Search Results for “NYTimes”

November 20, 2016

Sanctuary City

sanctuary city by Mikey Burton

Sanctuary city‘ is an unofficial and sometimes pejorative term for a city that has deprioritized the enforcement of national immigration laws. Some so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ have adopted regulations prohibiting police or municipal employees from inquiring about a person’s immigration status. Others decline to prosecute immigrants if they have committed no crime other than entering illegally. The designation has no precise legal meaning and is viewed negatively by some and positively by others. Toronto has been a declared sanctuary city since 2014. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to cut all federal funding for sanctuary cities on his first day in office.

Local governments in a few cities in the US began designating themselves as sanctuary cities during the 1980s. However, the term is often used incorrectly to describe trust acts or community policing policies that limit entanglement between local police and federal immigration authorities. The policy was first initiated in 1979 in Los Angeles, to prevent police from inquiring about the immigration status of arrestees. The internal policy, ‘Special Order 40,’ states: ‘Officers shall not initiate police action with the objective of discovering the alien status of a person. Officers shall not arrest nor book persons for violation of title 8, section 1325 of the United States Immigration code (Illegal Entry).’

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March 25, 2016

The Wolfpack


The Wolfpack is a 2015 American documentary film about a family who homeschooled and raised their seven children in the confinement of their apartment in the Lower East Side of New York City. The film, directed by Crystal Moselle, premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the US Documentary Grand Jury Prize.

Locked away for fourteen years, the Angulo family’s seven children—six brothers named Mukunda, Narayana, Govinda, Bhagavan, Krisna (Glenn), and Jagadesh (Eddie), and their sister Visnu—learned about the world through watching films. They also re-enact scenes from their favorite movies.  Their father, Oscar, had the only door key and prohibited the kids and their mother from leaving the apartment except for a few strictly-monitored trips on the ‘nefarious’ streets.

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March 21, 2016



Manspreading, or man-sitting, is the practice of sitting in public transport with legs wide apart, thereby covering more than one seat. Both this posture and usage of the term ‘manspreading’ have caused some internet criticism, and debates. The term first appeared in public debate when a feminist anti-manspreading campaign was started on Tumblr in 2013. The Oxford English Dictionary added it as a word in August 2015.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York and Sound Transit of Seattle instituted poster campaigns encouraging respectful posture when other passengers have to stand due to crowding on buses and trains. The MTA campaign carried slogans like ‘Dude, stop the spread please!’

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February 1, 2016

Survivor Guilt

sophies choice

war by leif parsons

Survivor guilt is a mental condition that occurs when a person perceives themselves to have done wrong by surviving a traumatic event when others did not. It may be found among survivors of combat, natural disasters, epidemics, among the friends and family of those who have died by suicide, and in non-mortal situations such as among those whose colleagues are laid off. The experience and manifestation of survivor’s guilt will depend on an individual’s psychological profile.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines it as a significant symptom of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Characteristic symptoms include anxiety and depression, social withdrawal, sleep disturbance and nightmares, physical complaints and mood swings with loss of drive.

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November 20, 2015

Red Mercury

mercury by Hussain Ismail

Red mercury is a hoax substance of uncertain composition purportedly used in the creation of nuclear bombs, as well as a variety of unrelated weapons systems. It is purported to be mercuric iodide, a poisonous, odorless, tasteless, water-insoluble scarlet-red powder that becomes yellow when heated above 126 °C (258 °F), due to a thermochromatic change in crystalline structure.

However, samples of ‘red mercury’ obtained from arrested would-be terrorists invariably consisted of nothing more than various red dyes or powders of little value, which some suspect was being sold as part of a campaign intended to flush out potential nuclear smugglers. The hoax was first reported in 1979 and was commonly discussed in the media in the 1990s. Prices as high as $1,800,000 per kilogram were reported.

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October 15, 2015

Tommy John Surgery

tommy john

Tommy John surgery (TJS), known in medical practice as ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction, is a surgical graft procedure in which a ligament in the elbow is replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body (ligaments and tendons are connective tissue; the former connects bones to each other and latter connects muscles to bone). The procedure is common among collegiate and professional athletes in several sports, particularly baseball pitchers.

The procedure was first performed in 1974 by orthopedic surgeon Dr. Frank Jobe, then a Los Angeles Dodgers team physician who served as a special advisor to the team until his death in 2014. It is named after the first baseball player to undergo the surgery, major league pitcher Tommy John, whose record of 288 career victories ranks seventh all time among left-handed pitchers.

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September 28, 2015

Jerry DeWitt

jerry dewitt

Community Mission Chapel

Jerry DeWitt is an American author and public speaker, and a prominent member of the American atheism movement. He is a former pastor of two evangelical churches, who publicly deconverted to atheism in 2011. DeWitt is the former executive director of ‘Recovering From Religion,’ a group which helps people find their way after a loss of faith.

