Wandering Eye

Among many others in the media, Baltimore Sun reporter Luke Broadwater has been on the odd story of Democratic state Del. Frank M. Conaway Jr.'s astoundingly bizarre YouTube videos, in which the West Baltimore scion of his parents' longstanding local political dynasty comes across as a bit touched, to say the least, seeming to confirm court records that say he suffers from bipolar disorder and sometimes stops taking his medications. Yesterday, Broadwater reported that Conaway Jr. resigned from his $30,000 job as a City Hall mail clerk the day after being re-elected, despite a last-minute write-in campaign by incumbent state Del. Shawn Tarrant (D), who lost in the June primary. The resignation came amid an unfinished investigation by Conaway Jr.'s boss, Baltimore City Comptroller Joan Pratt (D), into whether he'd used public resources to make the videos—an angle Broadwater had started pursuing after the story first broke Oct. 21. Broadwater's efforts had been stymied, though, as reflected in a tweet he sent out on Oct. 30: "Comptroller Pratt today denied my request to inspect City Hall's mail room until after her review of Del. Conway's videos is done next week." If Broadwater had been allowed to confirm what is now known—that the videos were produced using city resources—he would have advanced the story before the Nov. 4 elections, instead of after, and thus it appears the Conaway clan owes a debt of gratitude to Pratt for standing in Broadwater's way. (Van Smith)

For the past 20 years or so, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder has been the go-to diagnosis for kids—mostly middle-class kids—who struggle in school. More than 10 percent of American children are so diagnosed, an epidemic that has rightly challenged the psychiatric community to, well, justify itself. Is it over-diagnosed? If one-tenth of the population has it, can it really be a "disorder"? Now comes Dr. Richard Friedman in the NYT with "A Natural Fix for A.D.H.D." He says the problem might not be a new epidemic of individual disorder, but an increasing over-reliance by society on regimentation and order. "In short, people with A.D.H.D. may not have a disease, so much as a set of behavioral traits that don't match the expectations of our contemporary culture." By this he means the corporate grind, and he contrasts it with—surprise—the "start-up" culture that apparently cured one of his patients, who quit a 9-to-5 to start a company. "My patient 'treated' his A.D.H.D simply by changing the conditions of his work environment from one that was highly routine to one that was varied and unpredictable," Friedman writes, before pointing to science that suggests A.D.H.D. might have been adapted to people hunting on the Savanna 400,000 years ago. Also contributing to A.D.H.D.'s new prevalence? The internet, of course. So the obvious fix is to change school such that A.D.H.D. kids get more variance and stimulation: "small classes that emphasize hands-on-learning, self-paced computer assignments and tasks that build specific skills." But if it's the internet that's contributing to making children's brains more like those of ancient hunter-gatherers, is that really progress? (Edward Ericson Jr.)

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True '90s kids of a certain stripe will almost certainly remember the video game NFL Blitz, the free-for-all football game on Nintendo 64 and Playstation that combined pro-wrestling moves and football for a high-scoring, ultra-violent affair. NFL Blitz tossed out rules such as pass interference and unnecessary roughness, which is to say it let players knock each other's lights out before, during, and after a play without consequence. Truth be told, it was amazing. With people's stances on the NFL's culture of violence shifting in light of the devastating effects of concussions, it's hard to imagine a game like NFL Blitz would get made in 2014. So this morning Vice Sports asks "How In The Hell Did NFL Blitz Ever Get Made?" The answer is that the game's maker, Midway, had to scale back certain aspects of the game before the NFL would sign off on it, but also there was a bit of trickery there. A rough video of all the games brutal moves was sent to the league for approval, but "in an editor tool, which only shows the outline of a motion-capture figure moving against a dark, dimensionless background. Without any context, the over-the-top hits and tackles were neutered. The NFL either didn't have a problem with what it saw or never watched the tape, because it never said anything to the NFL Blitz team about it again." (Brandon Weigel)

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