if that’s your excuse, there are always supplements. Really, you’re running out of excuses.

Oh, us vegans also live longer! (have to admit am also feeling a little smug about the whole horsemeat scandal)

Judaism: OMG, you’re Jewish and you don’t eat Chicken soup??!?! Crazy, I know. But just so you know, there is even some Torah basis that supports my actions. Adam and Eve were initially vegan and being allowed to eat meat represents a fall in our spiritual/moral level. Furthermore, we have a duty to be stewards of the earth, and the unsustainable and uncompassionate animal-product industry rejects that role.

Torah commentator Solomon Efraim Lunchitz, author of K’lee Yakar: What was the necessity for the entire procedure of ritual slaughter? For the sake of self-discipline. It is far more appropriate for man not to eat meat; only if he has a strong desire for meat does the Torah permit it, and even this only after the trouble and inconvenience necessary to satisfy his desire. Perhaps because of the bother and annoyance of the whole procedure, he will be restrained from such a strong and uncontrollable desire for meat. Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, a leading Israeli Orthodox rabbi, stated that “The dietary laws are intended to teach us compassion and lead us gently to vegetarianism.”

Hope you enjoyed my little summary for why I’m vegan.. I welcome you with open arms! (Just btw – I was vegetarian first – so I support any steps that cut of animal-products out of your diet..Do I think one person makes a difference? Well probably not, but the world is made up of SEVERAL people and at least I can live with myself happily knowing I’m not contributing to unnecessary additional suffering in it.)

Do it “you have nothing to lose but your elevated blood cholesterol”

Little video dispelling vegan myths 🙂

Some informative links:

http://www.vegansociety.com/resources/animals/

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/sep/14/vegan-diet-health-planet

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/jul/31/what-really-thinking-vegan  (Feels like I wrote this..!)

http://www.jewishveg.com/schwartz/dietlaws.html (for my Jewish friends 🙂 – Guess what? RAMBAM was vege!!!)

http://www.thejewishchronicle.net/view/full_story/20205934/article-Choose-veganism–honor-Judaism–and-kvell

Israel vs Hamas

24 Nov

Since the recent conflict and Israel’s operation Pillar of Defense began last week and  having now concluded , there has been an atmosphere of undeniable and most importantly irrational hatred towards Israel.

Firstly, it appears that the fact thousands of rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel prior to the recent conflict has been largely ignored (preventing a great proportion of the Israeli population from living a normal life) and yet at Israel’s retaliation, anti-Israel groups immediately flock to criticise the murderous and aggressive state of Israel. The right (OBLIGATION) of a sovereign nation to defend itself apparently does not apply to the Jewish state.

Despite the fact that, as Netanyahu pointed out, Israel withdrew from every inch of Gaza (evicting its own citizens for the sake of peace), rather than allowing it to prosper and become the “Singapore of the middle-East”, Hamas took power and turned it into a launch pad for terror. The blockade was a consequence (two years AFTER! Hamas began immediately firing rockets into Israel, smuggling arms, and forcing their disgusting ideology upon the people of Gaza) of the terror Hamas has imposed both on the citizens of Southern Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza.

Despite this, Israel has done huge amounts to separate the terrorists controlling the strip from the innocent people, and support Gaza. It has provided Gaza’s electricity, funded projects, and supported the people of Gaza as much as possible -all funded by Israeli Banks. A few mentioned here (http://www.aish.com/jw/me/Israels-Support-of-the-Palestinian-Economy.html )

Throughout the recent conflict, over 100 trucks of gas/food etc… of aid was sent from Israel to Gaza. During the military operation, the IDF did everything possible to minimise civilian casualties (including leaflets, phonecalls etc..)  http://www.idfblog.com/2012/11/15/how-does-the-idf-minimize-harm-to-palestinian-civilians/ provides the information at the time.

By contrast, Hamas, was and will continue to commit double-war crimes by EFFECTIVELY hiding behind their civilians and aiming their rockets directly at Israel’s civilians.

Criticising Israel’s actions as disproportionate is simply wrong. One must look beyond the figures and decide who is truly to blame. It should be pointed out that if Israel was less developed, the IDF was as not advanced as it was and the Iron Dome system was not in place, Isareli deaths and casulaties would be much greater.

Another interesting article highlighting the double-standards regarding Israel’s military action http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/brendanoneill2/100190310/why-is-israeli-militarism-looked-upon-as-more-disgusting-despicable-and-criminal-than-the-militarism-of-any-other-nation-on-earth/

What sort of stable society can Hamas, a (TERRORIST) group, that kills it’s own people for suspected cooperation with Israel, kills their people for being gay, uses their people as human shields, states in it’s charter how it wishing to destroy Israel and I quote “the time will not come until Muslims fight the Jews (and Kill them)” and has no respect for human life, bring?

This is why ultimately I am disappointed in the ceasefire. I will not try and mince my words – the goal should be to destroy Hamas and its detrimental regime.   (who by the way have ALREADY broken the ceasefire agreement).

(Recommend to read – Richard Kemp support of IDF and the necessity of the blockade, Israel’s restraint and the unlikeliness of a successful ceasefire http://www.algemeiner.com/2012/11/20/former-afghan-british-troops-commander-on-possible-israel-hamas-ceasefire-i’m-skeptical-of-how-long-it-can-last-exclusive-interview/

Furthermore, it is important to remember who the real enemy is to the arab world: the dictators repressing their people and the militant Islamic fundamentalist terrorists gaining power. It is not Israel.  http://www.arabnews.com/arab-spring-and-israeli-enemy  We have seen what Hamas has done to the security of Southern Israel and the palestinian people in Gaza, this should be reason enough to topple the regime.

Frankly, I don’t remember any US-Al-Qaeda negotiations, or anything of the sort. There should be no dialogue with terror. The ceasefire – unfortunately it is true – has arguably given some form of legitimacy to Hamas and has given them an opportunity to restock in arms (supported I’m sure by Iran) which will lead to the next inevitable conflict and more loss of life.

The amazing Mossab Hassan Yousef, a son of one of the founders of Hamas -who spent years inside the regime working undercover for Israeli intelligence) has given his perspective. http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/162454#.ULEQ7dvKcec

The enemy is Hamas, not Israel. Freedom for the people of Gaza and the people of Southern Israel can only be achieved when they are eliminated.

 עם ישראל חי

Side points: Hamas Charter (if you’re interested in reading it’s vile words) – http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/www.thejerusalemfund.org/carryover/documents/charter.html

Also interesting – Muslim supporters of the state of Israel

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_supporters_of_Israel

P.S. Must express my anger at the anti-Israel bias, especially in respected BBC, and the claims by anti-Israel groups that it was the other way around are beyond absurd! Photo-fraud, biased reporting and often actual lies..  Very sad…