He currently leads the ‘Community Mission Chapel,’ which DeWitt calls an ‘atheist church.’ In a story for the ‘New York Times,’ he said, ‘Just because we value critical thinking and the scientific method, that doesn’t mean we suddenly become disembodied and we can no longer benefit from our emotional lives.’

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August 11, 2015

Phantom Vibration Syndrome

phantom ring by Douglas B Jones

Phantom vibration syndrome or ‘phantom ringing’ is the mistaken feeling that one’s mobile phone is vibrating or ringing. Other terms for this concept include ringxiety (a portmanteau of ‘ring’ and ‘anxiety’) and ‘fauxcellarm’ (a play on ‘false alarm’). It is a form of pareidolia, a psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus (such as an image or a sound) wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern where none actually exists. Phantom ringing may be experienced while taking a shower, watching television, or using a noisy device. Humans are particularly sensitive to auditory tones between 1,000 and 6,000 hertz, and basic mobile phone ringers often fall within this range.

In the comic strip ‘Dilbert,’ cartoonist Scott Adams referenced such a sensation in 1996 as ‘phantom-pager syndrome.’ The earliest published use of the term dates to a 2003 article in the ‘New Pittsburgh Courier,’ written by Robert D. Jones. In the conclusion of the article, Jones writes, ‘…should we be concerned about what our mind or body may be trying to tell us by the aggravating imaginary emanations from belts, pockets and even purses? Whether PVS is the result of physical nerve damage, a mental health issue, or both, this growing phenomenon seems to indicate that we may have crossed a line in this ‘always on’ society.’


July 9, 2015

Explanatory Style

Self-Attribution by Carl Richards

Pessimist by Jim Benton

Explanatory style is a psychological attribute that indicates how people explain to themselves why they experience a particular event, either positive or negative. There are three main components: Personal (internal vs. external), Permanent (stable vs. unstable), and Pervasive (global vs. local/specific).

‘Personalization’ refers to how one explains the cause of an event. People experiencing events may see themselves as the cause; that is, they have internalized the cause for the event (e.g. ‘I always forget to make that turn,’ as opposed to, ‘That turn can sure sneak up on you’). ‘Permanenence’ describes how one explains the extent of the cause. People may see a situation as unchangeable (e.g., ‘I always lose my keys’ or ‘I never forget a face’). ‘Pervasiveness’ measures how one explains the extent of the effects. People may see a situation as affecting all aspects of life (e.g., ‘I can’t do anything right’ or ‘Everything I touch seems to turn to gold’).

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June 10, 2015

Benevolent Prejudice

jewluminati by jennifer daniel

model minority

Benevolent prejudice is a superficially positive type of prejudice, opinions formed before becoming aware of relevant facts,  (e.g. ‘Asians are good at math,’ ‘African Americans are athletic,’ ‘Jews are good with money’).

Though this type of prejudice associates supposedly good things with certain groups, it still has the result of keeping the group members in inferior positions in society. Benevolent prejudices can help justify any hostile prejudices a person has toward a particular group and act as a wedge keeping outsiders from assimilating into the mainstream.

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May 18, 2015


immersion by stuart goldberg


Presence is the illusion that a virtual experience is real. Today, it often considers the effect that people experience when they interact with a computer-mediated or computer-generated environment. This use of the term derives from the word ‘telepresence,’ coined by MIT professor Marvin Minsky in 1980, which he described as the manipulation of objects in the real world through remote access technology. For example, a surgeon may use a computer to control robotic arms to perform minute procedures on a patient in another room. Or a NASA technician may use a computer to control a rover to collect rock samples on Mars.

As technologies progressed, the need for an expanded term arose. Thomas Sheridan (also of MIT, and a pioneer of robotics and remote control technology) extrapolated Minsky’s original definition. Using the shorter ‘presence,’ Sheridan explained that the term refers to the effect felt when controlling real world objects remotely as well as the effect people feel when they interact with and immerse themselves in virtual reality or virtual environments.

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March 26, 2015

The Truman Show Delusion

truman by Gary Neill

The Truman Show delusion, informally known as Truman Syndrome, is a type of persecutory/grandiose delusion in which patients believe their lives are staged plays or reality television shows. The term was coined in 2008 by brothers Joel and Ian Gold, a psychiatrist and a neurophilosopher, respectively, after the 1998 film ‘The Truman Show,’ about a man who discovers he is living in a constructed reality televised globally around the clock. Since he was in the womb, all the people in Burbank’s life have been paid actors.

The concept predates this particular film. It was based on a 1989 episode of the ‘Twilight Zone,’ ‘Special Service,’ which begins with the protagonist discovering a camera in his bathroom mirror. This man soon learns that his life is being broadcast 24/7 on TV. Author Philip K. Dick has also written short stories and, most notably, a novel, ‘Time Out of Joint’ (1959), in which the protagonist lives in a created world in which his ‘family’ and ‘friends’ are paid to maintain the delusions.

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