This Week

Remembrance of Things Painful

Every Friday we take a look back at the week’s headlines, centering on a theme we’ve singled out as particularly important. Many of this week’s stories were related to remembering the bad things in order to make a better, happier, and more pain-free future.

Researchers find “manipulating” past memories of drug use can help addicts avoid relapse:

Tests 180 days later showed that levels of cravings were lower in those treated during the “memory window” than in the other groups. These experiments were backed up by further tests on “addicted” rats.

Our brains seek explanations, and will find new ones should the old ones prove unsatisfactory:

From our phenomenological point of view, it may seem to us that we construct and use theories in order to achieve explanations or have sex in order to achieve orgasm.

When sane people check themselves into asylums, the doctors can’t tell the difference:

The researchers presented themselves at 12 different mental institutions around the U.S. as patients “worried about their mental health.” They were admitted and diagnosed as insane.

Who doesn’t need a leather vest? A book advance, remembered:

And it sucks to have spent all that money and to be broker than a joker now. But if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t do anything differently… except for one thing.

There’s time to figure out how to fix climate change, rather than wait for it to kill off 40% of living species:

the fact that it’s manageable is the best reason to try to tackle it rather than abandon all hope like a steerage class passenger in the bowels of the Titanic.

Merely by keeping on its best behaviour, Germany has managed to reawaken the historic “German problem”:

Germany has spent the last 65 years trying to earn its way back into the company of civilised nations. It is hard to believe that its citizens will be content to demolish the political civilisation they have so painstakingly rebuilt with decades of blood, toil, sweat and tears.

Science proves the worst homophobes are the closeted:

“Individuals who identify as straight but in psychological tests show a strong attraction to the same sex may be threatened by gays and lesbians because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves,”

Paul Ford: “Why I am leaving the People of the Red Valley”:

Nowhere was it clear how many deer I would have needed to share in order to move to a larger cave.

Before-and-after photos of participants in the Barkley ultramarathon, so tough only 12 have ever finished.

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