Re: No Pressure

1

And here I thought people enjoyed solitary confinement.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 1:36 PM
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AISIMHB.1 These dudes I knew the first time I went to college rigged up a system with a stripped electrical cord and a tabletop covered with salt water where they could sit around and shock themselves.

AISIMHB.2 I lived in a house down the street from a park where poor planning meant you could intentionally shock yourself by grabbing two bollards. People would go do that all the time.

So what's the real conclusion of the study? It's fun to get electric shocks!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 1:40 PM
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3

To what extent would it be cheating to nap? I mean, I don't mind at all being left alone in a quiet room with nothing to do, but I'm rarely going to stay conscious for long under those circumstances. Staying awake is hard enough when I'm purportedly working.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 1:41 PM
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4

They took away pens, which makes the experiment illegitimate. How am I expected to think without a pen?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 1:44 PM
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2.1: Why not just lick a 9-volt? Easier and cheaper.

2.2: Grabbing with both hands seems like a particularly poor choice. Current across the heat == bad news.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 1:45 PM
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6

People need to learn how to day dream.


Posted by: Asteele | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 1:45 PM
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7

I love to day dream when I'm walking or when something else is happening around me. Daydreaming in a static environment is harder!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 1:47 PM
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2.2: Grabbing with both hands seems like a particularly poor choice. Current across the heat == bad news.

As far as I know nobody died. The one guy who had the bright idea (er, who following through with my bright idea, maybe?) of having his date hold a bollard while he held the other and they kissed almost ended his relationship.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 1:48 PM
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9

Sometimes when we touch, the amperage is too much.


Posted by: Opinionated Dan Hill | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 1:53 PM
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10

The real question here is: how many days until this study is replicated in the form of a reality television show?

Let's all sit here quietly and wait while doing nothing else at all.


Posted by: MHPH | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 1:55 PM
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I'm not going to claim that I wouldn't give myself a few shocks for fun, in that situation, but I am pretty good at sitting quietly and thinking productively or uselessly to amuse myself. Certainly a useful skill to have in a holding cell, let me tell you!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 1:56 PM
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5 just gave me a visceral memory of what it feels like to lick a 9-volt and I full-on shuddered. Well like 3/4 of a shudder.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 2:00 PM
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10: At least one of the study's authors is famously unexcited about replication, so it might be a while. On the other hand, he does like TV exposure.


Posted by: President B.F. Skinner | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 2:06 PM
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14

The link in 13 is why posting on Twitter is a bad idea. I went from having no opinion about Gilbert to thinking he's an idiot in about 10 seconds.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 2:16 PM
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12: Well now we know you're not this guy.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 2:19 PM
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16

What about a replicant study? Maybe as an alternative to Voigt-Kampff?

Response to prompt: "Let me think about my mother."


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 2:20 PM
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17

Not one of them masturbated? Silly kids.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 2:25 PM
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18

I was wondering about the people who shocked themselves, and then I realized that there's a good chance that I'd do it, sort of checking to see if the button worked. Not exactly for fun, just exploring the parameters of the situation. (That makes the impulse sound as if I thought it was practical and sensible, which, obviously, no. But I might do it anyway.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 2:31 PM
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19

They had already been shocked, so it wasn't just curiosity.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 2:34 PM
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20

Maybe they enjoyed the first shock.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 3:24 PM
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21

It's like you don't even click through. Most of them had said that they'd pay not to be shocked again.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 3:57 PM
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17: This other writeup says one guy shocked himself 190 times (when the average with him excluded was 1.47). I think that counts as masturbating.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 4:03 PM
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17: Heh. Having, in my youth, damn near killed some guy during a psych experiment by miswiring a shock gadget, I'm not about to try anything like that without lots of test gear handy and a bigger reward.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 4:08 PM
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24

They said they'd pay not to be shocked. The second link isn't clear that they said this after being shocked. Though I just skimmed it quickly.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 4:19 PM
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25

Anyway, I associate being made to sit alone with nothing with punishment so I'm surprised the researchers thought people would enjoy it.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 4:21 PM
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26

21: Revealed preferences.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 4:25 PM
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27

2: further data point: in Europe, there is a common carbival game where you touch two electrodes as the current escalates, and you see how high you can take the dial before you have to let go. Sort of like the carnival game where you strike a pivot board with a mallet to ring a bell.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 4:34 PM
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27: Those used to be common here; don't know if they still are. I tried one before I knew anything about cardiology; would not do it today.


