11 June 2010 Posts For the Day

I wonder what this person had been searching for

Funny, but this could have been her male friend’s or husband’s car. 🙂

Spandex: someone out there is even worse than I am!

Education Do you want to know what makes modern students snowflakes? Check this out…graduation exercises for pre-K. Yes…even worse than that.

Science Studies have been done on the type of change that we humans notice (visually). Some of the test videos are featured here; I failed in spectacular fashion.

Do you want to see a non-solar system planet orbiting a star? Here is is..

Go here for the details of how the photo was made and the science behind it. Note that this system is in it’s infancy (only a few million years old)

Depression and suicide Does having a higher IQ make you more likely to take your own life? Studies differ:

Two studies by Martin Voracek seem to uphold the notion that more intelligent people are more likely to commit suicide. Voracek looked at national suicide rates and average IQ, and found that countries with higher average IQs also had higher suicide rates. But a study released last week suggested the opposite might be true. A team led by G. David Batty looked at military conscription records of over 1 million Swedish men, and found that those with higher IQs were significantly less likely to be admitted to a hospital for a suicide attempt than those with lower IQs. Even after adjusting for socioeconomic status, education, and a variety of other factors, those in the top 10 percent of IQ scores were about four times less likely to attempt suicide than the bottom 10 percent. The researchers considered men with schizophrenia or other psychoses separately, and found no correlation between IQ and suicide attempts—the relationship between IQ and suicide only held for men who were otherwise relatively mentally stable. The research was published in the British Medical Journal. While it’s statistically possible for both the Voracek and Batty studies to be valid, these seemingly contradictory results suggest that the roots of suicide are more complex than the responses to a standardized test. […]

But this finding is highly ironic:

A team led by Sebastian Schneeweiss looked at the medical records of over 21,000 adolescents aged 10 through 18 during the year following the onset of antidepressant therapy. They found that regardless of which antidepressant the children used, rates of suicide attempts were similar. The research was published in Pediatrics. Earlier research had found that adolescent usage of a particular class of antidepressant, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, led to more suicide attempts than in adolescents who received placebos, suggesting that it was indeed the treatment, and not the illness, that led to suicide attempts. Lopez-Duran says that the effect may due to the fact that antidepressants all lead to more activity and increased self-confidence, which might make acting on a suicidal impulse more likely.

So, can the treatment be so successful that it kills the patient? Interesting.

The Republicans “stand up to” science. This isn’t a surprise; after all, much of their base believes things such as the world is 6000 years old.

Robert Reich: points out that the lowering of personal debt isn’t really going to help the economy; only getting a middle class to have enough money to spend will.

Baloney. The reason so many Americans went into such deep debt was because their wages didn’t keep up. The median wage (adjusted for inflation) dropped between 2001 and 2007, the last so-called economic expansion. So the only way typical Americans could keep spending at the rate necessary to keep themselves — and the economy — going was to borrow, especially against the value of their homes. But that borrowing ended when the housing bubble burst.

So now Americans have no choice but to pare back their debt. That’s bad news because consumer spending is 70 percent of the economy. It helps explain why we so few jobs are being created, and why we can’t escape the gravitational pull of the Great Recession without far more government spending.

It’s also a bad omen for the future. The cheerleaders are saying that for too long American consumers lived beyond their means, so the retrenchment in consumer spending is good for the long-term health of the economy. Wrong again. The problem wasn’t that consumers lived beyond their means. It was that their means didn’t keep up with what the growing economy was capable of producing at or near full-employment. A larger and larger share of total income went to people at the top.

So in the longer term, it’s hard to see where the buying power will come from unless America’s vast middle class has more take-home pay. Yet the economy is moving in exactly the opposite direction: Businesses continue to slash payrolls. And the hourly wage of the typical American with a job continues to drop, adjusted for inflation.


June 11, 2010 - Posted by | astronomy, Barack Obama, cosmology, economy, education, environment, humor, mind, political humor, politics, politics/social, Republican, republicans, republicans politics, science, spandex


  1. The observation that suicide increases immediately after anti-depressant therapy is started has been known for a while — my husband has told me about this (he’s an M.D., but not practicing). And yes, it is thought to be because the anti-depressant perks one up just enough initially to act on the impulses, so psychiatrists have to watch people closely when new therapy is initiated.

    Comment by Tammy | June 12, 2010 | Reply

    • I knew your husband was an M. D. but I didn’t know that he didn’t practice.

      I have a friend who got a dual Ph. D. (biology) and M. D. to become a research doctor but decided to practice on patients instead.

      Comment by blueollie | June 12, 2010 | Reply

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