Breaking News – Quake Alert Issued for Southern California

The alert was posted Friday [16 March 2007] online, on a site called Syzygy Job ( The prediction was nothing new – that the southern end of the San Andreas Fault was going to let loose with a Big One, the inevitable euphemism for a major earthquake. The only difference is that this time around, the prediction is that a moderate-to-large quake could be imminent, occurring sometime within the next couple of weeks.

Been There, Done That

Historically, some of the biggest temblors in Southern California have occurred in the first quarter of the year and in conjunction with a lunar eclipse. That isn't some mysterious bit of wizardry: it's a fact that lunar gravity generates an enormous pull on Earth. This time around, though, the planet is sending off some ominous warnings, generating a whole new set of red flags. The lithosphere (the outer layer of Earth's crust) has exhibited unusual, rapid decompression of late, something Syzygy author Frank Condon, of GeoSeismic Labs, claims could be precursor to a significant quake in the region. In his posting, Condon referred to a 2.7 magnitude earthquake that rumbled beneath the Los Angeles area Friday evening, saying it was just the warm up.

A lunar eclipse is due to arrive on March 19, 2007, in a syzygy, an astronomical event in which the sun, moon and earth line up.

Not Just For California Any More

Canadian scientists issued a similar alert in February, warning west coast residents that undersea shakes signaled a period of heightened earthquake danger. That prediction fizzled, producing no notable quake, though some media outlets mocked the prediction as a sham.

The trouble with earthquake prediction is that it's a very new science and nowhere near perfected. Experts are torn between the damage to their reputations if they predict a quake that never materializes, or the possible human cost if they see signs and don't issue a corresponding alert. They also express concerns about the "cry wolf" syndrome. If experts issue earthquake alerts and no quake results, people could become blasé about the whole process, dismissing an urgent warning prior to major earthquake event.

Syzygy Speaks to Us

In a phone call Saturday,'s owner, Jim Berkland, said that this is not a new concept. Peruvian natives accept the quake-eclipse link as simple fact. Meanwhile, Berkland was effectively blackballed for daring to cite the phenomenon in his public capacity.

Berkland comes into this project with an impressive set of credentials. He spent six years on staff with the US Geological Survey and twenty-one years as geologist for Santa Clara County, the first person to hold the post for any California county. Past professional affiliations include the U.S. Bureau or Reclamation, and the University of California at Davis, among many.

Berkland explained that this month's lunar event is a red zone because the syzygy occurs in conjunction with a perigee, the moon's closest approach to Earth. It was just such an astronomical conjunction that hit at the time …

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20 Songs About California and New York: East Coast Vs. West Coast

According to Monsters and Critics, Katy Perry recently admitted that she wrote her hit song "California Gurls" out of jealousy over Jay-Z's anthem for New York, "Empire State of Mind". So her "state of mind" got me thinking: are songs about New York or California better? Perhaps it's not the best idea to try and start another East Coast vs. West Coast battle, but I'm going to compare some of the best songs about California and New York anyway. So get ready for a East Coast vs. West Coast showdown full of great songs and see if Katy Perry and her bikini that shoots whipped cream remain supreme:

"California Gurls" by Katy Perry vs. "Empire State of Mind" by Jay-Z – Well, I guess I'll go ahead and get the most obvious East Coast vs. West Coast song showdown out of the way. I'll make this one short and sweet: sure it's one of the kitschiest pop songs that will ever assault your ears, but I'd much prefer to indulge my sweet tooth with a quickly-melting Popsicle than to hear Alicia Keys bang out the same chords over and over again.

"Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed vs. "Welcome to the Jungle" by Guns N' Roses – Two very different sounds from two very different eras, these songs both describe their cultures in very different ways. Lou Reed's New York is a place where creatures can shave their legs and go from a he to a she, something he makes sound like a splendid idea in his laid back, mellow voice (it really might tempt you to take a walk on the wild side). But while he soothingly sings the praises of a trip to the city safari, Guns N' Roses shouts at you about the dangers of the California jungle, a warning punctuated with plenty of machine gun fire stutters. So when it comes to East Coast vs. West Coast songs about the local wildlife, I'd definitely prefer Lou Reed as my tour guide.

"Talkin' New York" by Bob Dylan vs. "Hollywood Nights" by Bob Seger – These two songs are both about heading to the big city and the adventures to be found there, although Bob Seger's California tune is love story full of sand and sun, while Bob Dylan's song is set against a New York cold that cuts like a knife, featuring stark subways and people blowing aimlessly around the city like the dirty snow swirling around them. Sure Bob Seger's love story doesn't have a happy ending, but when it comes to these East Coast vs. West Coast songs, I prefer Bob Dylan's less glitzy and glamorous one.