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 4:39 PM
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29

I've seen that in arcades, except it's just for duration.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 4:40 PM
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30

That goes for the whole carnival.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 4:40 PM
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31

To 28.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 4:41 PM
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25: Anyway, I associate being made to sit alone with nothing with punishment

I normally wouldn't, except if there's no tea or water to sip on, it would probably become so. That is, I routinely spend half an hour of alone time each morning with a cup of green tea in hand, generally staring out the window, or at my bookshelves. (Granted, I'm usually listening to the radio as well, but I think I could do without that.)

In the absence of any stimulus whatsoever -- just a plain room with a straight-backed chair -- sure, that's a problem. I'd probably lie down on the floor, maybe do some stretching or yoga, maybe not, and just ... drift. I can't manage to think that I'd shock myself. And really, 6-15 minutes is not that long. It's unclear whether the study participants knew that it was a 15 minute exercise.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 4:55 PM
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A friend of mine had a job once working for a guy servicing old boilers in NYC apartment buildings. The rite of passage was sticking your fingers on the points of contact in one of those giant fuse boxes. If you didn't do it he'd grab your hand and do it for you.

Once working as a carpenter's helper on Fire Island (best summer job ever), I accidentally put a nail through some main electric wire while I was putting some reinforcing ties underneath a beach house. I felt the current go right through me. Weird feeling.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 4:59 PM
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You know Fire Island? My housemate's family has a house there, and I did spend a week there a while back. Great place, biking all around, minimal car invasion.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 5:16 PM
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When I saw the headline, I was half expecting to see a story saying that mild shocks lit up some receptor in subjects' brains, leading to new theories about ECT or something. Instead, bored people seek out stimulation. I think I could daydream for that short a time, but who knows? Maybe I'd end up shocking myself, too.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 6:02 PM
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36

I spend much of my life daydreaming. It's not every day I have a chance to shock myself.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 6:44 PM
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32: Yeah, I could zone out for a half-hour easy. I can do it in the dentist's chair, hospital waiting rooms, on planes, on the 405 . . . .


Posted by: biohazard | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 7:32 PM
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38

The researchers could have saved a lot of time just by asking people, "How do you feel about waiting in line?"


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 7:54 PM
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39

No, but waiting in line is great for daydreaming. A featureless room, less so.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 7:56 PM
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40

I routinely spend time alone, thinking. Being sent to a room and told to think about stuff is a different kind of experience. I feel like what these studies have really done is validate the practice of using "timeouts" as punishment.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 8:37 PM
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I tried one before I knew anything about cardiology; would not do it today.

Yeah, if I was to go back through academy I'd refuse the taser. That was some bullshit.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 8:48 PM
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If they told me I should daydream, I probably could. If they just left and I thought they'd be back any minute, I'd probably get fidgety and play with the zapper. The boringness of the room really does have a big effect.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 8:51 PM
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43

There must be something about the study I'm not understanding, because 15 minutes of no one bothering me and nothing to look at or do sounds amazing.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 8:54 PM
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44

Not one of them masturbated? Silly kids.

Seriously. I can see how they might have been too embarrassed in the context of the experiment, but that's just a sign of how artificial the experimental context was.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 10:09 PM
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Once upon a time I'd have said I'm perfectly great with boredom but the iphone has ruined that. I assume I'd sit there for fifteen minutes twitching, wondering when I could check goddamn fucking facebook.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 10:14 PM
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I figure I should get a smartphone at some point, but it's actually kind of nice to be comfortable with sitting somewhere not doing anything for a while.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 10:16 PM
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47

Were marshmallows served at end ?


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 11:08 PM
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48

My dad has an electric shock machine (google image antique electric shock machine, but I can't actually find a linkable image), which his dad made. Endless hours of family fun!


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 07- 3-14 11:31 PM
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I once got on a train from Oxford to Glasgow. I had made sure I came armed with several books,* a newspaper, and music for staving off boredom.

At Birmingham, and old Indian lady got on and sat opposite me and did ... nothing. She just sat in relaxed silence for 6 hours. It was like a demonstration of either some kind of jedi-adept/sufi-master mental control, or there was nothing there. I can day dream, or zone out, or work through a problem in my head for long periods. But 6 hours? I'd get carried away in a straight jacket.

* on that on trip, I read the whole of Berkeley's Three Dialogues ... and his Principles ... , and a couple of secondary works. Which is depressing, because that is some pretty bad-ass comcentration and sustained deep-reading right there, that I know I no longer have.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 12:31 AM
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50

49. Didn't she even look out of the window? I can make that last for most of a train journey in half hour bites interspersed with a few minutes reading. If it's daylight.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 1:38 AM
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There must be something about the study I'm not understanding, because 15 minutes of no one bothering me and nothing to look at or do sounds amazing.

