Monday, September 27, 2010

Motorcycles are racist?

Sure, they're dangerous, but according to Johns Hopkins, motorcycles are more likely to be fatal for black people. Blacks and whites, with similar injuries from motorcycle accidents, have noticeably different mortality rates. Even when they both wear helmets, a white motorcyclist has a greater chance of surviving his injuries than a black one.

I'm not really sure how to interpret the results, although I give credit to the scientists for admitting that more research needs to be done. Although they tried to account for factors like the sex of the motorcyclist, the severity of the injuries, and their insurance status, it was 1.5 times more likely for black victims to die, with even white motorcyclists without helmets having a greater survival rate than blacks with helmets. I don't know if this is institutional bias on the part of the hospital, if black motorcyclists are more likely to have pre-existing conditions, or what.

Personally, I'm not a fan of motorcycles. I've never been comfortable on one. All of this reading about motorcycle-related fatalaties makes me more nervous than ever to even think about riding them.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010


Wow, so I've been blogging for over two years. I had no idea it had been that long. I guess time really does fly when you're having fun.

Looking at this blog now, I see some stuff that I've outgrown, and other stuff that I never really grew into. I'd feel better if I spent some time cleaning things up a bit. I have some ideas about what's working and what needs to go, but haven't made a final plan yet.

Does anyone have any suggestions? What widgets work for you? What has helped your blog, and what just takes up space?

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Are Kids Worse Off, or Just More Honest?

This press release from the American Psychological Association has me questioning what they're actually trying to say. I mean, the headline is that college students are "exhibiting" more severe mental illness these days. But does that mean that they're suffering from more severe illness?

What I'm getting at is that just because more college students are reporting (and seeking help for) mental illness now, isn't it possible that there were just as many students in the past who suffered in silence? Let's face it: there's a stigma attached to mental illness, and I think that the current prejudice against mental illness and the people who admit to suffering from it is not nearly as pronounced as it has been in years past. So it's all well and good to call it something like "a shift in the needs of students seeking counseling services," (as John Guthman, director of student counseling services at Hofstra University calls it) but isn't it possible that this is something that they have consistently needed but were afraid to ask for?

Maybe I'm getting wound up about nothing, but I have serious problems with the language used in large parts of the APA's press release. "More students are coming to college with pre-existing mental health difficulties"? Sounds to me like another way of saying "they were like that when they got here!"

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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