"NYC" by Interpol vs. "Californication" by Red Hot Chili Peppers – Both of these songs capture the sordid side of life in two of America's most populous states, with "NYC" describing the dying heart of New York and its congested arteries like this: "the subway is porno". However, I can't help but enjoy the more …

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Top Hotels Laguna Beach, California

Laguna beach is a oceanfront destination on the Pacific coast of Southern California. Laguna is south of Los Angeles. The many points of interest in the Los Angeles area are convenient from this dramatically beautiful oceanfront setting.

Attractions in the vicinity include Knotts Berry Farm, Disneyland, San Juan Capistrano, John Wayne Airport and L.A. Airport. San Diego is about 70 miles south of Laguna Beach. Attractions in San Diego include the San Diego Zoo and Sea World. Visitors to Laguna Beach can enjoy Whale Watching or can go on a Dolphin Safari off of Dana Wharf

For many, the best attraction of Southern California is the natural Pacific coastline, which can be enjoyed from Laguna Beach. The oceanfront setting offers water activities, such as snorkeling, and is a beautiful location for a oceanfront stroll. Visitors to Laguna Beach have a choice of many fine accommodations. Following are some of the best hotels in Laguna Beach, California.

Surf and Sand Resort. This oceanfront hotel is celebrating 60 years of hospitality on Laguna Beach. Guest rooms feature private balconies offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Aquaterra Spa offers a complete menu of spa treatments, such as massage therapy, boy treatments ad skin care. Splashes Restaurant has an oceanfront setting and serves contemporary American Coastal Cuisine. AAA Four Diamond. South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach 1-888-869-7569.

Montage Resort Laguna Beach. Montage Resort is situated on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The architecture and decor of Montage Resort celebrates the Laguna Beach history as an arts community on the beach front. The craftsman style architecture is situated on the rugged bluff, with dramatic views of the coastline. Oceanfront SPA Montage offers a full selections of treatments and massage therapy. The Mosaic Pool has a mosaic bottom and overlooks the ocean. Adjacent to the Mosaic Pool is a whirlpool and cabanas. Restaurants at Montage Resort include Studio, Mosaic Bar and Grille, The Loft and Lobby Lounge. AAA Four Diamond. South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, California. 1-949-715-6000.

Best Western Laguna Brisas Spa Hotel. Best Western advertises that it is “99 steps from the beach.” The Pacific Ocean beach rejuvenates the senses while enjoying the newly remodeled accommodations. Enjoy views of the expansive ocean and Catalina Island from the scenic rooftop terrace. Amenities include an outdoor swimming pool, outdoor spa, sun deck, covered underground parking, elevator, complimentary computer usage in hotel lobby, complimentary hi speed wireless Internet and complimentary deluxe breakfast. South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, California. 1-888-296-6834.

Best Western Laguna Reef Inn. This inn is in the heart of the Laguna Beach resort area. Features include complimentary continental breakfast, outdoor heated swimming pool, hot tub, spa and steam room. Best Western Laguna Reef Inn has a special access to a one mile segment of Aliso Beach. South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, California. 1-9490499-2227.

By the Sea Inn Laguna Beach. North Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, California. 1-949-497-6645.

Holiday Inn Laguna Beach. 1-800-228-5691.

Inn at Laguna Beach. This inn is perched on top of …

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Five Ways Psychology Can Help You Keep Your New Year's Resolution

In a recent article from National Public Radio, a study revealed that nearly 11 percent of respondents claim addiction to sugar soaked foods and drink. This awareness of dependence typically steers people around this time of year to develop a resolution to change their eating habits.

The only problem is that fewer people are making and keeping resolutions because of previous failed attempts at adhering to them, according to the New Republic.

Thanks to 20th century humanistic and cognitive psychology, there are ways to build healthy goals and keep them if you have the mettle and patience to reap the benefits.

Here are five tips stemming from psychological therapy techniques:

Focus on the inside
Too often resolutions are developed for social reasons: we what to look thinner, be healthier or appear attractive to suitors. While this goal is possible, people typically get wrapped up in other people's perception of themselves.

Develop a goal that focuses on you first. Maslow's hierarchy of needs shows that we need to address our basic needs before we worry about the needs of others. How can you help a child with math if you do not understand the math concept yourself?

Intrinsic benefits, not extrinsic rewards
Shift your thinking from rewarding yourself with an outside token like snacks, treats or mad money. Studies have shown that when we concentrate solely on outside benefits it diminishes the internal joys and reasons why we set goals. If you are going to commit to a resolution, commit to something that benefits you for your sake. If your goal is to eat healthier, make the motivation something that makes you feel valuable on the inside.

