Thursday, December 14, 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

This has nothing to do with suicide
I've been listening to educational CDs and the latest one concerns famous Romans. In particular i was listening to the biography of Emperor Augustus and it struck me that the claim that the biblical book of Revelations is a piece of political propaganda is probably true. But what also occurred to me with as much force was how much it was a political move to claim that some fellow named Jesus was born so close to the winter Solstice, which is when many pagans celebrate the rebirth of their sun god.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Van Stadens Bridge in South Africa is becoming increasingly popular with jumpers. One news story quotes a police detective who believes one reason for the incresase in suicide attempts there is ... that people are reading about the bridge in the papers and on the internet".

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The City of New York wants its visitors and citizenry to eat healthy. Whether they want to eat healthy is another issue.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

It has occurred to me that i might try to make a habit of posting my literary efforts here or else announce the addition of them to here. Would folks like for me to do that?
tanka #191 (in memoriam to the people who died on 9/11/01)

In the autumn days
The nights grow subtly longer
Smells in the air change
Some leaves fall mutely away
Others fall to earth ablaze

Friday, September 01, 2006

Judge Aiken is asking whether there were warrents issued to spy on some environmentalists and the goverment has until the 12th of this month to respond.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Recently in Australia a baby whale that was found stranded on a beach was euthanized because that option was considered the most humane and in the whale's "best interests". Given the arguments opponents of euthanasia in that country give for why euthanasia is a bad thing, i can't help but wonder (again) about the quality of life for the average Australian.

I don't really need to spell out why i think this is so ironic, do i?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A 93 year old woman with a degenerative disease that left her in chronic pain has traveled from Australia to Switzerland to die. Right to Life Australia's response was to condemn the woman's choice; if they had any constructive suggestions as to how a person could obtain satisfactory pain relief, the news media elected to not include it in the coverage of this news story. Given their babbling about how suicide makes life "cheap", though, i doubt that they actually had any such suggestions to offer.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Israeli police montitor chats for purpose of suicide intervention

Somehow i thought they had enough to do with trying to prevent suicide bombings. Shows how much i know.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Girl commits suicide after being barred from a key exam

You need to lay down your burdens and just show them what you know, Li said.

This is advice coming from a psychiatrist who seems to think that Chinese students are too stressed out and just need to relax, but given that they are in an environment where they can be harassed and penalized for something as petty as how they wear their hair, i can't help but wonder if this expert has any real grasp of the realities these students contend with.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Five girls in Vietnam commit suicide together by drowning.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Freud would have had a field day with this
Evidently there's something in the U.S. called the "Purity Ball", wherein girls, sometimes as young as 7 years old, pledge to their fathers that they won't have sex until marriage. The fathers, in turn, pledge as the "high-priest" of the family to essentially guard the kid's virginity.

Aside from putting the girl in a cloister, i'd like to know how he proposes to do that. On second thought, i don't want to know. It's kinda creepy to contemplate.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

I wonder which alternative is worse for military morale: pulling out soldiers who are depressed about being stuck in a hell-hole situation or having said soldiers blow themselves away.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Recently a man in the United Kingdom has apparently committed suicide by jumping in front of a train. Evidently this is the second train suicide within a week. Two suicides does not a trend make, but it would be interesting to see whether additional instances of suicide by train in that country are reported in the news any time soon.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

If i understand the whole affair properly, cannibal Armin Meiwes being found guilty of murder (overturning a previous court's decision to find him guilty of manslaughter) seems to be based on the argument that Meiwes "should have known that Brandes was disturbed and should have questioned his motives for wanting to be killed." As i'm not privy to the exact details of how the two individuals interacted, i couldn't say one way or the other whether Herr Meiwes should have decided Brandes was incompetent to make his own decisions. But i'm certain i don't understand a legal system that allows a conviction to be effectively upgraded to a more serious offense; wouldn't the hearing that resulted in the change of the charge/conviction from manslaughter to murder be a form of double jeopardy?

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Should i laugh or should i cry?
GlaxoSmithKline, which is one of the bigger pharmaceutical companies, has won over $1 billion in contracts to make flu vaccine. This is the same company that makes paxil.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

body count: 2; the usual method

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ms. Goodman recently wrote an op-ed piece that criticized the bloggers who harshly criticized Jill Carroll for saying certain things while being held at gunpoint by her captors in Iraq. A number of the things that have been written and said about Ms. Carroll are admittedly rude and inappropriate; describing a complete stranger as a "spoiled brat", when the individual making that judgment probably knows less about her subject than about slander laws, gives the impression that, for that particular blogger at least, blogging is more about venting spleen than about rationally and objectively discussing whatever topic is at hand. And, yes, a number of people out in the blogosphere probably owe Ms. Carroll an apology.

But whether this damages the respectability and credibility of blogging in general is an open question. Has the New York Times gone out of business since the exposure of Jayson Blair's fabricated stories? Did people stop reading the Washington Post when Janet Cook's Pulitzer Prize winning story about a child drug-addict was revealed to be a hoax? The reputations of the individual authors in question, certainly, are tarnished, and the exposure of their frauds has definitely proved to be a turning point in their respective careers, but mainstream media doesn't appear to have suffered a loss of respectability on their account.

