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September 22, 2007

BehindTheMedspeak: Psychiatrists and Religion


Long story short: "Of all medical specialties, psychiatrists are the least religious," wrote Nicholas Bakalar in a story in the September 18, 2007 New York Times Science section; his piece follows.

    Two Paths: Religion and Psychiatry

    Of all medical specialties, psychiatrists are the least religious, a survey has found, and the most religious doctors are the least likely to refer their patients to psychiatrists.

    In addition to questions about their own beliefs, the 100 psychiatrists and 1,044 other specialists who responded to the survey were asked about their attitudes toward religion in clinical practice. For example, the survey asked doctors whether they thought it proper to ask about patients’ religious beliefs and whether they had ever prayed with a patient.

    Although psychiatrists were just as likely as other physicians to report that religious beliefs influenced their practice — about half said it did — just 29 percent of psychiatrists, compared with 47 percent of other doctors, said they attended religious services more than once a month. When asked whether they described themselves as religious or spiritual, 42 percent of psychiatrists and 53 percent of other doctors said they did. About a third of psychiatrists, but almost half of other physicians, said they “look to God for strength, support, and guidance.” Psychiatrists were significantly less likely to be Protestant or Catholic and more likely to be Jewish or have no religious affiliation.

    Most doctors would refer a patient to a psychiatrist for emotional problems. Protestants were about half as likely as those with no religious affiliation to do so, preferring clergy or other religious counselors.

    “Religion and psychiatry are two different ways of responding, and two different ways of bringing healing,” said Dr. Farr A. Curlin, the lead author of the paper, published in the September issue of Psychiatric Services and an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. “In some clinical situations, they will always be rivals.”


Here's a link to the abstract of the above-cited paper; the abtract itself follows.

    The Relationship Between Psychiatry and Religion Among U.S. Physicians

    Objective: This study compared the religious characteristics of psychiatrists with those of other physicians and explored whether nonpsychiatrist physicians who are religious are less willing than their colleagues to refer patients to psychiatrists and psychologists.

    Methods: Surveys were mailed to a stratified random sample of 2,000 practicing U.S. physicians, with an oversampling of psychiatrists. Physicians were queried about their religious characteristics. They also read a brief vignette about a patient with ambiguous psychiatric symptoms and were asked whether they would refer the patient to a clergy member or religious counselor, or to a psychiatrist or a psychologist.

    Results: A total of 1,144 physicians completed the survey, including 100 psychiatrists. Compared with other physicians, psychiatrists were more likely to be Jewish (29% versus 13%) or without a religious affiliation (17% versus 10%), less likely to be Protestant (27% versus 39%) or Catholic (10% versus 22%), less likely to be religious in general, and more likely to consider themselves spiritual but not religious (33% versus 19%). Nonpsychiatrist physicians who were religious were more willing to refer patients to clergy members or religious counselors (multivariate odds ratios from 2.9 to 5.7) and less willing to refer patients to psychiatrists or psychologists (multivariate odds ratios from .4 to .6).

    Conclusions: Psychiatrists are less religious than other physicians, and religious physicians are less willing than nonreligious physicians to refer patients to psychiatrists. These findings suggest that historic tensions between religion and psychiatry continue to shape the care that patients receive for mental health concerns.

September 22, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Copyleft: Copyright meets the Bizarro World


If Leonardo were still alive he'd smile at this.

I first learned of copyleft's existence in Wired magazine's Geekipedia supplement to its October 2007 issue, both of which arrived about an hour ago in today's mail.

The Geekipedia's entry reads as follows.


    The brainchild of software developer Richard Stallman, copyleft turns copyright on its head.

    Rather than restricting distribution of creative works, this voluntary license guarantees their propogation through a clever viral trick: Anyone is free to copy or alter the work as long as the results are likewise unfettered. (The most common forms of copyleft — the GNU Public License and its permutations — cover Wikipedia entries and a variety of software programs.)

    It sounds like public domain, but copylefted works remain under copyright.

