Coyne of the Realm on the Daily Show and teaching scientific writing

Quick Thoughts

During the recent Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, I was fortunate to get a ticket to a filming of the Daily Show. I came away with some great insights for teaching my scientific writing course.

14232402_10211124730580979_880852685714409702_nThe Daily Show audience was lead into the auditorium at Annenberg Center hours before the show would begin. Eventually a staffer came out and announced that we were going to be the laugh track for the show. We would be expected to show great enthusiasm on cue. She engaged the audience with a calculated abrasiveness. For instance, she said that some members of the audience might have small gifts for the host Trevor Noah. The staff would later collect them. But if anybody tried to give Trevor a sketch that they had drawn, the staff would ridicule it in the back room without passing it on to him.

Being part of a laugh track is…

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Section 136 Data

Mental Health Cop

Anyone fancy doing a PhD?! – we’re badly in need of some proper research to be done on section 136 data so we stand a chance of knowing what on earth is going on! Friday saw publication by the National Police Chiefs Council of the latest data on the use of this power and we can see various ways of looking at this stuff if we wanted to provide a tabloid-style headline. So depending on whether your glass is half full or half empty –

“Use of police cells as a Place of Safety reduces by over 50%!”

“Police use the Mental Health Act more than ever before!”

In then bears much further scrutiny and begs many more questions –

  1. Why are some police forces of similar size using s136 very differently?
  2. Why are some forces using this power to a very similar extent when they are so obviously different from…

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Fighting Melancholia: What Don Quixote Teaches Us, by Françoise Davoine

The Therapist as Therapon: A Healing Sancho Panzo

Don Quixote book sculpture 2 web

The success of Cervantes’ classic novel Don Quixote – reputed to be the second bestselling book after the Bible – is no doubt due in large part to the author’s remarkable skill in telling a story, as he puts it, “to fight melancholia”. Indeed, the original idea for the eponymous hero first appeared to Cervantes while he was himself imprisoned in Sevilla, on a false accusation – a melancholy experience that triggered memories of a previous traumatic incarceration, when twenty years earlier he had been captured by Barbary pirates (as a soldier fighting against the Ottoman empire) and spent five years as a slave in Algiers.

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