Last login: Friday, June 28, 2013
Reading this entire letter is physically and intellectually painful. Unfortunately for him, the claims Mr. Tasin makes are not supported by independently verifiable, peer reviewed research.
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@PatientEarth: I realize that this response is extremely late but better late then never I suppose. I can't say that I've ever heard the term "addictionologist" so therefore I'd wager that I am not one. The use of ketamine as a method to treat heroin addiction in the blog I posted is not without merit. As I demonstrated in the post itself, the research in that area shows promise for the use of Ketamine in aiding those addicted to heroin as well as benefiting those who suffer from depression. Such research is still far from being implemented in a clinical setting however, it does show promise. If you are curious about the research I cited, I'd be more then happy to provide the journal articles for you. I'm always willing to share scientific knowledge!
I have a few beers I think are fairly exceptional:
1. Paulaner Hefeweizen - one of the best hefeweizens I've had the pleasure of tasting.
2. Shiner Smokehaus - a great beer with an interesting smoky flavor, those of us who love spending time around the grill would enjoy this one.
3. Tilburg's Dutch Brown Ale - This one is extremely smooth and has a great flavor. I used to be able to buy it at the HEB on Rio Grand and then one day...poof...it's gone. Now the only place I can find it at is Specs in Victoria and a four pack goes for around $9!! That's a big change from the $6 sixer I used to get.
This is an interesting way to address the issue of gangs from, however time will tell if it is effective if that is evaluated. I do think that a major advantage is the inclusion of the entire family in the program. When I was working with at-risk youth for a local school district a few years back, they were looking for a reliable bullying prevention program and finally found a great one. It was developed to specifically include not only the students and teachers but also parents and others in the community as a whole. All the literature researching its efficacy found it to be an exceptional program.
As for the Scared Straight programs that you mention familyman, while it's great that it worked for you overall the research seems to find those popular programs wanting. In fact they may have detrimental effects upon the kids.
An article in the journal Crime and Delinquency found the programs "can have harmful effects" (Petrosino, Turpin-Petrosino & Finckenauer, 2000). Another, later, meta-analysis found similar conclusions across the literature on such programs (Petrosino, Turpin-Petrosino & Buehler, 2003). Some of the earliest evaluations of such programs dates back to the late 60's before the birth of the popular Scared Straight program itself. They found an actual increase in offenses committed by those going through the program as opposed to those who did not. Subsequent, independent evaluations found similar results. Efficacy research has found the programs not be very useful.
However, a popular TV show "Scared Straight: 20 Years Later" boosted the popularity of the programs with testimonials from people who went through the program. Unfortunately the program relies upon anecdotes from various people, the use of celebrities and the spouting of elementary "statistics" which were not found in the research literature.
Unfortunately there are many programs around which attempt to help at risk youth but lack any type of evaluation to determine if they are actually effective. When I worked at that school district I proposed a post-hoc program evaluation for one of their programs they were considering refunding. Their reaction was unanimously encouraging with one person remarking, "we never thought of that". Previously they simply went off the perception on teachers and assistant principals instead of actual collection and analysis of data.
Petrosino, A., Turpin-Petrosino, C. & Finckenauer, J. (2000). Well-meaning programs can have harmful effects. Lessons from experiments of programs such as Scared Straight. Crime & Delinquency, 46(3), 354-379
Petrosino, A., Turpin-Petrosino, C. & Buehler, J. (2003). Scared Straight and other juvenile awareness programs for preventing juvenile delinquency: A systematic review of the randomized experimental evidence. The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 589(1), 41-62.
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It was actually critical thinking and delving into philosophy and science which led me away from Christianity and organized religion. I've also heard this from many others as well.
Aside from the odd title of Mr. Smith's column, I find one small paragraph a bit puzzling as to its inclusion.
Mr. Smith stated, "Evolution being taught in the public schools may take root in the minds of some. Young men and women can be brainwashed by "intellectual" college professors."
Let's apply critical thinking here. Evolutionary biology is the science of change in the populations of organisms over time. How might this lead someone from Christianity? It is possible if they must place themselves into the pitfall of a dichotomous decision - such as biblical literalism as opposed to an evolutionary origin of the human lineage and Homo sapiens.
However, there are many Christians who have no problem with studying, understanding and accepting evolutionary theory as an established scientific theory and holding strong to their faith. For me even before I changed my affiliations I saw no contradiction between my religious views and my acceptance of evolution.
The problem comes when holding a literal interpretaion of biblical stories.
As for the "brainwashing" by college professors accusation, I would suggest Mr. Smith apply critical thinking and use of logic to examine his own claims. It would interesting to hear some examples of this "brainwashing" - is it widespread? Only in state facilities or does it exist in private institutions as well? How can be pick out those who are brainwashing and those who have been brainwashed? What is the criteria to be considered brainwashed? What is the methodology for brainwashing itself? How can we measure and track the incidence of brainwashing in the college student body? What does prior research into brainwashing say? Or is this just a lack of applying critical thinking?
Myvu said, "...replace it with a smaller type outdoor shopping facility such as those scattered around Houston and other cities that could be filled with fewer but more attractive retailers."
I've heard many a friend, family and acquaintance state something very similar time and time again. It seems that the conventional shopping mall is being trumped by outdoor shopping centers and outlet malls. I'm not sure if this would hold up to analytical scrutiny but it would seem that this is the case even in larger cities. I lived in San Antonio for the past year before moving back down to the Crossroads area and even the big malls there are suffering from a large number of vacant areas and smaller crowds even around holidays; the outdoor centers, though, seemed to always be packed full of shoppers coming and going such as San Antonio's Forum (technically in Live Oak) and even the fancier Rim retail center. Another example would be the two outlet malls in San Marcos (I lived there for about two years) which always seemed to be bustling with activity.
But, again, I must stress that I can't say this is the case in general as I'm only going upon my own observation and the anecdotes of others.
In echoing some of the idea of myvu, I think examining some of the things which have worked in other areas may help. For instance, with the issue of the Victoria Mall - it has been my own observations and anecdotally supported by others that the average shopping mall is out in favor of larger outlet type malls. San Marcos would be an example with the two outlet malls they have there - Tanger and Prime Outlets.
Also the expansion of UHV is a great thing for Victoria and should be supported in any way it can.
Another consideration is for nightlife. One complaint I commonly hear is "there's not much to choose from" - however it is easy to say "there's not enough places to go" yet difficult to entice people to open these places which could be a large barrier.
However, I am neither an expert in economic development nor an economist so all I can provide is my personal opinion which is based upon nothing more than my observation.
@EdithAnn: I'm not sure about anyone else but I'm not trying to "win" anything. I also stated in my comment, "Many other words could have been used but the term did entice powerful responses yet it may have taken attention away from the article as a whole".
I certainly never said you were wrong for thinking another word would have been more appropriate for something that is read by the masses. Actually I never stated that anyone was wrong for their sentiments regarding the article.
@EdithAnn: I did acknowledge that position when I wrote about social cognition, I stated, "...when the word "rape" appears it is almost reflexively connected to the forceful sexual act against a person's will. And, yes, when most people hear or read the term that is what comes to mind even though it holds other more socially innocuous meanings."
Also I believe the standard, if I remember correctly, for writing in print media is an 8th grade equivalent. For many 8th graders I've met in recent history the term "rape" has taken on a whole new slang meaning - but that's besides the point I suppose.