    Violating the requirement to copyleft any derivative works constitutes infringement punishable under federal law.


I have no idea what that all means.

Read the Wikipedia entry on copyleft if you don't already have a headache.

September 22, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

StreetAdvisor.com — Is your street Hot or Not?


"Launched in the U.S. this past summer by Australian brothers Jason and Adam Spencer, the mission is to get users to rate the street they live on and comment on it," wrote Sue McAllister of the San Jose Mercury News about this site in a story appearing on SiliconValley.com.

Here's more from the article.


    At StreetAdvisor, a site launched in the United States this summer by Australian brothers Jason and Adam Spencer, the mission is to get users to rate the street they live on, and provide commentary about it. In three months, 1.5 million streets have been added, Jason Spencer said, but he admitted it's hard to get users to add content as fast as the company would like. Out of every 10 people who sign up for the site, perhaps three write a review straight away, he said.

    "They don't want to be the first to interact. People are very cautious about what they put online," he said.

    Another surprise for him was that people regularly write about what they dislike about their streets. "I thought a lot more people would rate their street perfectly.... They're being very honest." A site user in New York, for example, recently wrote of his street, "all the big trucks coming into Manhattan early in the morning from Brooklyn use it as a short cut.... From 4 a.m.–6 a.m. it sounds like a heard of elephants."

    That brings up the question of how much honesty online real estate sites can take when many depend on income from real estate agents, some of whom might prefer that commentary about particular streets or homes stays positive?

    Spencer said StreetAdvisor will remove clearly inappropriate or racist comments, "but if they are talking about the kids down the street having parties at 3 a.m., we don't take that off." Realty agents have not complained, he said.

September 22, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

foldschool.com — 'free cardboard furniture for kids, handmade by you'


Created by Switzerland-based architect


Nicola Enrico-Stäubli.


"The downloadable patterns can be printed out with any printer."


"Follow the instructions


and assemble a stable piece of furniture."



September 22, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Oil as 'black gold' — Not just a euphemism


Some years ago I noticed an interesting relationship between the prices of gold and oil, namely that an ounce of gold always seemed to cost roughly 10 times the price of a barrel of oil.

It was true in 1950, 1960, 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000, and right up to the present.


You could look it up (above).

So when will gold cross the magic $1,000/ounce barrier?


Easy: When oil hits $100 a barrel, which will occur within 24 hours of Iran closing the Strait of Hormuz.

September 22, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Lawnchair — by Fung + Blatt


Architects Alice Fung and Michael Rosner Blatt took the word literally and created just that: a chair that sits like a lawn because it is a lawn.

From the designers' website:


    The lawnchair is fabricated from renewable materials of steel, rubber and felt, and then finished with a layer of sod or ground cover.

    It is contoured for comfort and fully functional.

    Before sod, the chaise body weighs 25 lbs. and can be shipped dissembled from its base.

    When “upholstered” with sod, the lawnchair is easily movable by two people.

    The lawnchair is equipped with a built-in “moisturizing” system that promotes even distribution of moisture under the sod, thereby minimizing evaporation and run-off.

    The lawnchair comes in a choice of 3 bases: a concrete footing base [top], a lightweight “double-V” metal base [below] and a caster base for greater ease of mobility.



Price upon application: products@fungandblatt.com

September 22, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Be my neighbor


A house has just come on the market in my little (38 houses) subdivision (map above).

The subdivision is called Montvue.

The house for sale (below) is around the corner from me (I live on Magnolia Drive and the one available is on Montvue Drive, south of the intersection), about a 1,000 foot/3 minute walk away.


Inquire within.

September 22, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Talking Elvis Pen


The perfect companion for your Talking Elvis Keychain.

From the website:

    Talking Elvis Pen

    Talking pen speaks the actual recorded voice of The King!

    It says one of 6 different phrases like "Hi, this is Elvis Presley," "Just hang loose for a minute," and others!

    Includes replaceable button battery.


September 22, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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