Saturday, June 10, 2017

Notes: Psychopath Childhoods; Flying; Flying TVs; Refugee Day

New York Post article about a Norwegian study:
"Two “extreme” parenting styles have been linked to children becoming criminal psychopaths in later life, a study has revealed.
The Norwegian University of Science and Technology interviewed high-security prisoners and found many have a history of either total parental neglect, or rigidly controlling, authoritarian parents."
OK, so this is a study looking back from someone who ended up in prison.  I've always assumed that prisoners have figured out they'll get more sympathy if they tell people they were abused as kids.  I would imagine the researchers have figured this out too and have methods to avoid being told what they expect to hear.

But how about a study that follows kids to see how they turn out?  What percent of neglected and kids with authoritarian parents end up messed up?  How do you defined messed up?  I was thinking susceptible to Trump like tactics.  But George Layoff already argued that authoritarian parents have kids who want an authoritarian leader.(Scroll down to the Family heading under Conservativism and to the nurturing family under Liberalism.)

New York Times piece, Paying a Price For Eight Days of Flying in America:
"The trip had its share of surreal moments — interrogated by a security agent at one point, I forgot what city I was flying to — and I felt increasingly removed from myself, dehumanized and disaffected. Through a grim twist of fate, every flight seemed to leave from a gate in a distant corner of the terminal. Sitting again and again at the back of the plane, I wondered, am I getting enough oxygen?"

I'm not recommending this one, but it's (another?) example of finding what you're looking for.  She was looking for bad experiences and found them.  I mean, the route she took in a week guaranteed she wouldn't have enough sleep and would be grouchy as hell the whole time.
I think about eight hour bus rides I used to take in Thailand to go 200 miles.  Dusty.  Hot.  Chickens.  No toilet. Unpaved roads.  Dare-devil drivers.   Going 2000 miles in five hours in air conditioned seats with arm and head rests?   Luxury.

OK, There's a lot about flying to complain about - the proliferating fees, the shrinking seats, the carbon footprints,  and all the time it takes just to get on the plane.  And we should rightly work to change these things.  Through lobbying for more competition and as consumers who can refuse to fly and let the airlines know why.  And if you do have to fly, minimize the things that cost extra.  I know we can't always do that, but I see a lot of people forking over $8 for a digiplayer every time I fly.

She complains about people who pay more getting treated better.  Hey, that's the American way of life.  It's just on planes the coach passengers have to walk through first class.  The really rich fly on private jets.  And the wealthy get better everything in the United States, it's just done where you can't see it.  The more we see the class system, the more people might start to figure out our system isn't fair.  But I also have to say that a lot of the first class seats on Alaska anyway, are frequent flyers who get bumped up even though they are paying coach fares.

But still, it's pretty remarkable how quickly we can get to distant places in relative comfort.  Since I tend to fly on Alaska Airlines, I may be spoiled compared to other airline passengers, but I also plan for the trip, have something good to read, or to work on the computer, and my own food,  and the time passes quickly.

So, yes, let's do something to fix the ever increasing ways airlines gouge us (outrageous change fees would be on the top of my list), but in the meantime, prep for the flight, be respectful to the people around you, and think how much better this is than doing the same trip by stage coach.

A New Yorker piece called "White House On Lockdown After Television Is Hurled Out Window"

In these times of outrageousnous, I had to read through the writer's bio to confirm this was a joke.  It's hard to do satire when the president does it so much better.

From the Catholic Anchor,  World Refugee Day celebration set for June 11 in Anchorage.

"World Refugee Day is an annual international celebration established by the United Nations to honor, recognize and celebrate the positive contributions of refugees worldwide.
“Catholic Social Services hosts its annual World Refugee Day celebration on Saturday, June 11, 4-6 p.m., at Clark Middle School* in Anchorage.
[UPDATE:  Seems I got last year's announcement and the times wrong.  Sorry about that.]
After facing unimaginable challenges as they were forced to flee their homes, living precariously for years in refugee camps or cities, our clients have been given the opportunity to rebuild their lives,” Catholic Social Services related in a statement about the upcoming celebration. “'They now have access to rights and freedoms they have long been denied: stable housing, education for their children, and opportunities to work and become economically self-sufficient.'”
I've been doing some volunteer work** with RAIS (Refugee Assistance & Immigration Services) and I promise you'll meet some very interesting people from places like Bhutan, South Sudan, Mexico, Congo, Somalia.  People you've been reading about.  And maybe have seen out and about in Anchorage.  But this will a setting where you're encouraged to engage them in conversation and ask about why they've left their homes and what it's like to be here.

*Clark is north of the Glenn on Bragaw - where the old Mt. View library used to be.

*Not a lot.  A few Saturday mornings.  The program is just getting started and they're working out the kinks.  But I've met some impressive people.


  1. I haven't read the NYT piece about travel but I just got back from spending several hours at DFW -- got there early, and then our flight was delayed for hours -- and have some observations about airports. DFW, at least terminal B, is an extremely spacious airport. (Heck, DFW itself occupies about half the state of Texas.)

    Not so hot if your gate is changed from B49 to B5, but quite comfortable to hang out in. Plenty of seats (and very comfortable ones), plenty of room in between the rows. Not a lot of TVs, and what they have are on mute. Lots of restrooms with lots of stalls and sinks. Most of the restaurants have their own seating areas.

    When our flight was gate-changed and delayed for the second time, and people were being bumped and rebooked, there was none of that last-days-of-Saigon stress/panic that I have seen so frequently in other similar situations. Thus my new insight about air travel: space mitigates stress.

    By contrast, I have been in too many airports where there are too few seats, where people are camped out in the corridor lying against their backpacks, where people are eating lunch sitting on the floor or leaning against the wall, where people are reluctant to go to the can because their seat will be occupied when they get back. Anxiety spreads quickly when two dozen people overhear your every word; one person afraid of missing a connection infects a whole lot of others; one rude jerk gives dozens of others a bad mood.

    The airport itself is one of the few aspects of the air travel experience that isn't under the direct control of the money-grubbing airlines. So it seems to me that cities who want a good reputation among travelers could invest in roomier terminals (I know, I know, we might have to RAISE TAXES.....). Crowding is bad for rats and really bad for air travelers.

  2. kathy, Interesting point on space. Gates with under 50 seats for a 737 are definitely a problem. And I suspect a study will show a correlation between passenger anger and cramming more seats onto planes.

  3. And shortly after I wrote this comment, I read a story in the Monday NYTimes about a marketing guy who says marketing as we know it is obsolete. One of the new approaches he says would be exciting is for a company to pay for a beautiful "Aetna departure lounge in terminal B" or new comfortable "Aetna cars" on the train. I'm all for it.

    1. I have a problem with corporations choosing what public infrastructure gets built and what doesn't. I'd rather they pay their taxes (you know their accountants will take the maximum tax deductions for things like this) and we make these decisions democratically. Yes, I know, our democracy isn't doing so good right now, but if we cede all responsibility to corporations it isn't going to get better. Besides, I'm tired of stadiums and university buildings etc. becoming billboards for corporations. (In Alaska this is a way to get around our no billboard laws.)

    2. couldn't agree with you more -- but in a political system where taxes are even worse than atheism and transgender bathrooms, I'd rather see the Aetna car than no train at all

    3. I guess it's a short term vs. long term tradeoff. If things get bad enough, people will begin to reconsider taxes. If private corps fill the gaps, then it's more proof to the anti-tax folks that business is better than government and things keep going down hill.


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