Archive for June, 2011

Are biotechnological advances fueled by the quest to improve the happiness of humankind or to procure greater profits?

June 30, 2011

The ethical issues of biotechnology: Religious culture and the value of life

From Current Sociology

Human society faces many sensitive problems over the value of life as a result of the advancement of bioethics and medical technologies.  Over the last 2 decades many countries have strengthened policies promoting bioscience and advanced medicine. One of the most notable areas is progress in decoding the human genome, increased knowledge about genes, and manipulation and use of the human germline (embryos, sperm and eggs) by technological intervention. This progress has caused concern for some as important questions have been raised about the value of life and unease has been expressed over the potential direction of science and technology. It is argued that the globalized competition in science and technology makes it necessary to transcend the views concerning the value of life propagated by particular religious cultures.  This article investigates how the value of life is conceptualized by religious cultures in regard to the emerging threats.

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People should trust their gut instinct about others, their impressions are usually right

June 29, 2011

Do we know when our impressions of others are valid? Evidence for realistic accuracy awareness in first impressions of personality

From Social Psychological and Personality Science

First impressions are important, and they usually contain a healthy dose both of accuracy and misperception. But do people know when their first impressions are correct? They do reasonably well, according to this study. The findings indicate that there are two ways to be right about people’s personality. We can know how people are different from each other, but a good judge of persons knows that people are mostly alike.

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Perspectives on research impact in nursing

June 28, 2011

From Journal of Research in Nursing

This podcast records Ann McMahon, Editor of Journal of Research in Nursing talking about the recent special issue Perspectives on research impact in nursing. This exploration of research impact makes explicit the links between research in nursing, policy and practice.

View table of contents for this special issue.

Considering initiatives to help alleviate some of the costly burden of disabled people on society

June 23, 2011

Estimates of national health care expenditures associated with disability

From Journal of Disability Policy Studies

This week in the UK a Tory MP caused an uproar hitting the headlines with a suggested policy that disabled people should be allowed to work for less than the minimum wage arguing it offers them better opportunities to join the workforce. Many groups representing disabled people far and wide retorted in disgust at the idea such vulnerable people should be exploited illegally and immorally as a source of cheap labor. At this difficult time of necessary global cuts the disabled demographic seem to be heavily scrutinized with the conclusion often being they are a costly burden. This article examines the total health care dollars associated with disability and recommends that policy makers should consider initiatives that will help to prevent or delay disability and to improve the organization and delivery of services to people with disabilities.

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The stigma of “Singlism”: ever-single women’s perceptions of their social environment

June 22, 2011

“I’m a loser, I’m not married, let’s just all look at me”: ever-single women’s perceptions of their social environment

From Journal of Family Issues

The growing numbers of individuals marrying later or not marrying at all, combined with high divorce rates, have resulted in a growing number of adults who will live a considerable portion of their adult lives as singles. Despite this trend, recent empirical investigations suggest that singles face a particular form of stigma and discrimination, termed “Singlism”.  This reflects a pervasive ideology of marriage and family, manifested in everyday thoughts, interactions, laws, and social policies that favor couples over singles. The implication is that individuals who have a partner are happier, more adjusted, and lead more fulfilling lives. This study examines the complexity of being never married past the median age of marriage in contemporary society, raises new questions, and offers an enhanced understanding regarding singlehood and the Standard North American Family (SNAF) ideology.

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Guns in the home provide a greater risk than benefit

June 21, 2011

Risks and benefits of a gun in the home

From American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine 

Despite the fact that nearly one-third of American households have a firearm, studies show that having a gun in the home poses a household a greater health risk than a potential benefit. This study examined scientific research on both sides of the debate to put hard numbers to this on-going discussion. It considered the various risks of having a gun in the home, including accidents, suicide, homicide, and intimidation. Additionally, the benefits of having a firearm in a household were also examined and those benefits included deterrence, and thwarting crimes (self-defense). From this in-depth look, it was concluded that homes with guns were not safer or deter more crime than those that do not. In fact, it was found that in homes with children or women, the health risks were even greater. “There is compelling evidence that a gun in the home is a risk factor for intimidation and for killing women in their homes, and it appears that a gun in the home may more likely be used to threaten intimates than to protect against intruders,” wrote the author.

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Is the BP Oil Spill a ‘cultural anomaly’ pushing for alternative solutions to an environmental problem, shaping policy and legalistic approaches?

June 16, 2011

The BP Oil Spill as a cultural anomaly? institutional context, conflict, and change

From Journal of Management Inquiry

The BP Oil Spill off the Gulf of Mexico that started in April 2010 and lasted 88 days was, in terms of volume, the largest accidental spill in history. As the world looked on angrily, in the public media, there were multiple attributions of accountability for the disaster. When an event or issue poses a potential challenge to a dominant technological or economic institutional order, conflict ensues over the nature, meaning, and response to the event. If this challenge is significant enough to generate substantial conflict, the event can become a “cultural anomaly” for the current order. Cultural anomalies create a crisis and these result in the exploration of alternatives to long-held, taken-for-granted assumptions.  In the past some oil spills have supercharged policy and legalistic approaches to environmental regulation. This article considers if the BP Oil Spill has become a cultural anomaly, leaving a lasting legacy on our society’s views toward fossil fuels, environmental management, and energy use.

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Breaking rules makes you seem powerful

June 15, 2011

Breaking the rules to rise to power: how norm violators gain power in the eyes of others

From Social Psychological and Personality Science 

When people have power, they act the part. Powerful people smile less, interrupt others, and speak in a louder voice. When people do not respect the basic rules of social behavior, they lead others to believe that they have power. People with power have a very different experience of the world than people without it.

In this study a group who had read stories, watched a video and some who had experienced a constructed scenario in the lab, were observed by researchers to identify the reactions to rule followers and rule breakers. “Norm violators are perceived as having the capacity to act as they please” write the researchers. Power may be corrupting, but showing the outward signs of corruption makes people think you’re powerful.

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Group therapy helps MS sufferers cope with depression

June 14, 2011

Evaluation of an adjustment group for people with multiple sclerosis and low mood: a randomized controlled trial

From Multiple Sclerosis

This new study finds group therapy helps MS sufferers cope with the disease and saves the NHS money. Offering Multiple Sclerosis sufferers emotional support through group therapy sessions could improve their quality of life and save the NHS almost £500 per patient it has been discovered. Researchers are now planning a larger multi-centre study into the issue to establish whether psychological therapy should be incorporated into the MS services currently provided by the NHS. It is recognised that many people with MS have problems with depression and anxiety and there are few treatments provided in NHS clinical services to address these.

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Human trafficking: the unintended effects of United Nations intervention

June 9, 2011

From International Political Science Review

This article examines the unintended effects of UN intervention leading to substantial increases in the human sex trafficking trade into crisis areas. It looks particularly at the cases of Kosovo, Haiti and Sierra Leone. In July 1999 the Kosovo Protection Force entered Kosovo, the war-torn province of Serbia, in order to protect ethnic Albanians. Within months the global human rights community drew attention to the establishment and intensification of human sex trafficking into Kosovo. In August 2004, Amnesty International reported that young women from Eastern Europe were being abducted, drugged, and sold into human trafficking rings in Kosovo.

This paper demonstrates that the introduction of UN peacekeeping forces into a crisis area leads to an increase in the rate of human trafficking, and reveals that the size of the force determines the magnitude of the increase. It concludes that more aggressive monitoring of trafficking patterns following the departure of peacekeeping forces is needed and also a consideration of the best method for reducing the spread of human trafficking in the wake of UN intervention should be undertaken. 

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