10 Mind-Blowing Discoveries This Week
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Ten years later I went through a bout of illness, could not get better and test after test turned up negative. Finally my doctor put me on a different depression/anxiety drug and I was better within the week. I went off it after a year and have been fine since.
So I’ve been on both sides of Crazy Street -- the meds-suck side and the meds-are-brilliant side.
It makes it a lot easier to understand the concern and controversy Sharon Begley of Reuters writes about in her story, “In the age of anxiety are we all mentally ill?” in which she reports that there has been an increase of more than 1,200% in reported anxiety disorders in America since 1980.
The story explores the question of whether the increase is due to better diagnosis or whether we are now casting normal anxiety as a mental illness. Those who believe the latter say that the DSM, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, doesn’t recognize that some anxiety is normal and adaptive and that “ the DSM's description of anxiety is more about enforcing social norms than medicine.” A new edition, slated to come out next May, would go further to “lower the threshold for identifying anxiety.”
At a guess the truth is somewhere in between. It is very easy to prescribe and to accept a label and a drug, but it’s also extremely easy to believe that we’re more stressed than our ancestors, who had their share of worries but also had a natural pace of life, something the Pacific Standard’s Mary Fischer explores in her interview with UCLA’s Dr. Peter Whybrow, who calls the computer “electronic cocaine,” and explains the chemical stress reactions it can put us under.
“Small wonder then that, according to the National Institute of Mental Health , anxiety is now the nation’s most common psychiatric complaint, affecting some 40 million people,” Fischer writes.
Sure, our ancestors had to sleep outdoors and walk everywhere. But they didn’t have to worry about how many “Likes” their latest upload got. It’s a tough world out there these days.
6. Garbage-seeking drone
Sounds like someone you know with bad taste in men, doesn’t it? Actually, the garbage-seeking drone is a pretty neat invention and a reminder that technology is like food and wine -- a little of the right stuff and it makes the world a way better place.
This aquatic drone is doing its bit for the world by locating and hoovering up ocean garbage. Beth Buczynski of TG Daily says the undersea dustbuster was made by Eli Ahovi and his classmates at the French International Design School in response to the Pacific Garbage Patch and its buddies.
It’s kind of like Wall-E without the shaping and stacking. It also reminds me of the robot fish we learned about a while back and, like them, has an “irritating” signal meant to repel living things so they won’t get sucked into the net, only trash will. So we’ll have a bunch of fish with temporary concert hearing but the world’s largest eco-system will be all the cleaner for it.
7. Martian gardens
Sounds like something you’d get to buy in a geek monopoly game, right? But it’s another example of tech being put to good use. In its spare time, between discovering exoplanets and finding better ways to explore the moon, NASA has been planning one long, weird dinner party.
In fact, NASA has to plan meals for astronauts going to Mars for the 24 months it takes to get there, stay and return, writes Ramit Plushnick-Mast of MSNBC . It’s just too darn far to send a supply vehicle every time they run out of Tang.