Which is really too bad. It isn't clear which is worse, to issue a knee-jerk villification of a journalist who participated in creating a propaganda piece to save her skin or a journalist participating in the creation of propaganda because he or she thinks the story is more important than the reality it supposedly portrays. In the sphere of journalism, is the former worse than the latter, or vice versa? People look like fools for the former but are more likely to get fired for the latter, so perhaps the latter is the worse of two faults in the transmission of ideas. And yet, bending facts to fit theories and fables is so commonplace; Blair and Cook are not alone in being caught doing this and one can only guess how many stories are being circulated whose fictional element is not exposed. And for each story that contains an outright lie, one can only guess how many news stories there are that ignore facts that don't support the reporter's own bias.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A cautionary Tale
Hailed as a hero by the press, a woman decides to intervene on an attempted suicide after reading an online suicide note. I'd like to know how much concern do-gooders demonstrate for a stranger they intervene on, say, six months later.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

body count:3; usual method
Lest there be any confusion, please note that this one involved 2 men and a woman whereas the previously reported incident involved two women and a man.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Not all attempts to suicide succeed
Latest pact in Japan leaves 2 dead and 1 in critical condition.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

body count:4; usual method

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Australian Democrats leader Sandra Kanck is planning a parliamentary speech which may possibly be in violation of the Suicide Related Material Offences Act in that country which makes discussion of suicide methods or anything which can be construed as incitement to commit suicide a criminal act. We'll see what happens.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Idle musing
Reading one of Aleister Crowley's books[1], i've recently discovered that the Hebrew word for "blood" is "dam". So that got me thinking about what it means to "damn" someone and whether in the original sense to damn someone was to punitively draw hir blood. That in turn prompted me to try to find some sort of etymological discussion of the word. According to one Christian the word derived from the Latin word "damnare", which means loss or harm. That could conceivably cover the instance of shedding someone's blood. The Hebrew word for "shedding" is quite different from "dam", but given the way languages mutate over time and the way languages borrow from each other it wouldn't surprise me if originally the Latin word was a way of saying someone bloodied someone else. But what i found most interesting about all this was that apparently we have the Xtian religion to thank for turning the word "damn" into a profanity. It seems that with the help of some sloppy translation of the original Greek into English, a perfectly servicable word was converted into mild blasphemy (if blasphemy can ever be considered mild), and this seems to be, yet again, an example of how people in power wield power arbitrarily.

[1]"Magick Without Tears"

Friday, March 10, 2006

body count: 6+3=9; CO method was used with both groups.
The group of 3 had apparently met at a hospital. I'm waiting for people who clamor to have suicide fora shutdown to start clamoring for the shutdown of hospitals. Feh.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Roger Graham has been deported from Cambodia for having a website that encourages people to travel to that country for the purposes of committing suicide.

Monday, February 20, 2006

a note on the description line: the quip about fuzzy bunnies has been replaced with a quote from Sir Thomas Browne because in a small way it reminds me that the Renaissance had more to it than fancy bloomers and artists like Shakespeare. It's also a rather playful swipe at the folks who righteously burble about the "death culture" that can be found on the internet and how awful they think it is.

We are all but variations on the same theme, folks.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

University of Washington students decided to not create a memorial to honor World War II veteran Col. Gregory "Pappy" Boyington. Angered by the decision, various people around the nation have suggested, among other things, that the students should commit suicide.

I find myself wondering if the parents of said students would approve of the sentiments. In any case, there's an element of irony in all this that is exquisite.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Given that over 30,000 suicides occur in Japan annually, it's rather bizarre that the journalists should describe the number of suicides in Japan connected to pacts made via the net as "soaring" to 91 in the previous year. 91 deaths don't even account for 1% of the suicides that occur in Japan.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A bible question for the Xtians:
In Luke 8:10, Jesus after telling a crowd a parable says to his disciples:
To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of God; but for others they are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they may not understand.
Now, if someone goes around the countryside preaching, what is the point of obfuscating one's message? If it's important to keep Truth(tm) away from the mob and reserve it for a select few wouldn't it make more sense to keep one's yap shut in public?

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A man participates in a suicide pact and fails to die, getting convicted later of manslaughter for the death of the other person in the pact.

Moral of the story: get it right the first time.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Meanwhile, earlier this month a college student from Marin County, California, clearly committed suicide by shooting himself.
Two teenaged girls in Wisconsin died after being hit by a train. The relatives object to the official ruling that it was a double suicide. If it wasn't a suicide, maybe they should be nominated for a Darwin Award.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Google tells the U.S. Justice Department to sod off. Perhaps not in so many words, but the ideas is clear enough. Good for Google.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Oregon's assisted suicide law has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. It's nice to know the States still have some perogatives.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke is holding workshops on the "peaceful pill" in New Zealand.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Researchers believe they have found Mozart's skull (sans jawbone). Now, can someone tell me why it's acceptable for people to dig up a stranger's skull and make it part of some museum but if you or i were to put someone's skull on display in our homes it would be considered macabre if not ghoulish?