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Letters to the Editor: Fires, Aliens, and PTSD

Motherboarders respond to reader mail.

by Emanuel Maiberg
May 15 2016, 4:00pm

Image: Flickr/Taz.

Hello Motherboard readers, and welcome to this week's edition of Letters to the Editor.

We got a lot of thoughtful responses to our stories this week about the fire that raged through Fort McMurray, women who suffer from PTSD, and aliens, which Blink-182's Tom DeLonge believes definitely exist. As always, some of you wrote in agreement and support (which we are never above sharing with the entire world), and some of you wrote to tell us we're a bunch of knuckle heads. That's good too!

We're publishing your letters and our responses here precisely because we want to keep the conversation going after the story is published. Also, we just love getting mail.

When you fill our inboxes you fill our hearts, so please keep writing us!


RE: Women Are the Invisible Victims of PTSD

Hello Motherboard writers,

Thank you for your recent article on women and PTSD. As a researcher in clinical psychology, this is a point I have been making to my students for years and it is often a shocking fact to them.

However, there is one lingering misconception in your article regarding treatment. It is very true that science is still figuring out how to best treat PTSD and the research on virtual reality for PTSD is primarily conducted with male veterans. However, the two most well supported treatments for PTSD, prolonged exposure therapy, and cognitive processing therapy, were developed by women researchers (Edna Foa and Patricia Resick) working with patients who were primarily women who had experienced rape. Indeed, these two therapies are considered the frontline treatments for PTSD and the VA is training hundreds of clinicians in these therapies to improve the treatment options for veterans. In leaving out this information, I fear your article may reify PTSD as a male condition when in fact, our main treatments for PTSD were developed by women in response to a trauma that primarily affects women.


-- RaeAnn Anderson, PhD

Hi RaeAnn,

Dr. Anderson is absolutely right to point out that the two leading treatment methods for PTSD were developed by women who worked with mainly women patients. Edna Foa and Patricia Resick have done pioneering and important work on PTSD for years, and it's thanks to them that those who do get treatment for PTSD can be offered therapies that are well tested. Foa was named to the TIME 100 in 2010 for her work, and Resick has won the Robert S. Laufer Memorial Award for Outstanding Scientific Achievement in the Field of PTSD, from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies. They both deserved a mention in the piece, and I should have given them one.

I glossed over treatments in general in the piece, and those I did focus on were the virtual reality methods because they've been in the news so much recently, and because they focus so heavily on men. But I should have also mentioned these other treatments developed by and largely for women.

I really appreciate your note and your readership!

-- Rose Eveleth, Motherboard contributor

RE: Is Tom DeLonge for Real About this UFO Stuff? Motherboard Investigates

I've listened to your guy's interview with him a couple of times. I, like Tom, have been into this since the '80s/'90s and have just always been a believer. I never understood what was so crazy about believing people when they say they saw something amazing in the sky. I think this will prove to be one of your most important interviews, if not the most. I do believe he's only done two such interviews thus far regarding Sekret Machines. And secret machines, our secret machines, do constitute a number of the sightings I believe, but I also believe we reverse engineered E.T. technology i.e. black triangles. I know if I saw something concrete like that, I'd be pissed that people didn't believe me or thought I was delusional. I work with a guy whose mom saw one and I trust him when he says she wouldn't just make something up like that, hence why she has only told a select number of people, for fear of ridicule. Science fact, not fiction, as I see it. But it seems so many just can't see through their fundamental skepticism. They'll bend over backwards to try and explain everything away "rationally". Truth can be stranger than fiction.

-- Kevin Eckelkamp

I didn't want to write this in a Facebook comment but I did want to tell an editor. I thought the two interviewers in the Tom Delonge podcast were very unprofessional. I listened to the interview and I thought they handled that rather well, but then right when he hangs up they start talking about how crazy he is. It was very rude and unprofessional in my opinion. There were so many good points to talk on to continue the podcast in an educational way but they go back to talking about which one was Mark and which one was Tom...Honestly I turned it off after that because of second hand embarrassment, it was pretty disrespectful to anybody, let alone somebody who is potentially doing very helpful and dangerous work. Anyway, just my two cents.

-- Max Mittler

We decided to make the Tom DeLonge podcast extra long as kind of a wink to conspiracy theorists out there, who tend to go very in depth on all aspects of their theories. DeLonge's book is almost 700 pages, and there's going to be a bunch of them! Most of the response to the podcast were good, and we're humbled that so many of you listened to the whole thing. Anyways, part of the purpose of the podcast was to explore how serious DeLonge was about his UFO obsession and the project in general. That necessarily required us to speculate a bit about his state of mind and his motivation for leaving Blink-182 to pursue the project. Anytime someone tells you an important Pentagon official told you the government is hiding evidence of aliens, I think it's fair to be skeptical. In any case, we meant no offense to Tom or his project. We have nothing but respect for Tom and we're going to keep following his project.

-- Jason Koebler, Motherboard staff writer

RE: The Fort McMurray Wildfire Isn't 'Ironic.' This Is How Climate Change Works

Please for the love of all that is good, have your writers do a little bit of research before blindly labeling things as "dirty" and "unsustainable" this entire article is a joke and a mockery of the oil sands and the suffering of the people who have had to endure through this wildfire. Newsflash this just in, the oil sands are not some giant hole in the ground any more folks, they have become one of the cleanest, most environmentally stable sources of oil.


-- Travis Boyce

Climate change cannot be shown to be a factor in the Fort Mack blaze. It may be a factor, but it can't be proven. There is no valid, scientific evidence that it is so. Poor forestry management practises are a factor (apparently) and that is enough to quell any AGW [anthropogenic global warming, or in other words global warming caused by human activity] talk.

AGW = climate change is a fact of life, it is happening, BUT it cannot be linked to specific incidents like this one, and frankly, aside from the insensitivity, anyone who says so is highly misinformed/ignorant. If somebody wants to debate this point I'd be more than happy well after the situation in Fort Mack is well settled.

-- Norm

Dear Norm,

Thanks for getting in touch about this. I agree with you that a direct link between climate change and the wildfire in Fort Mac can't be proven beyond a doubt. Climate scientists and other experts have told me that isolated events can't be blamed directly on climate change, although we may see certain events (like wildfires) become more frequent over time as a result of it. Alberta freelancer Emily Senger wrote an article for us last week, interviewing wildfire researchers who made this point.

In the case of Fort Mac, I think we're seeing a growing consensus that climate change is implicated, or at least that it should be part of the conversation.

My goal in writing about people calling the fire "ironic" was to argue that it isn't the people living in Fort Mac, and the oil sands workers, who are somehow to blame for the wildfire. All of us use fossil fuels. If we want to make any sort of change happen, it's really policymakers who need to hear the message.

Thanks again for your time, and all the best to you,

-- Kate Lunau, Editor of Motherboard Canada

That's it for this week. If you want to share your thoughts with us, we'd love to read them. You can contact us here.