Skepchick Quickies, 2.16


Jen is a writer and web designer/developer in Columbus, Ohio. She spends too much time on Twitter at @antiheroine.

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  1. OH NO! I’m an aggressive rage-walker! I haven’t reached the point of muttering to myself and bashing into people yet, but my internal monologue sounds like an old man: “Damn kids these days… don’t people realize that they aren’t the only ones on the sidwalk/subway platform…grumblegrumble…”
    Seriously though, for me it’s all about courtesy. I have a hard time understanding how a person who is blocking a narrow path between a stairwell and the tracks on a subway platform cannot be aware that A) It’s a bad place to stand and B) There just might be other people who need to pass by.
    I usually chalk it up to folks just being oblivious of their surroundings. But the article strikes a note in me when the researcher says:

    Ragers tend to think people should do things their way, and get angry because the slow walkers are breaking the rules of civility.

    That’s kind of exactly how I feel.
    Well, at least I am now diagnosed and can seek the help that I require. :)

    @Siveambrai: I remember those! They were just on the news again yesterday.

  2. You want to know who drive me into frothing rages? The jerkwads who stop to talk in chokepoints. There are perfectly good open spaces on either side of where they’re sitting to chat (usually with grocery carts, for that extra level of douchiness), but they’re going to stand in a narrow space, forcing everyone to either wait for them to cease being douchenozzles or push through them.

    If you’re in a public place, find someplace non-restrictive to have your chats. If you’re walking slowly, try not to get three abreast with other slow people, as some folks don’t want to wait for you to decide to clear the way. It’s common politeness, jerks.

  3. “Sidewalk Rage” or “My everyday commute through Midtown Manhattan”.

    BTW, I thought that the treatment the mom in Philly wants to use runs the gamut of woo, not just homeopathy.

  4. I don’t really have sidewalk rage. If someone is blocking my way, I just say “Excuse me” and they usually move. That’s actually one of the reasons that road rage is much worse for me; there’s so little interaction with the other people.

  5. My wife and I are both free thinkers. She has a Ph.D. in Epidemiology and is professionally interested in evidence-based medicine. We used hypnobirthing for our two births. We were both still quite skeptical right up to the first delivery.

    The results where nothing short of amazing. My wife had to be induced with Pitocin since labor hadn’t started 20 hours after her water broke. She didn’t use any pain relief. She delivered the baby without any screaming (though she did mutter “fuck!” a few hundred times). But for me, the clincher was seeing the look of perfect relaxation that would appear on her face five seconds after an intense contraction ended. Repeatedly, for what seemed like hundreds of times.

    The amazing doula who trained us has a few new-agey-ish qualities, but she has her feet planted firmly on the ground and is by no means anti-science, even if she is quite opposed to several practices in common use in Obstetrics wards today.

    I’m looking forward to the results of the study. I fully expect the study will find that hypnobirthing produces positive outcomes.

  6. I am totally aggravated with slow walkers — I’m on a college campus, and it’s typically because they are texting or talking on the phone. But I am not abusive-barging-into-people in response. To the contrary, I am AWARE and CONSIDERATE of people around me – if I have to send a text, I’ll step aside, for example. So what aggravates me about these people is that they’re paying absolutely no attention to anyone around them, and couldn’t care less how they impact other people. I mean, it is common for someone to come to a dead-stop in the middle of the stairway b/c they got a text! The situation Mark Hall describes is another example. Seems to me that part of living civilly in a crowded urban environment is thinking about how your actions impact others, and if you refuse to do that, you are being an asshole.

  7. @Mark Hall:

    Yes. Or people who step off the escalator and just stop, and stand there and look around like they’re lost while people behind them are falling down and into each other! I mean, WTF?

  8. “Hypnobirthing?” Really?

    Sounds like the Lamaze method to me – or at least, the method I was taught in the late 80’s (I don’t recognize much of what Wiki reports about it now).

    Simple breathing techniques, about four different ones for different phases of labor, to breathe your way through the contractions. That and real knowledge about what was going on, the ability to get up and move around until near the end, and having a partner with you to help you through it. Got me through two births with no painkillers except for a small local shot prior to the episiotomy (don’t look that up if you don’t want to know).

    But really, why all the extra hoopla and change of name? Is it to pump up the woofulness so it will be accepted by the current generation of new mothers as something new and fantastic, rather than the old standby their mothers used to give birth to them? Can’t be using old woo, now. Gotta have the latest. Jeez….

  9. @Barefoot: You no doubt right that the breathing techniques combined with real knowledge produce great results. But the hypnobirthing (yes, its a corny name) technique did involve meditation techniques that were a form of self-hypnosis. If Lamaze didn’t use those meditation techniques, then they are different methods. Make fun of the wooful name if you want, but you are committing a logical fallacy if you dismiss the method as woo just because of the name.

    It would be really cool if the study being performed did a three way comparison of hypnobirthing, Lamaze and null group.

  10. “Berlusconi is facing charges for prostitution and abuse of power.”

    Basically like arresting Al Capone for evading taxes.

  11. RE: the young wrestler’s injury. I am outraged that the court and medicos can usurp individual prerogative like this.

    There is no indication that the family was going to send him back to the mats with nothing more than a cup of tea and a back rub.

    -He was regaining strength in his limbs;
    -no fractures;
    -lying flat on his back in a neck brace;

    Where is the hazard for the “slip and fall” that COULD do more damage? Did they take out his appendix too? You know, because it COULD get infected.

    Regardless of the mother embracing wishful medicine, performing a probably life altering surgery, against the wishes of the involved parties is an assertion of authority every skeptic should revile.

  12. Re: Sidewalk Rage – I can handle slow walkers, people who stop to chat at choke points, even slow walkers who decide that the exact middle of the sidewalk is the hippest place to be (being 9 months pregnant and, therefore, rather less ambulatory than many other sidewalk users, I prefer to keep to the sides so that faster people can pass – I’m apparently a rare beast).

    What I absolutely cannot stand are people who smoke while they walk. There are so many smoking walkers near where I work that I was invariably bathing in other people’s fumes every single day – from bus stop to work and back again – through my entire pregnancy. I know, it probably won’t make a huge difference, but my total lack of control over the situation bothers me. And earlier in the pregnancy, when I was dealing with a hyper-sensitive nose and morning sickness (otherwise known as “all day sickness”), it was not pleasant to say the least.

    There’s no way of getting around them. None. I’m just stuck walking behind them. Earlier on in my pregnancy, I could sometimes walk fast enough to pass them, but then I would just be stuck behind the next smoker, and then the next. Later on, my options were winnowed to stopping until they had walked far enough ahead, but by that time I had the next smoker in front of me.

    Blegh :(

    Re: Hypnobirthing – I get the logic of relaxing, of getting yourself into a trance-like state, etc. What I don’t like is the propaganda that surrounds the movement – at least as it’s been pitched to me here. I also dislike the term “hypnosis” for largely irrational reasons…

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