Delay gratification
Walter Michel's long-term study of children known as the Marshmallow Effect showed that those who delayed gratification after waiting for a period tend to have higher senses of self-satisfaction, confidence and long-term social benefits. Those who sought immediate gratification later in life were more likely to be envious, impulse and financially unstable.

Be patient with the results of your resolution and you may just find the intended and unintended benefits add up.

Short cycle check-ups and final assessment
Another problem with resolutions is that they do not typically have a well constructed plan to achieve the goal in a reasonable manner. The goal is set and the person hopes for the best. Consider setting up periodic check-ups on a calendar to monitor your progress and have a reasonable deadline for achievement. Too soon and you may become discourages; too late and you may forget you even had a resolution.

Be positive and realistic
Resolutions that fail are typically lofty, improbable and beyond your reach at that particular time. Take the time to consider if the resolution is too bold. If you stumble along the way, it's okay! You're human! Be positive, stay resilient and bounce back to your goal with the understanding that mistakes and errors in judgment are natural acts.…

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Unethical Psychology in Early America: Elizabeth Packard

Unethical and Early Psychology

Early psychology and unethical psychology have a lot in common, especially in that the earlier the psychology had been the more unethical it seems to have been as well. Granted, some of the reasons early psychology was so unethical was because the medical understanding of psychology had been so poor. Obviously, early psychology will reflect the time's limitations of knowledge. However, another component to the unethical quality of early psychology is that the practice not only reflected intellectual boundaries, but it also mirrored what we now consider to be unethical societal standards.

Today it is incredibly difficult for someone to be involuntarily committed to an insane asylum. Even in the 1860's, a time in which unethical psychology practices and experiments had barely reared it's ugly head, without compelling data it was still considered unethical for patients to be committed without their consent. This law, of course, did not apply to married women.

The Unethical Law Surrounding Packard v Packard

For one reason or another, early psychology found that husbands were allowed to involuntarily commit their wives to an insane asylum. Sound fairly unethical? Of course, were other relations to report the same indicators of insanity of the same women, they would theoretically be ignored, because otherwise that would be unethical.

In the famous case of Packard v Packard, a case which is both infamous for it's importance in the development in early psychology, the attention paid to unethical psychology, and the advancement of woman's rights, Elizabeth Packard was involuntarily committed to an insane asylum by her husband. The indicators of her insanity? Elizabeth Packard most notable disagreed with her husband on issues of religion, slavery, and wished he would assist her in weeding the garden. Her husband reported her as being slightly insane. The seriousness in which this oxymoron was investigated should in itself highlight the unethical and poor quality of early psychology in.

Elizabeth Packard was committed to an insane asylum for three years. Upon her release, she was shut up in a nursery in her husband's house and was only rescued by what was finally and obviously unethical bondage by slipping a note through a crack in the window her husband nailed shut. Maybe this is an apt time to mention Elizabeth Packard's husband was a reverend and they had six children.

What sort of evidence did Elizabeth Packard's husband produce to indicate that the former bondage had not been unethical and that she was truly insane? Packard called upon witnesses of his side of the family who agreed that Elizabeth Packard had disagreed with her husband on issues of religion. Elizabeth Packard's response instead called upon unbiased witnesses which whom she had interacted in her community, all of whom said she had never seemed insane. Where early psychology had defined her as incurable, the resolution of Packard v Packard was such that Elizabeth Packard was declared sane and locking her away unethical.

Elizabeth Packard's Efforts

After Elizabeth Packard was finally declared sane at …

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Mountain State University: A College Education?

Mountain State University is a private college. It is located on three city blocks in the heart of Beckley, West Virginia. You won't see the beautiful landscaping or students lounging around on the grass like you would at other colleges. MSU boasts no landscaping. All you will see are buildings surrounded by parking lots. Considering their lack of landscaping you would assume they would have ample parking spaces. That assumption is wrong. With over 6,000 students enrolled the 300 parking spaces available are not nearly enough for this campus. You must also take into consideration that if you plan on parking in these parking lots you have to have a MSU Parking permit. If you by some lucky chance manage to get one of the coveted parking spaces and you do not have a MSU parking permit then you are very likely to come from class and see your car on the back of a tow truck.

