Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Synthesis Sketch Report

For this post, I will write a synthesis sketch report on the decision problem I have been discussing over the last few months.  The problem is as follows:
Should you use marijuana to treat for anxiety or depression?
In order to address this problem, I have formed two hypotheses.  The two hypotheses are as follows:
Marijuana is effective when treating for anxiety and depression,
Marijuana isn’t effective for treating for anxiety and depression.
As marijuana is an illegal substance in most of the world, the professional studies I will use will mostly focus on the latter hypothesis.  Finding studies for both of these hypotheses are difficult, but the studies I have found mostly relate to proving the second hypothesis.  I will use three studies to address this issue.
For the former hypothesis, I will use newspaper articles that support its claim.  It was decidedly easier to find articles that didn’t involve actual marijuana use in an experimental environment because of its illegality.
Reports used after the break…

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Article Review 3

The study that I used for this review was an interventionist study to determine the effects of marijuana on driving ability.  The causal hypothesis for this study is as follows:  marijuana impedes driving ability.   
According to the study, the smoking of marijuana by human subjects has a detrimental effect on driving skills and performance in a restricted driving area.  Furthermore, this effect is greater under normal driving conditions on city streets.  
While the effect of marijuana is not uniform in all subjects, the effect of smoking the substance is bidirectional.  Whether or not there was a significant decline depended on the subject’s ability to compensate and the dose of marijuana consumed. 
The street portion of this study tried to emulate regular driving conditions.  However, the actual driving experience on city streets was purely experimental.  The study provided for maximum safeguards which contained a dual control vehicle and a driver observer.  Also, subjects were professionally screened and were determined to be emotionally stable.   
The study concluded that driving under the influence of marijuana should be avoided as much as driving under the influence of alcohol. 
Details of the study after the break…

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Article Review 2

Substance abuse and posttraumatic stress disorders: Symptom interplay and effects on outcome

The above study examined the association between substance abuse disorder (SUD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and symptoms and mechanisms underlying those associations.  Participants of the study were assessed at the beginning of the study and six months following inpatient SUD treatment.  Since the treatment was necessary to conduct this study, it can be classified as interventionist.
Because SUD and PTSD occur together often, a more clear understanding of this dynamic may identify areas for intervention.  This also includes how different substances may be related to different PTSD symptom clusters.  For example, hyperarousal symptoms were associated with alcohol problems.  
Details of the study after the break…

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Article Review 1

Marijuana Use and Depression

The study I will be using for my first article review is called Marijuana Use and Depression which was conducted by Brian E. Green and Christian Ritter.  I will use this study to help test my hypothesis:  Using marijuana helps to treat for stress and depression.
The goal of the study was to find an association between using marijuana and adult depressive symptomatology.  Variables being examined included “age of first marijuana initiation (values = age),” “frequency of current marijuana use (values = low, medium, high),” “the use of other licit and illicit drugs (values = yes and no),” and “whether marijuana was used to cope with problems (values = yes and no).”
Because of the differing reports of past studies on the effects of marijuana and depression – from showing that the effects of marijuana have little to no effect on depression to showing that marijuana users are more likely to experience symptoms of poor mental health – this study attempts to resolve the differing findings by exploring numerous aspects of marijuana usage.
The variables used come from the Young Men and Drugs Survey (n = 1,941).  Participants in the study were born between the years of 1944-1954. Because the study relied on a survey, the observational method was used in lieu of an interventionist one.

The sample was selected by using a “multistage stratified random sample of men” which was drawn from the Selective Service System.  The data was then collected using face-to-face interviews.  Participants were roughly between the ages of 65 and 75.  Measures used in the study include marijuana use, educational attainment, employment and marital status, other drug use, and depression. 
Results were shown through tables.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Possible PIP Topics

For this semester, I was asked to complete a Personal Inquiry Project (PIP).  The goal of this project is to use formal theory about causation to enhance decision making abilities in real life situations.  During the semester, I will conduct scientific research about a causal hypothesis that could be relevant to my future.  I will then evaluate the hypothesis based on research and decide how to act based on its conclusion.  After the break, I will begin the project by offering three decision problems that I might choose to investigate.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Conservatives ramp up rhetoric to accuse Obama of reverse racism in schools


The conservative “media” is at it again.  They are blatantly espousing more disinformation – yes, disinformation and not misinformation – about a campaign to ensure students are punished fairly in our schools.  The author, Neil Munro, would have you believe that President Obama wants to punish white kids more, but a read through the above link will show you only a fool could fall for such rhetoric i.e. the conservative base.

The quote Munro uses from Obama states that he wants to promote "a positive school climate that does not rely on methods that result in disparate use of disciplinary tools." 

If anything, the quote Munro uses contradicts his story. 

Great journalism there. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Theory v Fact: Analyzing austerity and stimulus

Yahoo: The varying impact of austerity and stimulus

"...the best way for a government to put austerity into effect is by cutting subsidies and raising taxes for low earners, and the best way to carry out stimulus is by cutting taxes for high earners."

The article presented is ridiculous for no other reason than it only addresses theory and not facts. This is a typical tactic by conservatives -- rhetoric -- as facts have a liberal bias. We have over seventy years of historic policy that would -- and has -- refuted trickle-down theory.

Three things:

1.) Tax cuts do not create jobs. They never really have. Go back to 2001, or go back to the eighties when Reagan was forced to raise taxes after cutting them.

A similar fate awaited Bush I.

Unfortunately, Bush II made that same mistake TWICE while sending us into TWO wars (not to mention Medicare Part D which holds the country hostage to pharmaceutical companies) thus having to borrow from China to fund them.


Oh yeah, no job creation from the tax cuts despite what the article would have you believe.

There's that liberal bias again...

2.) The article does not address consumer spending...you know...that little thing that attributes seventy percent of GDP.  This is kind of important when dealing with job creation as spending creates a demand; demand creates jobs.  Stimulus helps consumer spending; it’s implicit. 

3.) Which brings us to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  In 2010 alone, the nonpartisan CBO reported job growth from the stimulus at upwards of 3.6 million jobs and unemployment reduced upwards of two percent (despite more investor and consumer confidence driving more people into "unemployed" status).

And I'm not sure what country the author is living in, but we have had six-digit job growth almost every month for some time now.

I haven't even touched the auto bailout.

Again, the bottom line is that the author only writes in theory. I just don't understand why he ignores past policy...unless he just doesn't like the facts being presented.