Monday Miscellany: Playgrounds, Primers, Pleiades

1. In the spirit of Into The Woods and Once Upon a Time, this question about that guy with the magic beans.

2. Playgrounds that teach math.

3. Look, a linkdump on excellent depression writing. First, a primer on atypical depression.

There are some “classic” depression symptoms that most people think of when they think of depression: being numb or sad most of the time, being unable to take joy in things you used to like, insomnia, and loss of appetite and weight. You think of the person lying in bed unable to care about or take pleasure in anything.

Atypical depression has a rather different set of features. Instead of insomnia, you may have hypersomnia (oversleeping). People with atypical depression might regularly need to sleep 10 or 12 or even more hours. Instead of loss of appetite, you may overeat and/or gain weight. Instead of being numb or just uniformly sad, you have high mood reactivity, or mood swings. You may find that you’re able to enjoy things and feel happy when things are going very well, but as soon as things are neutral or even just a little bit bad, you feel horrible again. There are two other symptoms that are sometimes present: leaden paralysis, or the feeling that your limbs are very heavy and difficult to move, and high rejection sensitivity, which means being overly concerned about people not liking you or rejecting you, to the point that it impairs your social functioning.

4. Then, interviews that attempted to get at the heart of what depression feels like.

The first theme to emerge from the interviews was the feeling of being “depleted” – in one’s relationships, bodily, and in respect to the past and future.  […] The idea of bodily depletion was conveyed by Sally, whose son had recently been imprisoned for nine years. “It’s like part of you gone, your heart, I don’t know. Perhaps half my heart has gone away.” Later she adds: “I don’t feel like I’m part of my body when I’m down. [ ] It’s like something’s gone inside me and swept my happiness away.”

The feeling of the past and future being depleted (what the researchers call “temporal depletion”) was captured by Paul: “I feel that everything I do, everything has been a waste.”

5. The terrible entrapping way therapists handle suicidality.

6. Lucy is a movie based entirely on the premise that people use 10% of their brains. What if it was based around other misconceptions? Like…touching a toad gives you warts?

7.  I don’t think you have to read A Song of Ice and Fire to appreciate the thought George R.R. Martin puts into his creations. This whole interview is fantastic.

Interviewer: A major concern in A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones is power. Almost everybody – except maybe Daenerys, across the waters with her dragons – wields power badly.

GRRM: Ruling is hard. This was maybe my answer to Tolkien, whom, as much as I admire him, I do quibble with. Lord of the Rings had a very medieval philosophy: that if the king was a good man, the land would prosper. We look at real history and it’s not that simple. Tolkien can say that Aragorn became king and reigned for a hundred years, and he was wise and good. But Tolkien doesn’t ask the question: What was Aragorn’s tax policy? Did he maintain a standing army? What did he do in times of flood and famine? And what about all these orcs? By the end of the war, Sauron is gone but all of the orcs aren’t gone – they’re in the mountains. Did Aragorn pursue a policy of systematic genocide and kill them? Even the little baby orcs, in their little orc cradles?

In real life, real-life kings had real-life problems to deal with. Just being a good guy was not the answer. You had to make hard, hard decisions. Sometimes what seemed to be a good decision turned around and bit you in the ass; it was the law of unintended consequences. I’ve tried to get at some of these in my books. My people who are trying to rule don’t have an easy time of it. Just having good intentions doesn’t make you a wise king.

8.  Pleiades:

9.  What’s successful in terms of increasing years of student participation in school? (For bonus points, guess before you click the link)
1) merit scholarships for girls
2) free primary school uniforms
3) providing information to parents on how schooling increases income
4) deworming through primary schools

 

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