Pain and the Perfect Storm


A perfect storm has been brewing across the United States—and in Oregon, in particular—and most of us haven’t even noticed.

Turns out managing pain on a daily basis is killing us.


What’s noteworthy about the pain management crisis is that the blame crosses all sorts of boundaries.

We all-too-readily blame individuals for their addiction to pain-killers, and we quickly blast pharmaceutical companies for promoting drugs.

Physicians, too, shoulder some of the blame, in part because states like Oregon require them to ease their patients’ pain or face punishment. Continue reading

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Native American Heritage Month

How should we approach conflict?

Cochita Storyteller

Cochita Storyteller

Ask Granny, my mother said, when I wanted to know what it was like growing up in the depression.

In my family we turned to our elders when we had questions.

So I wonder how my elders would respond to questions from non-Indians about Indian life.

Do Indians smoke peace pipes? Why don’t you like Indian mascots? Can I wear your tribal costume for Halloween? Continue reading

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Babies on spikes


Gallows humor

One day I came home from running afternoon errands to find my then-middle school daughters sitting on the sidewalk in front of the house torturing their Barbie dolls.

The girls had shorn their dolls’ hair and had scrubbed off much of the plastic on the dolls’ inflated breasts which now looked like the side of a cardboard box (they sanded the naked fronts of the dolls on our sidewalk).

I wasn’t sure whether to be horrified at the maiming or praise the girls for their feminist act. Continue reading

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Creating Doubt


The Dark Side of Politics

The new documentary Merchants of Doubt knocks down the lies one by one.

And then the film knocks down the assumptions, one by one.

But it’s hard to know what’s worse: the lies we tell each other, or the lies we tell ourselves?

Merchants of Doubt shatters the first lie by exploring the scientific, peer-reviewed studies about global warming.

Widely-spread rumors that scientists disagree is actually false. Continue reading

Posted in american indian, Climate change, framing, journalism, merchants of doubt, Native Science, science, science communication | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments


Originally posted on Red Lake Writer:

Mom says, “Let’s stop and see if the bears are there.”

So we turn off into the dump grounds, where six large dumpsters are lined up on an asphalt pad inside a ten foot high chain link fence.

It is night.

Our headlights illuminate almost everything–to a height of about six feet.

The scene is ghostly.

A bear saunters out from between the dumpsters–wary, as any wild animal is on an Indian reservation.

He is huge for a bear, at least a good six hundred pounds.

He walks slowly away and out of the compound with a full white garbage bag clutched in his mouth.

He is followed closely by a black and white mother cat–her belly hanging down loosely–
as if she were his pet,
hoping for a morsel leftover from her master.

Another bear rises from scrounging within one of the far dumpsters.

His form towers three feet…

View original 58 more words

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Science as Politics


And Politics as Science

You gotta love Kathleen Hall Jamieson.

Jamieson is the doyenne of political communication.

In addition to her impressive career as a public affairs and media scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, Jamieson is one of Bill Moyers’ confederates.

Pop open a video of one of Moyers’ programs on media and politics, and there’s Jamieson, primed for a well-reasoned, fact-checked discussion.

Jamieson turned up this week at the National Association of Science Writers meeting in Boston, as one of the speakers discussing science, knowledge and public opinion.

Surrounded by a horde of science writers, Jamieson made a confession. Continue reading

Posted in censorship, Climate change, communication, education, ethics, global warming, human origin, journalism, Kennewick Man, NASW, news bias, science, science communication | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let me do that for you

Miser Silas Marner

Miser Silas Marner

Cognitive effort and auto-pilot

Psychologists have long observed that muggles like us shift into auto-pilot to save cognitive effort.

We’re all cognitive misers.

But sometimes it’s a good idea to break habits.

For example, I look for teaching moments throughout the day: opportunities when I can help a student figure our something for herself.

Know what?

Sometimes I end up doing rather than guiding. Continue reading

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