Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stuart Schneiderman: Why do women cheat?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fiction for those who like non-fiction and what is it with vampires?

One of the great things (among others) about being a blogger is receiving advanced copies of books in the mail. Yesterday, Lawrence Kane, the author of such non-fiction books as The Little Black Book of Violence: What Every Young Man Needs to Know About Fighting and Surviving Armed Assaults sent me his new work of fiction, "Blinded by the Night," that comes out soon.

I must admit that I am not much of a fiction reader. As a psychologist, I find truth to be stranger and more interesting than fiction, but I decided to give Kane's book a try. I am still not finished and plan on taking it with me on vacation, but I must say, so far that it reads like non-fiction and held my interest with the intriguing characters. I like the fact that Kane himself is a martial artist, and works in the security field as this insight gives real life to his characters, mainly in the form of officer Richard Hayes who is a Seattle cop.

The book opens with the reader learning about Hayes's life and what is going through the mind of a cop as he works with various predators. This is the stuff I'm interested in. At some point, Hayes goes hunting for a serial killer, and then the book runs more into metaphysical fantasy when he finds out that "the vampire he destroyed was the ruler of an eldritch realm...By some archaic rule, having defeated the monster's sovereign in battle, Richard becomes their king. Now he is responsible for a host of horrors who stalk the night, howl at the moon, and shamble through the darkness."

Now, normally, here is where I would drop out of the book, figuring that the fiction aspects would bore me, but Kane's use of psychological insight and his knowledge of the inner world of cops and martial arts has kept me reading. It's quite insightful and full of information about how this particular cop thinks about violence, which has piqued my interest.

Anyway, I'll stop here and read some more but I do have one question to ask of readers: Why are these darn vampires, like those in the Twilight series so interesting to consumers of fiction?


Monday, July 19, 2010

"Training doesn’t create jobs.”

New York Times: After Job Training, Many Still Scrambling for Employment:

Hundreds of thousands of Americans have enrolled in federally financed training programs in recent years, only to remain out of work. That has intensified skepticism about training as a cure for unemployment.

Even before the recession created the bleakest job market in more than a quarter-century, job training was already producing disappointing results. A study conducted for the Labor Department tracking the experience of 160,000 laid-off workers in 12 states from mid-2003 to mid-2005 — a time of economic expansion — found that those who went through training wound up earning little more than those who did not, even three and four years later. “Over all, it appears possible that ultimate gains from participation are small or nonexistent,” the study concluded.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Atlantic: The End of Men (via Newsalert):

Polling data on American sex preference is sparse, and does not show a clear preference for girls. But the picture from the doctor’s office unambiguously does. A newer method for sperm selection, called MicroSort, is currently completing Food and Drug Administration clinical trials. The girl requests for that method run at about 75 percent.

Even more unsettling for Ericsson, it has become clear that in choosing the sex of the next generation, he is no longer the boss. “It’s the women who are driving all the decisions,” he says—a change the MicroSort spokespeople I met with also mentioned. At first, Ericsson says, women who called his clinics would apologize and shyly explain that they already had two boys. “Now they just call and [say] outright, ‘I want a girl.’ These mothers look at their lives and think their daughters will have a bright future their mother and grandmother didn’t have, brighter than their sons, even, so why wouldn’t you choose a girl?”