Stardate 20010318.1540 (On Screen): It's about damned time. This business has got to stop. For the last twenty years or so hundreds of families have been destroyed by "therapists" who work with grown children and convince them that they were molested as children, even though there's no evidence whatever. The problem is that memory doesn't work the way most people think it does.

People think that their memory is like a videotape recorder. There's a popular myth that one actually stores everything one sees, but that in most cases one can't recall it. But with help, through hypnosis or with other techniques, "the memories can be retrieved". Worse, the belief is that the memories are actually there and actually affecting you negatively until this is done. The reality is that memory is not like that at all, and equally that you can remember things which are false, and that you do not store things which actually happened. Indeed, it's possible to create memories of things which never happened. This has been established beyond all doubt and is well known to professionals. Memory is associative and changeable, not sequential and permanent.

Unfortunately, there's a fringe culture on the edge of psychotherapy of less-than-totally-qualified "therapists" who work this theory. Using techniques they claim helps people "remember", they're actually creating false memories of childhood sexual molestation, or worse. Those then "treated" proceed to accuse their parents or other relatives of non-existent crimes, file lawsuits, attempt to inspire criminal investigations, and often cut those relatives off and refuse to see them. I think these "therapists" honestly believe what they're doing is valid -- but there have been a lot of sincere quacks. The pain and damage this has caused is uconscionable, especially since the actual value of this "therapy" is negligible -- except to the therapist, in the form of fees. So I'm glad to see that the courts have started taking notice and have started awarding damage claims on this crap. The damage is real and this is truly malpractice of the worst sort. If we can get fifty or a hundred $5 million damage awards out of the way here, maybe these "therapists" will begin to realize that they're causing more harm than good (or their insurance companies will).

Stardate 20010318.0815 (On Screen via alien green babe detector): Am I the only person in the universe who doesn't ever watch the Oscar broadcast? Sometimes it seems that way. I simply don't understand the thrill, and from what I read it's usually a horribly tedious show which seems to last forever. Evidently I'm not missing anything; better to sleep through it and read about it the next day in the paper. But if they were to introduce a "Best Cleavage" category I might actually tune in. Maybe it'd be refreshingly honest: "I'd like to thank God and my mother for giving me great tits, and also Playtex without whom I would never be here." Or perhaps some other worthy categories would help.

Unfortunately, that is probably the only way Jennifer Connelley could get the Oscar she really deserves. If you learn what's really going on it becomes obvious why the Academy Awards so often miss the mark. The "Academy" is a collection of industry professionals in all categories of movie making, and new members are nominated by and approved by the existing membership. That tends to make the whole thing rather incestuous, and also tends to make its own attitudes self-sustaining. These days, when I read an analysis of the nominees they tend to say both who should win, and who will probably win -- and often they're different. That's a sad commentary on the taste and judgement of "the academy" who, in many cases, have a vested interest in the outcome (not to mention suffering from rectocranial inversion). I'm far more inclined to give credence to the little-known Online Film Critics Society awards.

Stardate 20010318.0700 (On Screen via lifeform detectors): Science is endlessly fascinating. It's also vital in this day and age for nearly everyone to have a comprehensive understanding of it. Scientific issues are increasingly becoming political issues: what kinds of ways are available for us to use to generate power and which should we use? Should we or should we not genetically modify crops? Does it make sense to spend $20 billion on this weapon system? These, and a thousand other questions are ones we cannot ignore -- and yet the majority of people are not prepared to actually evaluate them rationally because they don't have the grounding needed to understand them. This problem starts early, with the woeful state of our schools and the textbooks they use. Part of the problem is that textbook choices are often made at the level of states (instead of classrooms or schools) and unfortunately in some cases the people elected to those committees have agendas (like "No science textbook in my state is gonna teach kids about eevolootion!").

Primary school textbooks in the US have been scandalously bad for decades, especially history books which have been

Captured by MemoWeb from http://denbeste.nu/pregrey/20010313.shtml on 9/16/2004