“You’re not going to believe what I’m about to tell you” | The Oatmeal

The Oatmeal has a wonderful explanation of the backfire effect about our ever-so-human challenge of changing our own or each others’ minds. I know a few of my hard-to-challenge core beliefs but I’m sure I have more that I haven’t identified yet.

CW: If you want to see the… adult-language version where some of the illustrations use strong language. It is still worth reading and pondering.

What’s the Difference Between Non-Binary, Genderqueer, and Gender-Nonconforming? | VICE

This is a good introductory article with several interpretations of these terms.

“These are all terms that have come out of personal experience,” said Lou Himes, a non-binary Psy-D and Liscenced Clinical psychologist based in New York City. That means there are no concrete definitions to go by. Plus, these terms are relatively new to academia, medicine, and mainstream discourse. The beauty of that: Each person can interpret their differences for themselves and identify with the one that resonates most with them.

This means that the will be multiple interpretations and varying definitions and we can expect that they will evolve – both culturally and personally.

“Meet the neuroscientist shattering the myth of the gendered brain” | The Guardian

The title (above) is a bit of article-hyping clickbait. The article is based on the book The Gendered Brain by Gina Rippon.

My reading of this article (I haven’t read the book) is that it’s not saying that there are no in gender-based differences between human brains but that the differences ascribed to sex and gender haven’t been adequately separated from the developmental influences of our strongly gendered society on our highly plastic brains. Our brains develop and change throughout our lives and many changes are driven by our experiences – what we consume, observe, practice, think, etc. If a set of people of the same sex or gender share some particular brain structure it may be that the structure develops in response to the set of common experiences as people of that gender and not because the brain structure dictated the gender of that set of people.

This article is worth reading.

Update – Here is a more in-depth review of this book.

“How cannabis and cannabis-based drugs harm your brain” | Scents of Science

I am not a cannabis user but I believe that it should be decriminalized, not merely legalized… mostly. In addition, due to the racist and authoritarian origins of the War on Drugs, I think that all pot-related convictions should be expunged and that some form of reparations are appropriate though I have no concrete suggestions about how go about do that.

That said, I think that there is enough evidence to question the idea that cannabis is completely harmless. More studies need to be done and recommendations and policies based on the results of those studies need to be developed to help people weigh the costs and benefits of using this (or any) substance.

Long-term use of either cannabis or cannabis-based drugs impairs memory say researchers. The study has implications for both recreational users and people who use the drug to combat epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and chronic pain. They found that mice exposed to the drug long-term had “significant … memory impairments” and could not even discriminate between a familiar and […]

via How cannabis and cannabis-based drugs harm your brain — Scents of Science