SciAm: Do Antidepressants Work?
Linkbait. From my understanding, SSRIs when combined with conventional talk therapy have proven very effective. To prescribe an SSRI without accompanying therapy, there is little benefit. To phrase it in my own language, the SSRIs put the brain into a more receptive state for change ... or that is the remnant of my admittedly ‘90’s knowledge of the subject. To test them in a virtual ‘test tube’ is worthless. IMHO. I’m not defending, I’m just pointing out discrepancies. The fact that family practitioners used to (and may still) hand out these things like Pez, just fills the coffers of the pharmaceutical companies.
The drug ain’t enough. You’ve gotta talk it out. [See the comment thread; I’m wrong.] And picking a suitable psychiatrist/psychologist/social worker is like trying to find a good suit. Takes time and money.
A warning: If any doctor is handing you books about anxiety and you’re starting to manifest every symptom in those books - you’re getting played, in a most cruel and inhuman way. I saw this happen with about a dozen people in NYC in the 90’s. It’s a racket. Get you on benzos and then let the half-life of the drug addict you both to the medication and the therapy. SSRIs are added to the mix. Next stop: Agoraphobia. It’s not pretty, and the climb out is long and torturous. It can be done, however. And a normal life can be restored.
A step on the way.
Removed a post for the first time.
About how publishers should contemplate “director’s cuts”. I decided my comments and critiques were not phrased well, and offered too wide an opportunity for misinterpretation. My apologies. Sometimes it is indeed better to shut one’s cake-hole and listen a bit more.
Guardian.UK: Statins have no side effects? This is what our study really found.
Guardian.UK: Statin side-effects minimal, study finds.
“Scientists examining the results of 29 trials involving more than 80,000 people found that only a small minority of side effects were attributable to statins. Patients were found to have a greater number of serious adverse effects from inactive pills taken as part of a control group.” Interestingly, Consumer Reports (of all places) has recommendations for best performance vs. price.
Guardian.UK: Should meat be displayed in butcher shop windows?
“In fact, his meat delivery arrives in a van from the abattoir round the time that children are walking back from school, past the butchers. ‘They’re not squeamish at all,’ he says. ‘The whole pig carcasses come off the back of the lorry, and it doesn’t seem to bother them in the slightest. If anything, they’re intrigued, and their parents like it, because they know they’re buying meat cut from the whole carcass.’” Beats bleach-soaked, gas-pumped shrinkwrapped bits, if you ask me.
Correction: See comments.
ProPublica: A New Road Rage.
Hmmm. Given the penchant of Darwin award-winners to fill up their cars while fiddling with cigarettes and cellphones, I suppose hydrogen cars may have the unintended effect of reducing population.
Much later: A reader posts a response in the comments area here, which is in response to ProPublica’s original post.
Guardian.UK: Deserted beaches hide evidence of thousands of years of Aboriginal history.
“According to NSW National Parks, the midden at Murramarang Point in the area of Bawley Point dates back to the Pleistocene period (about 10,000 years ago). Locals have long wandered over the midden, including many surfers who use it as a thoroughfare to a so-called gnarly break on the point. A parade of thongs was causing degradation at a horrifying speed so after decades of academic study, a decision was made to cover it over with plantings for protection and lay down a boardwalk to keep the traffic off.” My astonished emphasis. What about the parade of trunks?
Later, after quickly researching: Cultural ignorance. My bad. ‘Thongs’ in Australia are footwear. Flip-flops, to us Yanks.
The Art of Manliness: Becoming Antifragile.
Not a bad post to lead off the year’s reading.
Later: I have to admit I skimmed this. On second reading, pretty useless. Thanks to Dave for whacking me upside the head.
BBC News: Climate extremes are ‘unprecedented’
“There were plenty of solar enthusiasts back in the 1990s who were attributing the observed warming since the 1970s to a brightening sun - which didn’t really work out when we moved into an extreme solar minimum and still saw the warmest decade on record.” Including myself; I thought I’d found an angle noone else had comprehensively measured. The solar minimum landed a fat pie in my face. [Not to say I didn’t think we shouldn’t be cutting back on warming habits; quite the contrary. Whether Sun or human, excess warmth must be mitigated.]
Guardian.UK: Climate change did not cause 2012 US drought, says government report.
“Neither ocean states nor human-induced climate change, factors that can provide long-lead predictability, appeared to play significant roles in causing severe rainfall deficits over the major corn producing regions of central Great Plains.” Well, I’ll have to recalculate some of my past rhetoric. Filed under “Corrections”. [Thought: It will be interesting to see how science and environment oriented blogs absorb and handle this information. I suspect it will be slow and grudging.]
Yahoo News: My personal John Edwards trial: How he fooled me, and what I learned.
You know, in talking with various women during the last couple of elections, I noticed that about half would admire John Edwards, and the other half would find him terribly, overtly smarmy. Men were ambivalent. I never noticed the smarminess until alerted to it, and then didn’t really believe in it. I figured such behavior would have been found out long before reaching national levels. Major kudos to those women who saw through the facade. I’ll state it here in boldface: I WAS WRONG.