Yet this is only part of the problem associated with Mountain State University. The tuition is considerably higher then the neighboring public colleges. The reason for this is that MSU is a private college, therefore its tuition is not regulated by any agency. For a student, not living on campus, you can expect your tuition to be around $3,700 per semester. Compare that to a public college whose tuition is around $4,300 for both spring and fall semester. If you plan to live on campus you can expect to pay considerably more. It is actually cheaper to rent an apartment and go to school then to live on campus at MSU. Many of the professors and students live as much as 50 miles away from the school. Which if you choose to live that far away MSU does offer a wide variety of independent study courses. These courses can be completed with a proctor or over the web. in my opinion, it is better to take these independent study courses then to attend class. The professors at this college have so many students that it is nearly impossible to give any one student extra time for help on any of there class work. At this college if you have a problem understanding any of your class work be prepared to put out even more money for a tutor.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a college education and can afford to just throw away your college money then by all means enroll at Mountain State University. On the other hand, if you want to get a good education at a college that actually cares about its students, and not the money, then I would look elsewhere. Not only will you be saving a considerable amount of money, you will actually be learning something in the process.…

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Wolf Cuisine in Los Angeles, California

Wolf Cuisine in Los Angeles makes life very easy for the foodie and or budding chef, or work from home person who dreams of a few minutes to step out and enjoy fine fresh cuisine – but why bother when someone will bring it to you? The brainchild behind the business concept at Wolf Cuisine, who will make your dream come true, is Chef Phillip Lee and partner Sylvain Allard, who will both not only see to it that you receive exquisite food and service but will also insure you will definitely want a repeat performance.

In this economy with everyone trying to save but still wanting the finer things of life, the concept available from Wolf Cuisine is an excellent one indeed. In the comfort of home you can enjoy a tasting menu created to ensure you have an excellent dining experience while enjoying the creative fruits of the labor of the team of chefs at Wolf Cuisine in LA.

So, how exact does this work? Wolf Cuisine clearly has the high-end delivery service down to a fine science as every month the head chef Phillip Lee and this team of sous chefs create a new tasting menu made up of ten courses. Expect fresh seasonal items in addition to extremely creative and delicious dishes.

To partake in the joy of enjoying a tasting menu at home, clients of Wolf Cuisine call in the order request a week ahead of time which can be for up to eight guests. The meal service is delivered to the client a few hours prior to the serving of the meal. What is really cool is that Chef Lee includes presentation instructions in addition to hints on eating certain items such as foie gras. Definitely a more than fabulous concept the unique high-end version of fine food on wheels is approximately $200 per person but worth every penny particularly for special occasions and making a lasting impression.…

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Social Psychology: A Review of Four Studies on Stereotype Creation

The focus of this paper is the examination of particular causes of social stereotypes, with the specific question being: "what are the factors in society that create stereotypes?" I found several studies in which this or a closely related question was highlighted as the central focus of the research. Each of the studies has a unique approach to a different facet of stereotyping. My intention is to discuss the initial question, method, results, and implications of each study to show overall whether or not stereotyping comes from parenting, teaching, overall societal factors like television and adolescent relationships, self schemas, personal experiences, or even the simple verification that certain stereotypes exist. I do not focus on any particular group; rather I use examples from any group I can find to illustrate my points that stereotypes may be learned through cues in normal communication from peers and authority figures and that they may be borne out of the media.

Before discussing these complex studies, a few definitions of terms and ideas should be presented. Stereotype, in-group, out-group are terms that I will use repeatedly. A stereotype is a belief that associates a group of people with certain traits (Brehm et al, 133). Groups consist of two or more persons perceived as related because of their interactions with each other over time, membership in the same social category, or common fate. In the fifth edition of Social Psychology, stereotyping is attributed to social categorization into in-groups and out-groups. Social Categorization describes how people sort each other into groups on the basis of gender, race, and other attributes like intelligence, body weight, and physical ability. This social categorization breeds in-groups (groups you identify with) and out-groups (all groups other than your in-groups). Brehm also attributes stereotype formation to past events, political figures, and from real differences in social groups that manifest into exaggerated, perceived differences. Stereotypes have long been a topic of study as researchers try to attribute their formation to societal factors.

The first study to be discussed is "The Consequences of Communicating Social Stereotypes" by Micah S. Thompson et al. It is actually a compilation of the method and results of two studies done by the group, and the overall implications of the results of the studies taken as a whole. Here is the abstract:

"At the extreme, social stereotypes can be learned either from direct contact with individual target group members or from communications about the target group received from others. These two forms of stereotype acquisition have consequences for the nature and content of the stereotype that is formed (Park & Hastie, 1987). The present studies examine these consequences using, in the first study, a rumor transmission design and, in the second, group discussions. The first study demonstrates that stereotypes that are received from others are more extreme, contain less variability information, and have higher social consensus than stereotypes learned from contact with individual target group members. The second study demonstrates that stereotypes that are communicated and …

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Psychology Columnist Suggests We Might Be Searching Too Hard to Find Happiness

In a recent article in Psychology Today columnist Carlin Flora suggests most of us might never reach happiness if we try too hard to find it. He comes to this apparent paradox citing several authors of self-help books that point out in various ways that happiness, as has been oft noted, is in the eye of the beholder.

