Tag Archives: Mane

Freaky Friday: Bully Brains

by Richard

This is actually kind of scary. We know that being bullied makes for some big-time backlash for the young dudes who get bullied. What we didn’t know until recently is that being bullied also makes some physical changes in the brains of those kids who get bullied.

Yeah, that’s right. Young dudes who get bullied actually suffer permanent changes to the structure of their brains because of the bullying.

If we thought there was a reason to crack down on bullying in schools before, brother, you’d better believe there’s more of a reason now.

They lurk in hallways, bathrooms, around the next blind corner. But for the children they have routinely teased or tormented, bullies effectively live in the victims’ brains as well — and not just as a terrifying memory.

Preliminary evidence shows that bullying can produce signs of stress, cognitive deficits and mental-health problems.

Now University of Ottawa psychologist Tracy Vaillancourt and her colleagues at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario plan to scan the brains of teens who have been regularly humiliated and ostracized by their peers to look for structural differences compared with other children.

“We know there is a functional difference. We know their brains are acting differently, but we don’t know if it is structural as well,”said Vaillancourt, an expert in the biology of bullying.

According to Vaillancourt, she finds changes to the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for memory.

Bullied young dudes have already been found to score lower on tests that measure verbal memory and executive function, a set of skills needed to focus on a task and get the job done. Mental-health problems, such as depression, are also more common.

Come on, dudes. This is ridiculous. We need to have a zero-tolerance policy for bullying in schools that’s actually enforced all the time, every time.  Kids need to feel safe when they’re at school, trying to learn.

I mean, come on. How can you learn if you’re constantly looking over your shoulder, fearing the next push or the next time someone starts name calling?

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Trippin’, Fallin’ & Spyin’

by Richard

All right dudes, now is the time in our trip to Washington, DC, where we don the cloak, slip the dagger up the hidden sheath under our shirt sleeves and get our spy on.

That’s right. We did a day at the International Spy Museum, the home to cloak and dagger, derring and do, and the rectal tool kit. But more on that in a minute. The Spy Museum is in downtown Washington, DC, and offers an amazing experience for young dudes and older dudes and dudettes alike. Of course, the upshot of the entire experience is to glamorize the spying profession and make them seem like valiant defenders of our natural order, but, well, you take what you can get out of it.

When you enter the actual museum, the first thing you have to do is assume your cover and your legend. Your cover means the identity you assume when you’re on a mission that could turn hostile. The legend is the background that goes with your cover ID and makes it believable. Turns out I was made for this role. I played the part of Sandra Miller, a 62-year-old clothing shop owner in Australia. Hey, I passed all the tests so I must have been a good master of disguise. Either that or I made a convincing 62-year-old woman. Not sure I want to think about that one too long.

Anyway.

The museum takes you though a history of spying, basically to tell visitors the secret history behind the history of the world. There are sections where the museum sort of slays the myth of James Bond and Mata Hari. Sections where the younger dudes (and some older ones with mental age permanently set on child) can crawl through ductwork and spy on the other visitors. Sections that cover the revolutionary war, the civil war, WW I and WWI, up through the Cold War and into the information age with a section on cyberWar.

It made for fascinating reading. There were also whole sections on some of the cool tools spies use on their missions.

Which leads me to the rectal tool kit. This was a tiny (although not as tiny as I would have liked), cylindrical tube, stuffed to the gills with lock picks, saws, pens, all sorts of stuff designed to make it easier for a spy to escape and evade capture. And it was stored. . . Well, I’m guessing you can probably figure that out just by the name alone.

This was seriously a great time. Not only did all the little dudes, their mom and I all learn a whole bunch of interesting stuff, we had a marvelous time doing it. Definitely go get your spy on.

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