The Conversation(s)

Recently, I read an interesting article in an online newspaper called the Conversation. Incidentally, this was the first article I have read in the aforementioned source. First, let me tell you a little about the article and the other good stuff you can find through the same source. Then I want to write a bit more about how I came to learn about one of Australia’s fastest growing alternative newspapers.

According to the Conversation, research suggests that high levels of testosterone are a key factor in the higher incidence of schizophrenia in men rather than women. This is common sense, I guess. However, other research relates higher levels of testosterone to higher cognitive performance within the schizophrenic community. This, to me, poses an interesting question. To what degree should we seek to “cure” something that obviously provides benefits of some sort to the affected individual. This is an interesting philosophical question and one that Kay Redfield Japmison addresses in her memoir, An Unquiet Mind. For those of you who don’t know Jamison is both a leading neoroscience researcher and an individual with Bipolar Disorder. In her memoir, Jamison writes about how painful the decision was to begin taking lithium. (At least that’s part of what I remember from the book).

Fortunately, I think, the Conversation is a great place to stopover and learn more about a number of topics. In my brief virtual holiday, I also learnt a little more about the human genome project, and how scientists have moved closer to using this research to aid individuals affected by conditions of vrious kinds. There is also a large article about human uniqueness that I found interesting reading.

One of the things I enjoyed in my perusal was the section on Endangered Species. If you have an active interest in Australia’s biodiversity, or just like reading about animals, please check in and check out the latest news on our species that have been recently added to our endangered species list. The Conversation provides almost mini-biographies of each species. Incidentally, I am interested in doing something similar as part of my own project http://www.uniqreefrelief.wordpress.com. One of the reasons I blog is because I want a larger say in “the conversation”, that ongoing and perpetual debate about where we are and where we are going as a species. The Conversation to me represents an attempt to provide affirmative answers to both of those questions. The human race has come a long way, baby, and I don’t think we are ready to give up our day in the sun just yet.

The Conversation has given me a little bit more of a look at the kind of thing that we should be endeavoring to create in this day and age. Incidentally, it has an excellent section on the upcoming election, which, to be honest, I am not that fussed about, myself. I mean, I am, because I have a very clear stake in its results, as we all do. But, on the other hand, I see the result as something of a foregone conclusion sadly. Why sadly? Because I don’t think either party is yet providing the right kinds of answers to the right kinds of questions. I have my opinions, of course, and will advocate in my own particular way, partly out of respect for people I respect. But I am interested in doing something a little different, bypassing the mainstream political process almost completely to enact change. How would you do that? Simply, by finding a couple of things that almost everyone believes is imperative to the future of our great nation (if it is one). My idea is pretty radical, like, hey, lets at least try and save the Great Barrier Reef and the koalas.

Anyway, diatribe is over, now I want to continue to tell the interested reader (if you are no longer interested, that’s okay- there is more interesting stuff on the Conversation anyway, please check it out) a bit more about what I learnt this morning. There is a really cool medical facts section and I learnt that the funny bone got its name from a really weird poem about a Jack the Ripper like serial killer. The crowd tore into him til his funny bones might break. And this was a pun on the medical name, the humerus. Geddit. Isn’t that funny? At least, I thought it was kind of interesting. Here is that page.

There is a lot to read there. One of the best uses of such media is to promnote it through Facebook, which I will do later today. I believe that Facebook, and other social media provides us with the tools to have our voice heard. And that is its best use. I suggest people should take the time to pick a couple of things they are interested in and also to think about some of the things the people we know might be interested in and keep on sharing that stuff on Facebook. One of the problems with this of course, is that we might be muddying up someone else”s stream. But, heck, man people have been telling me about all sorts of products and things I have no real interest in for years through Commercial/Television. (Good books on advertising are Adland and Buyology)

So now, let me tell you how I heard about this. Through a conversation. With someone in my neighbourhood, an old friend really. Its one of the many conversations I have been having lately with people in the real world. I’m a pretty awkward guy, so the new media suits me in many ways. I tend to overthink my face to face interactions, and worry overly about the kind of impressions people have of me. It’s part of my overactive social exclusion schema. Thanks Tara for the heads up and the great book. I also recently talked to a man on the plane about all of my stuff. He was from Taiwan, and used to live in Brisbane. Thanks for the chat, mate, I looked for you on Facebook, too, sorry about the soup. I also ran into a lady who used to sell me Christian books, so check them out too. Especially if you”re Catholic and live in the Ipswich area. They might not have what you are looking for but put in a request and I’m sure their helpful staff will do what they can. And some people at the hospice bookstore. So I”m enjoying being back in town.

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