But it's also in you, much more so than in any book a psychologist is peddling.

Flora points out that if you're doing reasonably well financially, meaning you don't have to scrape to pay the rent or mortgage each month, than your own happiness, as has been espoused by many before him have pointed out, is in your own hands. Rather than simply sitting there asking yourself occasionally if you're happy, he suggests people first consider what they mean by happy, as some might say happiness is little more than the absence of unhappiness, while others might believe that to be happy, means to feel some sort of elation all the time. Once you figure out what you believe happiness to be, he suggests you might then try to redefine it for yourself if your definition is beyond reasonable measure. If you think happiness means feeling joy all the time, for example, you will assuredly be setting yourself up for failure if you set true happiness for yourself as your goal. Instead, you might want to consider looking a little deeper, as many other psychologists suggest, to see if perhaps there isn't some underlying happiness that you could aspire to, such as finding a feeling of contentment with your job, spouse, family, life, etc.

Flora also points out that though some may truly be born with a sunny disposition, we can't all be so lucky, which means, if we want to be happy, whether with ourselves or our lives, or just in general, we probably ought to do some things to make it happen; otherwise, it just might not. The things people can do to encourage their own happiness vary of course, but most can be grouped into categories, such as giving of yourself to others; striving for some sort of goal that you really would like to achieve; allowing the downers in life to contrast with those that are more uplifting so as to give something with which to compare; arranging your life so you're not in competition with others, etc.

Which all means in the end of course, that if you want to be happy, stop buying self-help books and reading articles that tell you how, and get up off your duff and make the kinds of changes in your life that will give you a sense of happiness; the kind that fits your own description of it.…

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The Psychology of the Sandusky Cover Up: A Counselor's Perspective

As media continues to discuss Jerry Sandusky's alleged abuses of children, teens, and young men, I can't help but feel a profound sense of rage and disappointment about it. On the one hand, my mind asks, "How did this happen?" while on the other hand, my training in psychology helps me understand the unfortunate events.

I decided to write this article to explain, in my opinion, why some people may have made the decision not to pass on the information they had to authorities regarding allegations that Sandusky had sexually abused kids and teens. I'm not making excuses for those who knew. Of course, most people reading this article will agree that those same people should have contacted local police immediately.

Sexual Themes and the "No Talk" Rule

Whether we want to acknowledge it or not, a "no talk" rule exists in American society, specifically related to subjects of a sexual nature. What this means is that whenever some individuals encounter a situation that's incredibly uncomfortable and involves sexual behavior, they don't want to talk about it. They believe it just shouldn't be discussed.

I would submit that many react this way because their parents taught them that sex was "bad" or at the very least, were sent the message that sex was a subject to be avoided. As education is dispersed, many understand the profound negative impact on those with less power (such as kids, teens, women, and members of various minority groups) that exercising the no talk rule can have in alleged sexual abuse situations.

The Phenomenon of Diffusion of Personal Responsibility

While in college, I learned about Albert Bandura, a famous psychologist at Stanford University, who discovered a social-psychological phenomenon that occurs when numbers or groups of people are involved in unsavory situations. Bandura called his discovery, "diffusion of personal responsibility."

It's a theory that states that when people are in a group (or not alone) and observe a morally upsetting event, a type of group mentality takes over. This phenomenon causes each person in the group to feel he isn't responsible to act to get people help in any way.

Interestingly, if just a single person is present when something goes wrong, chances are better that the lone individual will be more likely to act (PsycNET website). But if it's a larger group, no one takes responsibility to right the wrong-there's diffusion of personal responsibility.

The Sandusky Case and Diffusion of Personal Responsibility

PennLive website recently reported that in 2002, a graduate student, Mike McQueary (who later became the Assistant Football Coach at Penn State) made an allegation to Joe Paterno, the Head Coach of Penn State's Football team. McQueary said he saw Jerry Sandusky in a shower sexually molesting a boy who appeared 10 years old.

Paterno reportedly did nothing but tell McQueary he would have to talk about what he saw with then-Athletic Director, Tim Curley. Over a week later, McQueary spoke with Curley and Gary Schultz, head of Campus Police about the incident. …

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