Sunday, March 22, 2015

a few links for the weekend (even if it's nearly over)

Northwestern salmon beats Atlantic salmon in all sorts of ways, in flavor and in color.  Turns out the most expensive part of salmon that is farmed may be the pellets fed to the salmon so they don't LOOK farmed.

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/03/the-costliest-part-of-feeding-farmed-salmon-a-pill-that-turns-them-pink/387586/

Ted Gioia proposed that the late Romantic rafters-shaking music of yesteryear may have paradoxically found its new lease on life by way of first-person shooter video games.

Over at The Atlantic James Parker writes a case for canonizing G K Chesterton

On other topics, the question of whether AA (you know which one) even works in any way at all, has come under some scrutiny in some parts.  For that matter, there's some who doubt the efficacy and proper methodology for the entirety of the addiction recovery industry.

http://www.theatlantic.com/features/archive/2015/03/the-irrationality-of-alcoholics-anonymous/386255/
... Nowhere in the field of medicine is treatment less grounded in modern science. A 2012 report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University compared the current state of addiction medicine to general medicine in the early 1900s, when quacks worked alongside graduates of leading medical schools. The American Medical Association estimates that out of nearly 1 million doctors in the United States, only 582 identify themselves as addiction specialists. (The Columbia report notes that there may be additional doctors who have a subspecialty in addiction.) Most treatment providers carry the credential of addiction counselor or substance-abuse counselor, for which many states require little more than a high-school diploma or a GED. Many counselors are in recovery themselves. The report stated: “The vast majority of people in need of addiction treatment do not receive anything that approximates evidence-based care.”

...
There is no mandatory national certification exam for addiction counselors. The 2012 Columbia University report on addiction medicine found that only six states required alcohol- and substance-abuse counselors to have at least a bachelor’s degree and that only one state, Vermont, required a master’s degree. Fourteen states had no license requirements whatsoever—not even a GED or an introductory training course was necessary—and yet counselors are often called on by the judicial system and medical boards to give expert opinions on their clients’ prospects for recovery.
  


In case you absolutely want this to thematically link to some other stuff, it might be worth considering how people approached Redemption Groups in the history of Mars Hill.  Was it presented as a church-based option for getting some help that would be supplemented by professional assistance in other contexts like counseling, medicine, and other care?  Or was the Redemption Group presented as a more one-and-done option?  Mileage would probably vary wildly and is not necessarily the "point" of this post, which is more just a links-for-the-weekend.

HT to our friends over at Mockingbird for spotting the "Church of TED" piece recently:
Here's a fun little excerpt:
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/15/opinion/sunday/the-church-of-ted.html?_r=1
... A great TED talk is reminiscent of a tent revival sermon. There’s the gathering of the curious and the hungry. Then a persistent human problem is introduced, one that, as the speaker gently explains, has deeper roots and wider implications than most listeners are prepared to admit. Once everyone has been confronted with this evidence of entropy, contemplated life’s fragility and the elusiveness of inner peace, a decision is called for: Will you remain complacent, or change? Jesus said to the crowds, “Whoever has ears, let him hear.” A skilled tent revivalist can twist those words to suggest that simply showing up to listen makes you part of the solution.


Over at The American Conservative Steve Wasserman has a long entry that includes the following proposal about the arts world now.

"What is missing today is a cultural ecology that permits the second-rate to fail upwards."

It's intriguing that at the point where the popular arts and the "high" arts converge, aka formerly known as middle-brow those on the pop side tend to look down on the middle-brow while people ranging from Scott Timberg to Terry Teachout (older guys with careers as critics, not-too-surprisingly) have in the last few years said that the middle-brow had the advantage of being a middle.  Or as Timberg's been saying relentlessly and ardently, you don't have to like all the middlebrow stuff but they're like species in an biosphere where if you lose them the ecology of the culture may be damaged. 

What if, just for instance, an example of a viable middle-brow could be high-end production cartoons?  Pixar films?  Hardly avant garde but not exactly "lowbrow" all across the board. 




















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