Each Monday, I will post on the Season 8 Game of Thrones episode that premiered on HBO the night before. Each post will be constructed in three parts: a) a synopsis of the selected episode, b) the hidden (or not-so-hidden) motifs, and c) how it all relates to the field of psychiatry (e.g. motivational theory). WARNING: This post contains spoilers. Synopsis The Last of the Starks is the fourth episode of the 8th season of Game of Thrones (and the 71st overall). From Wikipedia: “The North mourn their dead, burning them on funeral pyres. During a somber feast, Daenerys legitimizes Gendry as a Baratheon, and names him Lord of Storm's End. Arya declines Gendry's marriage proposal. Jaime and Brienne become lovers. To protect her position as queen, Daenerys asks Jon to conceal his true parentage. Bronn arrives to kill Jaime and Tyrion, but spares them in exchange for Highgarden. Daenerys wants to immediately attack King's Landing, but her war council disagrees. Jon reveals his … [Read more...] about Game of Thrones: The Last of the Starks
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It seems nothing is more popular than Science-Fiction right now. From Star Wars, to The Avengers, to The Handmaid’s Tale—nothing is bringing in more money or sparking more conversation. That's one reason I did my newest course for The Great Courses, “Sci-Phi: Science Fiction as Philosophy.” Indeed, it seems that what science fiction does best is philosophy. One might even argue that the earliest sci-fi tales were told by philosophers to illustrate philosophical concepts or make philosophical arguments. Take Plato’s story about the Ring of Gyges--a ring that makes its wearer invisible. The questions it raises about whether one should bother being moral motivates the entire conversation of Plato’s Republic. Or take Plato’s cave allegory, that imagines a group of people fooled into thinking shadows are real. Plato uses it to make a point about the value of knowledge (and also to inspire the 1999 sci-fi blockbuster, The … [Read more...] about How Trump is Improving (and Ruining) Science Fiction
Just a few years ago, I was listening to a psychologist who works on beliefs about climate change telling us that we humans have to keep global warming within 2 degrees Celsius of its present temperature or people will literally die in the equatorial sauna when they try to harvest their food. I don't know if this Mad Max desert-vision version of our future is likely to be true, but it appears we're going to get to find out. Following the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the director of that panel, Michael Oppenheimer, has now said that avoiding 2 degrees warming "is now totally unrealistic." So what are we humans going to do about it? Well, if you ask people what they can do themselves about climate change, most will say "drive less", "turn out the lights", and "recycle". Few will mention diet. What is remarkable is that diet is probably the single largest and most immediate change that anyone can make. In the latest United Nations report, … [Read more...] about Climate Change and Diet
"Whistleblowers" report unethical behavior in a group or organization to a third party. Source: Kane Lynch, used with permission. Organizational and social psychologists point to whistleblowing as important for the upholding of moral and ethical standards in groups, organizations, and society. Psychologist Farid Anvari and his colleagues say that while whistleblowing may create instability in the short run, in the long run, it can be critical for an organization’s prosperity and survival. Our laws also acknowledge the value of whistleblowing. This is why a variety of whistleblowing laws protect the right of people to report wrongdoing without fear of retaliation. Whistleblowers feature prominently in the Trump Ukraine scandal, making it a good time to think about psychological research on whistleblowing, and how it might apply. Personal Costs Often Prevent Whistleblowing One thing we know is that despite its social and organizational benefits, … [Read more...] about Whistleblowers and Rats
Source: "The Jinx"/HBO Police in northern California back in 2012 handed over financial records to the Los Angeles Police Department that placed murder suspect and multimillionaire Robert Durst squarely in Los Angeles at the time of writer Susan Berman’s 2000 murder. According to former Eureka Police Department Detective John Bradley, his department gave their findings to the LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Unit. When reached by telephone, now retired Lieutenant Tommy Thompson confirmed that the paperwork places Durst in Los Angeles, where Berman lived. “San Francisco police contacted us when Durst resurfaced there,” Thompson told me in an interview for my book, Murder of a Mafia Daughter. “They said they could put Durst in Los Angeles at the time of (Berman's) murder.” Source: "Mafia Daughter"/Barricade Books Another financial record of Durst’s goings-on shows him flying from New York to … [Read more...] about What Did The LAPD Know About Robert Durst and When?