Tag Archives: mental health

The ‘Lasso of Truth’ and the lie detector have a common origin

There’s a fascinating June 17, 2016 article about Wonder Woman’s seventy-fifth anniversary (points to anyone who her recognized her ‘Lasso of Truth’) by Susan Karlin for Fast Company,

William Moulton Marston—an attorney and psychologist who invented a systolic blood pressure deception test, the precursor to the modern polygraph—created Wonder Woman as a new type of superhero who, beyond her strength, used wisdom and compassion as weapons against evil—not to mention a magic golden lasso to compel people to tell the truth.

“Marston recognized not only the thereto untapped commercial market for a strong female superhero, but also the powerful potential for comic books to educate and inspire. He understood that education and entertainment need not be mutually exclusive,” says Vasilis Pozios, a forensic psychiatrist who cofounded [Broadcast Thought; mental health-and-media think tank with three forensic psychiatrists – H. Eric Bender, M.D., Praveen Kambam, M.D., and Pozios], which uses media and comic convention panels to educate about mental illness, and author of Aura, an award-winning comic about bipolar disorder.

The article has various versions of Wonder Woman images embedded throughout and it includes a few nuggets like this about her and her originator,

Wonder Woman is the only female comic book character to have her own stories continuously published for the past three-quarters of a century, spawning numerous other incarnations, including the hit 1975-1979 TV series starring Lynda Carter, and finally a big-screen introduction in this year’s [2016] Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Marston, who was strongly influenced by the women’s suffrage movement, devised that WW’s would lose her strength if men bound her in chains. Initially controversial due to a look inspired by pinup art and bondage intimations, she emerged as a symbol of equality and female empowerment—gracing Ms. magazine’s inaugural cover in 1972—that resonates today.

I gather this Wonder Woman 75th anniversary is going to be celebrated over a two year period with DC Comics hosting a 2016 Wonder Woman 75 San Diego Comic-Con panel and costume display and then, releasing the first (and fortuitously timed) Wonder Woman feature film starring Gal Gadot on June 2, 2017.

Do read Karlin’s if only to catch sight of the images. I have written about Wonder Woman before notably in a July 1, 2010 (Canada Day) posting featuring a then new makeover,


I wasn’t thrilled by the makeover and was not alone in my opinion although reasons for the ‘lack of thrill’ varied from mine.

Highlighting the 2011 Dance Your Ph.D. contest

Science magazine (published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS]) has been holding a Dance Your PhD contest since 2008* (as best I can determine from a Sept. 17, 2010 posting by Katherine for SciFri). In any case, this year they received a record number of entries (from an Oct. 14, 2011 posting by John Bohannon on Science Now),

Have you ever wondered what nanotube chemistry might look like as a dance? Or fruit fly sex? Or protein x-ray crystallography? Look no further. As part of the 2011 Dance Your Ph.D. contest, scientists who study those phenomena and more have converted their research into dance videos for your enjoyment and edification. And today the 16 finalists of this annual contest are revealed below.

A record 55 dances were created for this year’s contest, submitted by scientists around the globe, from the United States and Canada to Europe, India, and Australia. As the contest rules state, each dance must be based on the scientist’s own Ph.D. research thesis, and that scientist must participate in the dance. For many of the graduate students who danced, the research they depicted is still ongoing. For some of the older contestants, the project is a distant, perhaps harrowing memory from their early days in science. The dances are divided into four categories based on subject: physics, chemistry, biology, and social science. (The criteria for those categories are explained here.)

One of this year’s finalists is from the DeRosa lab at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Titled, “DNA Aptamers as a Tool for Studying Mental Health Disease.” Erin McConnell and her troop are featured in the video below,

DNA Aptamers as a Tool for Studying Mental Health Disease from Erin McConnell on Vimeo.

I haven’t had time to review the other finalists but given this one, I can hardly wait.

The DeRosa lab also had a finalist in last year’s Dance Your PhD contest. It’s not the only reason I contacted the lab’s leader, Maria DeRosa but it did add a piquant flavour to my interview with her, which I will be posting tomorrow (Oct. 25, 2011).

*ETA Oct 24, 2011 1500 hours: There is an Oct. 18, 2011 article by Bob Weber for the Globe and Mail newspaper about the Canadian finalists in the 2011 Dance Your PhD contest. The contest was informally created in 2007 according to its originator John Bohannon.