I have a weird feeling about this!

Premonitions
(Voir plus bas pour la version Française)

I have a confession to make. Before I get on an airplane I think about it crashing and I imagine my family at my funeral. When my kids are out late, I imagine a car crash and think of what I’d say in their eulogy. Occasionally I feel an odd pain somewhere in my body and imagine myself getting bad news from my doctor.

Is there something wrong with me? Perhaps. But I bet you get similar thoughts as well. In fact I’m sure most parents get at least a fleeting thought of losing a child on a daily basis. The same goes for health. Almost...

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Troubled loners

(SVP, voir plus bas pour la version Française)

Life can be filled with moments of pure joy at times – the birth of a child, the warmth of love, the goose bumps felt when listening to music that inspires you – but unfortunately tragedy and grief are also part of the human experience. We witnessed this recently with the death of two of our soldiers. Seeing pictures of grieving loved ones and imagining children growing up without a father wrenches the heart.

Inevitably we start to look at killers and what motivates them. We can blame radical Islam, we can blame political forces, we can say...

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Je suis hyper-concentré… hé, regarde ça!

Je me demande si les hommes de cavernes ont déjà eu à s’asseoir pour écouter des professeurs de cavernes. Si c’est le cas, j’imagine qu’un certain nombre d’entre eux auraient reçu un diagnostic de trouble du déficit de l’attention (TDA), ou l’équivalent pour l’époque!

Je suis pas mal certain que si vous lisiez la liste des symptômes du trouble du déficit de l’attention vous croiriez en être atteints. En fait, à part quelques phénomènes, nous devons tous affronter ce genre de situation, parce que notre monde a changé, mais pas notre biologie.

Manger ou être mangé
L’être humain a évolué dans...

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10

Luka Magnotta, Schizophrenia, and the public’s perception of violence

It appears that Luka Magnotta’s lawyer will be arguing that his client is not criminally responsible in the murder and dismemberment of Lin Jun because he is suffering from Schizophrenia. I will wait until the evidence gets out before commenting on the specific case but since next week is Mental Illness Awareness Week I thought it would be a good time to address the question of dangerosity and the public’s perception of mental illness.

Schizophrenia is a serious illness that affects a person’s thoughts, perceptions and emotions. As such, it can have nearly as many manifestations as there...

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6

Blade gunner

What makes a man sleep with a gun under his pillow?

…and what are the odds that a tragedy will happen as a result?

People who live in a high crime area might think about what they would do if an intruder came into the house. Would a gun be a good way to ensure safety? Many people would think yes…

…and many people would be kidding themselves.

The only time having a gun makes you safer is if everyone else around you also has one. Thankfully we don’t yet live in such a world.

The fact is…
…people occasionally get angry enough to lash out at someone.
…people sometimes get scared enough to...

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10

I’m super focused on…hey, look at that!

I wonder if cavemen ever had to sit and pay attention to cave-teachers. I suppose if they did, a number of them would be diagnosed with attention deficit disorder, or whatever the cave equivalent of ADD was in those days.

If you read the criteria for attention deficit disorder I’m pretty sure you’d swear you had it. The fact is, except for the occasional freak, we all struggle with it. This is because our world has changed but our biology hasn’t.

Eat or be eaten
Human beings evolved in a world where survival meant having to find something to eat on a daily basis. Hunter-gatherers spent...

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8

Poisonous mushrooms, anyone?

Coconut. I suppose it is a legitimate thing to eat for some of you but I’d rather eat a handful of crickets.

When I was a teenager and feeling like I could eat something (i.e. always) I looked in my cupboard and saw a bag of coconut macaroon mix. I decided to bake a batch. Soon enough I put the first warm and chewy treat in my mouth. It was delicious so I had another…and another…and another. Within minutes I put the last of the macaroons in my mouth. I enjoyed every one of them. MMM!!

That was the last time I ever ate coconut! I didn’t get sick from my spree but those coconut macaroons...

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8

Spiders, snakes and cakes

Have you ever noticed how common certain fears are while others are surprisingly rare? People can develop fears of just about anything but for the most part this doesn’t happen very often. Common fears seem to cluster around a few scary things and can include snakes, spiders, heights, and enclosed spaces. The interesting thing is that very few of us have had any bad experiences with them.

What role does experience play? Many people fear bees even if they’ve never been stung. But we’ve all been cut with kitchen knives, burnt on stoves, shocked by an electric socket (well, us...

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13

Playoff beards

I had a woman come in to see me recently who was all flustered because she felt she was losing control of her life. She said that she wore her Montreal Canadiens jersey and sat in the lucky spot and still they lost. Now she was worried that her mother would get bad news from her last MRI because on her way to see me she was late and had to take a direct route along the ‘wrong’ street. This was the street she walked on the last time her mother’s medical condition took a turn for the worse. This got me thinking about superstitious behaviour in general and sports rituals in particular.

I...

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10

200 and counting. I’m still big in Bulgaria!

In today’s Journal Métro is my 200th column. I started in September 2005 and this blog started a couple of years after that. My blog posts are mostly elaborated versions of what I put in my column with a few assorted random postings thrown in.

Every other week I scratch my head wondering what I’m going to write about, certain that I’m out of ideas. Yet somehow, while riding my bike, or when talking to someone, or during one of the never-ending conversations I have in my head, something pops in. I have no explanation for it. It just happens.

I once worked with a woman who kept a fashion...

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