It sounds utterly horrifying to me. I'd be shocking myself non-stop.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 1:45 AM
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Re: 50

Not that I recall. We were at a table but she was sitting on the aisle side, and just sat quietly.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 2:07 AM
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Before kids, that's what I did on flights. I remember reading an article about a decade ago about some Al Qaeda recruiters. They'd leave the recruit in a room for hours, without telling them what was going on, or how long they'd be alone. This must have been before any young Arab was "affiliated with Al Qaeda," because the article said they recruited the ones who didn't become impatient.

Other people I bet would rock at sitting quietly for hours: the Navajo. Lines could take forever, as people worked out what they were allowed to buy with government benefits, and in my three years there, I never saw anyone get fidgety.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 4:55 AM
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They'd leave the recruit in a room for hours, without telling them what was going on, or how long they'd be alone. This must have been before any young Arab was "affiliated with Al Qaeda," because the article said they recruited the ones who didn't become impatient.

"You shall receive 72 marshmallows in heaven."


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 5:19 AM
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53. You're supposed to be watching a parade or firing up the BBQ, not commenting on blogs.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 5:21 AM
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I'm in a motel room with my family asleep around me. I could stare into the darkness indefinitely, of course, because I'm an inscrutable Oriental, but I choose not to.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 5:38 AM
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57

I bet if you worked at it, you could learn to scrute.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 5:40 AM
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There must be something about the study I'm not understanding, because 15 minutes of no one bothering me and nothing to look at or do sounds amazing.

During the school year I feel this way. It's only because it's currently summer and I can spend hours on end by myself that I'm in a different headspace.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 5:57 AM
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At Birmingham, and old Indian lady got on and sat opposite me and did ... nothing. She just sat in relaxed silence for 6 hours.

My mom once hired a young hippie friend of hers to drive a UHaul from Florida to Texas, to deliver a bunch of furniture that Mom wanted me to have. We visited with the young friend for a day or two. The plan was for her to take the bus back to Florida, so probably 1 1/2 days or so on the bus.

I asked her if she wanted to borrow/have some books or anything, and she said "No, I've got my ear buds and my ipad." That sounded reasonable.

Then, as she was packing, she went to grab these things and she grabbed ear plugs and her eye pad and said "I'm just planning on sleeping on the way back." (For a day and a half!)

For a moment I thought she was some sort of zen master, but then she said "Do you think they'll feed us on the bus?" and I realized that no, she's just grievously naive.

It turns out that she mostly slept and meditated and found it a little too long, but not awful, so maybe she is some sort of deep one.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 6:04 AM
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Putting people in a quiet room with no stimulation is what people do to psych patients to calm them down. It really is more like a punishment than treatment.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 6:12 AM
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34 Going to Fire Island in the summer I count as one of the few benefits of growing up on Long Island. The Sunken Forest is awesome.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 6:19 AM
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I sometimes intentionally go someplace where I can sit quietly and be alone with my thoughts for up to an hour. I always knew this was a little weird, but now I feel like a real freak.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 10:53 AM
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63

Do you bring batteries?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 10:56 AM
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64

Anyway, I gather my thoughts while walking.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 11:11 AM
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62: Helpy, you are not a freak.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 12:02 PM
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Of course, when I do that, I usually go sit by the side of a stream or something, so it's not as though there's an absence of stimulus. It's just a change in the nature of the usual stimulus, which is what's wanted.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 12:04 PM
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If they'd put the people around some greenery outside, it would be different. Or even a less starkly dull room.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 12:20 PM
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68

All man's miseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone.


Posted by: Opinionated Blaise Pascal | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 1:09 PM
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I was waiting for that.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 1:15 PM
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Thanks for making that explicit, guys.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 1:58 PM
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All man's miniseries derive from not being able to sit quietly in a room alone.


Posted by: Opinionated Network TV Producer | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 2:23 PM
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62: I do the same thing. But I bring a pen, because I'm not an animal.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 2:46 PM
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Only a god or a wild animal could live without pens.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 2:47 PM
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I was wondering if the subjects were promised a marshmallow for completing their role in the study.

Also 17,22,44 is that cheating on Walter Mischel's marshmallow test ?


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 2:54 PM
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This reminds me that we have half a bag of marshmallows in the cabinet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 4-14 5:12 PM
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Does anyone have access to the full text of this? I'd like to read it.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 12:48 PM
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They're blank marshmallows.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 2:19 PM
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If the article is gated, I can get it on Monday. Just send me an email. I have the gmail account for my pseud.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07- 5-14 2:21 PM
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