MIT Technology Review: Evidence Grows That Online Social Networks Have Insidious Negative Effects.
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.
NPR: Viewer Beware - Watching Reality TV Can Impact Real-Life Behavior.
TechDirt: Why Do Police In Suburban St. Louis Have More Powerful Weapons Than Marines In Afghanistan
“What we’re seeing here is a gaggle of cops wearing more elite killing gear than your average squad leader leading a foot patrol through the most hostile sands or hills of Afghanistan. They are equipped with Kevlar helmets, assault-friendly gas masks, combat gloves and knee pads (all four of them), woodland Marine Pattern utility trousers, tactical body armor vests, about 120 to 180 rounds for each shooter, semiautomatic pistols attached to their thighs, disposable handcuff restraints hanging from their vests, close-quarter-battle receivers for their M4 carbine rifles and Advanced Combat Optical Gunsights. In other words, they’re itching for a fight.” Carry lethal weapons that you train with frequently, build skills, never get to actually use them as trained ... the itch gets overwhelming.
Paris Review: What We See When We Read.
Really interesting thought experiment.
Bookanista: Here be sea monsters.
The Dish: Calling Out Catcalls.
This brings up a point. If I’m walking on the street, and I see a man or a woman who is dressed so fantastically that I feel the desire to comment appropriately ... is there any method by which one can do so without seeming creeper/stalker/pervert? I don’t think there is any method anymore for someone to say, “Jeez, you look amazing! Perfect!” and then just saunter on our merry way.
Pacific Standard: What Has Neuroscience Taught Us About Free Will?
“Broadly, they were trying to figure out if all the reasons we think we’ve made a decision are actually just after-the-fact rationalizations. The underlying theory they were testing holds that our brain has a bunch of automatic responses to the choices we face everyday—cream or sugar, left or right, Democrat or Republican, to be or not to be—pre-programmed by our genes and by the environment around us.”
OnStage Mag: Frampton personally enforces “No Camera” Policy.
He flings for the rafters. Speaking of which, this self-absorbed behavior is getting worse and worse. Our internationally-famed Canyon Road art galleries are now under siege by Shazam, the music-recognition app. Customers are bulling their way through fragile displays, shoving their cellphones next to speakers, and yelling “I GOT IT! I GOT IT!” for the entire block to hear.
These are not teenagers, in our galleries. These are comfortably middle-aged folks who should behave better.
ReadWrite: “Web Developer” Is A Job Title That Has Come And Gone.
Durned if I’ll call myself some sort of ‘imagineer.’ And specialization? When you’re a small shop? Death. I’ll have to stack specialized monikers on my company site.
DiscoverMag: Annals of Bone-Headed Science Communication.
PS Mag: Fictional Stories Are More Moving Than We Predict.
“New research finds people mistakenly believe real-life stories will be more emotionally gripping than those that are the products of an author’s imagination.” There are some who eschew all fiction, because biographies ‘tell how real people solved real issues.’ Then they find out how biographers and autobiographers engage fictional thinking and revisionism ...
Globe and Mail.CA: Cultural nostalgia is a human experience.
“As we mature, we learn to rationalize our pop cultural passions. We make intellectual arguments for the legitimacy of our tastes, we defend our positions as objectively unassailable, we resist the experiences of other generations as somehow less worthy or enlightened than our own. But what it boils down to is this: We just can’t help it.” Generously guilty as charged.
Pacific Standard: Violent Video Game Play Triggers Risky Behavior.
“In a study that tracked thousands of teens over time, it found strong links between playing mature-rated, risk-glorifying games and a wide range of potentially harmful behaviors, including drinking and cigarette smoking.” Apparently when you reward risky behavior in virtual space, that translates to real-world behavior.
Day later: 12% of gamers hallucinate sound effects after they stop playing. So, perhaps we now have an idea what might have been going through the shooter’s mind at Sandy Hook?
The Rumpus: Murder By Danielle Collobert.
“Collobert left behind a handful of books, all produced in only twenty years. Like many writers who have chosen to end their own lives, her voice occasionally takes on a gravity that is, if nothing else, alarming, urgent.”
WaPo: Crimes of Passion.
“Writing an opera about adultery, in this context, involves a great bait-and-switch, because while adultery was once a crime, love is not. Love, in fact, is supreme in Western culture: we are told that it is synonymous with God, that it conquers all, that it has its own laws, and that in its pure form it is one of the greatest things to which man can aspire. So a story about two adulterers can at once titillate and uplift: the passion outweighs the crime.”
The New Yorker: Last Call.
Buddhist monk vs. suicide culture: “Sometimes Nemoto tells his attendees to put a white cloth over their face, as is customary with corpses in Japan, while he conducts a funeral ceremony. Afterward, he tells each to carry a lighted candle up a hill behind the temple and imagine that he is entering the world of the dead. This exercise, for reasons he doesn’t understand, tends to produce not tears but a strange kind of exhilaration, as though the person were experiencing rebirth.”
Design You Trust: Little Giant Girl Marches through Liverpool.
Check the children’s faces, versus the adults. Adults are smiling; kids look a bit unsure. Having fantasy ‘come to life’ gives kids pause; ask any performer at Disney World. Or your average seasonal Santa Claus.
The Airship: I Read All of the Harry Potter Books for the First Time Over the Last Month.
Someone had to say it.
Paris Review: Emily Brontë’s Boring Birthday.
“I’m afraid it’s true. Emily Brontë’s birthday letters are totally dull.” Doesn’t that give more evidence to a fertile imagination?
Pacific Standard: Are You Really as Happy as You Say You Are?
“They built what they call a hedonometer, which is a daily report of the geography and timing of happiness.” Flashback to Woody Allen’s “Orgasmatron” ...
Medium: Thirty Things I’ve Learned.
Everyone will enjoy this.
Pacific Standard: The Most Popular Ways to Share Personal News.
“Despite all of the technology, face-to-face communication still came out on top as the most popular method of sharing.” Which emphasizes the fact that a social media persona is a fictional construct (not that all personas aren’t constructs; just more fictional than the historical mean).
DiscoverMag: First Impressions Are Mostly Based on Your Face.
“For example, mouth shape and area were linked to approachability (for which a smile is a big plus), whereas eye shape and area were linked to attractiveness. Reversing this process, the authors were then able to generate simulated cartoon faces that produced specific, predictable first impressions in observers.” My emphasis. Keeps dentists and plastic surgeons in Ferraris, certainly.
Aeon: Can you have self-worth without self-love?
“We can learn not to care about display, and not to crave the admiration of others. We could even learn to display fewer selfies.” A nice tempering of the current personal branding mania. Worth the read.