Gizmodo: Flying Bird Man Admits Flying Bird Man Is Fake.
SF New Mexican: Forestry officials brace for fire season.
It’s drier than at this time last year. I suspect they’ll close the forests in late May, so get out and hike while it’s still cold/cool … otherwise you’ll be left high and dry. Apparently I’m wrong. TV news tonight says the snowpack in the Sangres is a percentage higher than last year - so we’re actually better off, if marginally. My bad!
The Atlantic: The Very Real Danger of Genetically Modified Foods.
“Chinese researchers have found small pieces of ribonucleic acid (RNA) in the blood and organs of humans who eat rice. The Nanjing University-based team showed that this genetic material will bind to proteins in human liver cells and influence the uptake of cholesterol from the blood. [snip] MicroRNAs have been studied extensively since their discovery ten years ago, and have been linked to human diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes.” I run across so many dubious articles, both pro- and con-. It can get difficult to winnow through the mire, so I tend to drill down to the actual research, the actual studies, rather than read editorials and opinion pieces. This one seems a good one, worthy of bookmarking and using as argument-points with your GM-loving ‘science-is-always-superior’ friends at social gatherings.
Correction: I retract my support for this article. Poor source material. Read the comments on this post here.
Mashable: Twitter Analysis Vindicates Gingrich in Followers Scandal.
“If Gingrich was correct, all of the politicians on the SUL would have roughly the same composition of followers. So we asked Topsy, a social media search company, to conduct an exhaustive, weeks-long analysis of the followers of every politician on the SUL. The result: No matter which way you slice it, nearly all political accounts on the SUL have the same levels of inactivity among their followers as Gingrich.” My apologies, Newt.
WSJ: Vigilante Justice? Texas Refuses to Pay ‘Machete’ Producers.
”The Texas Film Commission says it will refuse to pay $1.75 million in state incentives to the movie’s producers citing a state law that allows the state to refuse to pay incentives for ‘content that portrays Texas or Texans in a negative fashion.’” First Amendment, only when convenient. Corrected; see comments.
Gizmodo: The Sound Of This Car’s Exhaust Can Shatter Glasses.
Bah, too expensive. Buy a used ‘70’s Mazda RX-3, and just remove the muffler. When that engine starts, I guarantee the Wankel engine will shatter windows for blocks around.
Pentagon Says It’s Confident Missile Hit Satellite Tank. Okay, so I was wrong yesterday. They’ve shown video. My sincere apologies to the Pentagon. I remain skeptical over the need for missile shootdown; I’m not buying the hydrazine fuel excuse. We’ve had two Shuttles disintegrate, countless other rockets explode in the atmosphere - all of which contained hydrazine - without a single similar concern. I’ll wager in years after we’ll hear about nuclear fuel, experimental armaments, or very classified equipment.
Related: Times Opinionator has a different take. The shootdown legitimizes missile defense in significant ways.
Note: The aggregators got me again. This is from 2005. Sorry. Thanks, Billsaysthis, for the heads-up. Filed under ‘corrections’.
The Richest of the Rich, Proud of a New Gilded Age. Yet the old Gilded Age philanthropists did more. Carnegie built Carnegie Lake in Princeton (when built, it was lined on both shores with flowering cherry trees ... few survive, sadly). The Duponts built spectacular gardens. I see few such long-lasting aesthetic endeavors today. None seem to like to get their hands dirty, except with ink.
Mayor Daley bulldozes Chicago’s Meigs Field. You know Meigs. No, you do. Really. It’s the airport countless thousands have taken off from in Microsoft Flight Simulator. Damned if I’ll let them tear it up without a fight. Rise up, let the Mayor know he’s way, way over the line ...
Later: OK, laugh. I thought this rang a bell. This news article is so old ... years old. It came up in an online aggregator, and I linked immediately out of outrage, rather than sense.
Marked ‘Corrections.’ As Bugs Bunny says, “What a maroon ...”
My most bandwidth-stolen image ...
and to my chagrin, it’s not one that I’ve spent time crafting. More iconic in nature. The horse’s ass. Dave Barry’s used it on his weblog without permission or attribution, and at least a dozen others.
Later: A correction amongst the comments.
seem mighty quiet over the Bob Woodruff special. Talk radio has touched on it, but I haven’t found much else. There’s much positive, but I was looking for the negative, to see how those opposed to painting rosy scenarios over Iraq would mount an attack. If you see any, drop a link.
Correction: Instead of ‘rosy’ above, I mean to say ‘dire.’ A clumsy bit of writing, either way. Sorry. Confuses even me.
7 million Americans are in prison. 1 out of 32 people.
Later: Correction, 7 million in prison, on probation, or on parole, to be exact. Thx, NewMexiKen.
You can see,
my initial take from morning reports on John Kerry’s comment was wrong. Apologies for any misdirection I may have caused in analyzing what seemed a bizarre exhortation. A recommendation to Mr Kerry ... if you can’t deliver the punch line, don’t tell the joke.
Later: This pales in comparison to the “dunk in the water” discussion with our VP last week. But who remembers that far back?