Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Day 33: Free tickets, woo!

What went well? 

  1. Had an appointment with a librarian this morning, who pointed me to a lot of helpful databases for my research. Also figured out how to use Google Books more effectively - you can choose to limit it to certain dates. Use your librarians!
  2. The TA for Neurolaw (which I'm now just auditing) brought coffee for the break. They weren't kidding about providing coffee!! (it's a 3-hour-long class)
  3. Saw Gerald Finley (baritone) and Julius Drake (piano) in concert, performing Schubert's Winterreise song cycle. It was beautifully and devastatingly expressive. As I said in a thank-you note to the Year of Sound funding committee (at Penn) who funded the free tickets to this concert, "Live classical music is always an uplifting and spiritually enriching experience that teaches me so much about the human experience. I really appreciated this opportunity to reconnect to the realm of emotions and artistic expression to balance out the otherwise highly intellectual focus in my daily life as a university student. Thank you for enriching the experiences and well-being of Penn students in this way." Also, I was glad to be able to give one of my tickets to a stranger who was about to buy a ticket at the box office, because one of my friends couldn't come so I had a spare one. It was a nice moment.
    Kay & I at the concert.

What did I learn?

  • Music, and art more generally, is a profound way of making meaning out of and communicating an understanding of the human experience and of suffering.
  • The case of Mr Oft (Berns & Swerdlow, 2003), who was a middle school teacher who made sexual advances on his 12 year old stepdaughter when he was 40. He had no history of pedophilia, but then started secretly started collecting child pornography and developing irresistible urges. Well, it turned out he had this brain tumour, and when they removed the brain tumour, the urges stopped and all was well for a few months. But then the tumour started growing again, and the urges came back. It really brings up questions of responsibility and free will: "My brain made me do it"?? We had a mock trial in class, and the four psychiatrists in the room (the professor + three forensic psychiatric fellows who are also participating in the class) agreed that he should be found not guilty by reason of insanity under the Irresistible Impulse Test but not the M'Naghten Test (which requires defendants to literally not know that what they were doing was wrong). Of course, we only got part of the story; in an actual trial they'd consider more than just the neurobiological evidence, like his personal history, and other aspects of his life.
  • Uber is a great service. It's basically a personal driver (or taxi) at demand. They have an app where you just request a driver and they locate you and pick you up. It's connected to your credit/debit card, so the payment gets taken care of automatically. They have a deal for new members, so if you use the promo code uberinlove you get $20 credit, which is what Kay and I did, so we basically got a free ride to the concert and back. And the cars are really nice!

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